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The 2017 Fantasy Football Lover's Guide to Your Sales Force

The 15 person lineup on your fantasy football team and your sales team.

It's our favorite time of year here at Ambition. Meet the 15 types of people in your sales force and your fantasy football team. 

Welcome to the 4th annual Fantasy Football Lover's Guide to Your Sales Force. Click the following links to revisit our 20142015 and 2016 lists. 

fantasy football for sales

Before we dive in - we encourage you to learn how Ambition lets sales organizations run Fantasy Football-style sales contests. The Harvard Business Review found that a 3 month competition that Fortune 1000 homebuilder Clayton Homes ran using Ambition + Salesforce led to "stunning productivity increases for sustained periods of time." 

2017 Fantasy Football Lover's Guide to Your Sales Force

#1. The Franchise Cornerstone

Got the best-of-the-best leading your Sales Force? Congratulations, you're running sales offensives with a Franchise Cornerstone.

The rarest breed of leaders, Franchise Cornerstones deliver it all. Quota-crushing performance. Unparalleled leadership. Respect that permeates every level of your organization. This person sets the standard for greatness in your organization - in all likelihood, he or she is one of your top performers week in and week out. A treasured asset envied by every one of your competitors. Worth every penny that your company spends to keep inside your walls.

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is a force of nature that I (a Pittsburgh native) and millions of fantasy owners the world over cherish having on our team. Dynamic, consistent and explosive in every situation - Antonio Brown is the Fantasy Football version of your sales team's most impactful member. 

Signs You May Be The Franchise Cornerstone: 

  • You've won every sales contest your team has held this year.
  • You're borderline impossible to overpay.
  • Your boss would throw himself in front of a semi-truck for you. 

#2. The Workhorse

Your sales team needs someone who is unfazed by grueling levels of production. The young SDR who works 90 hours per week, makes up for others' mistakes and does the little things - like updating outdated Salesforce fields on a prospect.  

The Workhorse was born to make that happen. He or she consistent creates a high level of output through sheer passion, force of will and flashes of occasional brilliance. A vital part of any successful sales force.

2017 NFL Doppelganger: David Johnson

David Johnson is your 2017 Workhorse. He will spend the next 17 weeks absorbing and dishing out obscene levels of punishment while making thousands of fantasy owners watch the Cardinals offense with the intensity level they would have with their own team. Whoever your version of the Workhorse is, make sure he or she gets the proper credit for doing the dirty work and getting the tough yards your team needs to hit quota.

Signs You May Be The Workhorse: 

  • You the most essential contributor on your team. 
  • You and the janitorial team are on a first-name basis.
  • You are the talk of your supervisors - and are due for a huge raise.    

3. The Petulant Superstar

I love the Petulant Superstar, because I grew up in the same household as one. My stepdad, a talented, passionate geologist (and former all-state running back in Arkansas), came home from work every day pissed off at the incompetence of his peers. My mom, brother and I soon came to christen him, "The Petulant Superstar," and the name stuck.

In sales, your petulant superstar isn't hard to spot. He or she is quota-crushing, loud, abrasive and equal parts well-intentioned yet self-absorded. A high-maintenance high achiever, if you will. A tempest you'd get rid of except he or she makes So. Much. Freaking. Money. For. Your Company.

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Le'veon Bell

The most obvious doppelganger for this year's list. Le'veon has skipped Steelers training camp and preseason in pursuit of a higher salary. Which means he will be 100% fresh for this year's season. 

The entertainment value of a Petulant Superstar is perhaps his or her most underrated redeeming quality. Having a Bell-esque figure on your sales force makes Happy Hours and daily "How was work?" post mortems with the spouse a million times better.

Signs You May Be the Petulant Superstar:

  • You put up record numbers and let everyone know about it.
  • You feel strong kinship with Rod Tidwell in Jerry Maguire.
  • You are in sales for the money - and business is good.

#4. The Rising Star

One of the most cherished assets on any sales team, the rising star is the hungry young go-hard with a mind for business and a motor that keeps the new deals coming in fast and furious.

Rising stars are such a hot commodity because, even in today's world of data-driven corporate decision-making, hiring is still a goddamned crap shoot. Especially with newly-minted sales pros who are fresh out of college, have zero real-world experience, and have no clue how much of their daily existence will involve being told "No." for the foreseeable future.

