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David Jacoby

By: David Jacoby on May 10th, 2012

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Find Top Sales Talent Like a Pro Football Recruiter

Sales Management | Recruitment & Selection


Does it seem like the NFL season plays out on TV or sports talk radio 365 days a year? I was watching ESPN and one NFL analyst was discussing a recent draft. He noted three intangibles that would ultimately predict a player’s future success in the NFL: Energy, Focus, and Toughness.

While we believe that systematically hiring top sales talent is the result of a disciplined, behavior-based hiring process, sales managers should also consider intangibles; and energy, focus, and toughness are intangibles that can be readily applied to the sales world.



Football players who bring high energy to both practice and then game day are consistently more successful than those who just go through the motions. In the sales world, reps who just go through the motions rarely last in the long-run. Customers can sense low energy and they typically don’t want to engage with those types of reps.



Great football players can block out the crowd noise and hyper-focus on their jobs. Likewise, successful sales reps need to be able to tune out all of the daily distractions that can get them off track and focus on the limited number of key activities (e.g., prospecting) that can move the dial.



It goes without saying that football players are physically tough, but they also must be mentally tough to manage injury, adversity, and pressure. By the same token, it is not uncommon for sales reps to hear “no” 90% of the time, so they, too, need to be incredibly mentally tough and be able to bounce back after repeated setbacks.

Energy, focus, and toughness can be the difference makers that set your sales stars apart from the non- or low-producers, ultimately keeping them from being relegated to the bench, or even worse, released.


Sales Training Research Report by Sales Readiness Group

About David Jacoby

As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, A Part of SBI, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.