"A" PlayerWe all want the best talent. But how can we identify the “A” players versus “a player”? The former will make you money, the latter will cost you.

As a sales manager you need to determine if the person sitting across from you in an interview will be an “A” player. Will he or she be sales talent you can rely on? Will he or she be the next top producer? Will quota be met?

All good questions, so how do you identify your rainmaker in an interview?

An “A” player will be confident. They will proudly brandish accomplishments on their resume. And, they will have verifiable accomplishments. Some of their achievements might be hard to believe, but “A”players can do a lot, with little, and make the money roll in regardless of their circumstance which is why their sales history shows mostly positive results.

I recall interviewing one perennial winner who rang off his annual sales numbers and percentage above quote as well as big contract awards in each of his last 7 years. “A” players know their numbers and aren’t afraid to talk about them. They can tell you their quotas, their income and their sales plan. He or she will also be able to tell stories of how they closed deals and how they turned tough customers into long-term clients.

Since they know their numbers so well, they will also know their worth. You can’t pinch pennies with them. Top salespeople make money for the companies that employ them, so competition for them is tough and the investment is worth the return.

Admitting to your limitations is not easy to do, but “A” players can do it and will happily tell you the truth. They know their strengths and limitations, and tell you what you need to know, not what they think you want to hear.

They will also ask a ton of questions. Many times I have interviewed top reps who wanted to know things like how many of the reps on the team are making quota, how did the person previously do in this territory and why, or how is the company helping the reps sell more.

Her income and career are at stake and she wants to make sure she’ll be set up to succeed. Be prepared for a top performer to ask a lot of questions about the job, the future of the job, and the company.

A true “A” player is an expert in his field and has perfected the craft. Her experience has armed her with an abundance of best practices, and ways to sell better, faster and more efficiently.

Look for this sales gem at your next interview. Give her the job, the goal, support them and then get out of the way.


Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

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