The first quarter has ended, and the sales team has just received their quarterly incentive income. Not everyone was happy. You knew you’d likely lose a couple of reps, and that’s exactly what happened.


How will the sales team hit their Q2 numbers when they are down two teammates?


They won’t. You need to backfill those two spots. And you’re not going to do it with average talent. You need two A-players. Yesterday.


Make the Job Easier: The Right Tool

The A-Player Scorecard, a tool designed for our clients, is a great place to start. The Scorecard was built using the methodology introduced in the book, Topgrading for Sales.  


The A-Player Scorecard is the disciplined first step in a quality talent acquisition program. The Scorecard will force you to engage three critical differentiators:


  1. Establish competencies required in the role. Competencies are both internal and learned behaviors that are necessary for success.
  2. Understand the accountabilities in the role. Accountabilities are the standards the rep will be measured against. Consider using some of these standard measures:
    • Individual and team sales quota, what sales targets are set for both the team and the rep?
    • Win rate Of the sales in the pipeline, what percentage were actually sold?
    • Pipeline to quota ratio Of the sales targeted, what percentage is currently in the pipeline?
    • Number of major customer interactions per monthhow many conversations took place with major customers in the month?


  3. Benchmark the compensation package. A-players will expect compensation in the top quartile.


Once the competencies, accountabilities, and compensation are determined, it’s time to start the interview process. This includes four distinct candidate interactions and a recruiting strategy that keeps the candidate pipeline full.


Follow the Process: Insightful Interviewing

Implementing the Scorecard methodology starts with a four-part interview process:


  1. Screening Interview. This 10 to 15-minute phone interview narrows the pack down to qualified applicants. Does the candidate have the educational background required? How many years of industry sales do they have? This interview catches the fibbers, so only qualified candidates move forward.
  2. Work/Life Interview. This interview includes reviewing the candidate resume. This is where you ask candidates what they did in specific roles? And how they have progressed through their career.
  3. Behavioral Competency Interview. At this point, you will have narrowed the applicant pool down to just a few. This is where the Scorecard Data comes in. Typically the hiring manager, in our case, the Sales Director, completes this interview. The Sales Director walks candidates through scenarios that are designed to evaluate the Scorecard competencies. Done right, each scenario will take 10 to fifteen minutes. Be sure to prioritize the competencies to address the ones most critical.
  4. Job Trial. The Sales Director reviews the job expectations, and designs live scenarios. Put the candidate into the scenario to find out how they would react in real-life.


Mitigate the Risk With a Proven Approach

This is a comprehensive approach that is proven to identify A-Players. It is  well-worth the time invested to implement. This approach also sets up the candidate for a successful sales career.


  • By presenting a scenario, the candidate gets the chance to deal with real life situations. The candidate also gets a snapshot of expectations. And they achieve the first steps in the training process on sales best practices.
  • The sales director can see how the candidate articulates herself. Is it in generalities? If so, can the candidate drill down to the tactical steps she used? If not, does she really have the experience required?
  • Show the candidate some empathy. Prioritize the Scorecard competencies to address scenarios most critical for success. Don’t overwhelm the candidate.


ABR Process: “Always Be Recruiting” Lands A-Players

Sales teams should be recruiting all the time, whether at work or during social time. That’s 24×7.  If you are always looking for talent, you’ll have a pipeline when you need it. Having a potential pipeline of candidates won’t force you into a quick decision. When a resource walks out the door, you don’t want the  “pick-of-the-litter.” Especially when the entire “litter” is made up of runts.


You don’t want the best of the worst. You want the best of the best.


The A-Player Scorecard method will ensure that’s what you get.