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Jay Ajayi

Dolphins sensation Jay Ajayi was 2016's breakout player and thus qualifies as a full-fledged rising star for the 2017 Fantasy Season. The sales force equivalent is the kid in your office who may or may not be old enough to legally rent a car, but can close 5 and 6 figure deals with the best of them. A rare gem and a joy to watch as he or she racks up fantasy points/revenue for your respective teams. 

Signs You May Be The Rising Star:

  • Company leadership greets you by name in the hallway.
  • You still have no clue who half of them are.

#5. The Sleeper

Somewhere on your sales team, there is a stud-in-waiting. Think Jordan Belfort mixed with Jason Bourne. A sleeper cell waiting to activate and wreak (positive) havoc all over your company's balance sheets. 

When that happens, two things immediately follow. One, self-congrutalory pats on the back from Jason/Jordan's immediate supervisors for having the foresight to see the Sleeper's potential. Two, a sudden shift in perspective toward other low performers on your team - these people are no longer "busts," they're "deep sleepers." 

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Leonard Fournette

Your sales force sleeper is the person most poised to make the leap. Leonard is the Fourth Overall Pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. He joins a Jacksonville Jaguars team that desperately needs him to have a massive year. I'm anticipating big things. Find his equivalent in your sales force. 

Signs You May Be The Sleeper: 

  • Management pays you an inordinate amount of attention.
  • You keep getting compared to established team superstars.

#6. The Injury Risk

Rare in the sales environment (unless Terry Tate is patrolling your cubicles), but still happens on occasion.The sick days start piling up. The productivity starts to wane. The numbers drops off completely.

For purposes of this article, let's limit the Injury Risk to sales reps who are creating avoidable health issues for themselves. Drinking too much. Not getting enough sleep. Chain smoking on breaks. When the effects start becoming noticeable, then you have a problem. Because even though - when the Injury Risk is healthy, he or she is a high performer - that's a big "If" these days.  

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Jordy Nelson

For the 2017 NFL season, our Injury Risk doppelganger is Jordy Nelson - the talented Green Bay wideout who was riddled with injuries over the past few years. 

Moral of the story: Sales teams - don't ask your peers enter the Edelman Zone by letting each other guzzle 8 Red Bulls, 2 packs of Marlboro Lights and 6 Happy Hour tall boys week in and week out. 

Signs You May Be The Health Risk:

  • You bring blood pressure medication to high school reunions.
  • You lied at least 5 times at your last physical.
  • What's a physical? 

#7. The Mercurial Talent

In sales, powerful swagger/emotions can be your best ally and, at other times, your worst enemy.  It works the same with mentally unhinged NFL players -- and the worst thing you can do is take yourself out of the game by losing your cool.

How your sales team handles adversity is key. Your competitors will pull underhanded moves. Your prospects will aggravate you to no end. Your leadership will put the heat on you when the quarter is closing in and quota is far, far away.

The Mercurial Talent on your sales force, like the Petulant Susperstar, can be prone to self-destructive outbursts. While more subdued than the Petulant Superstar, the Mercurial Talent still needs to be reined in occasionally, lest his or her emotions get the best of them.  

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Odell Beckham, Jr.

On the one hand, major props to Odell Beckham, Jr. for standing his ground and refusing to be bullied by Josh Norman. On the other hand, I'm not sure weaponizing one's helmet/skull and getting a one-game suspension counts as a win, at the end of the day.

You get my drift. And by the way, I'll take a Mercurial Talent that's feisty over one that's moody and sulking every day of the week.

Signs You May Be The Mercurial Talent:

  • You make waves via explosive deals and an explosive temper.
  • At least two people have suggested you start taking yoga. 

#8. The PPR Stud

In certain sales teams, different types of talent hold higher value. Say you're a 3PL logistics broker who does low-margin, high-volume and highly transactional deals. Your performance should be graded with the sales equivalent of a high PPR (Points Per Reception) scoring system. 

Conversely, if you're working in enterprise software and closing six-figure deals that take months to complete, you're evaluating talent on a whole other paradigm. Less smile and dial. More challenger selling.

Highly transactional sales teams value PPR Studs. Guys who put up the sales equivalent of "9 catches for 80 yards," rather than 2 catches for 105 yards. 

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Mike Evans

Evans is a PPR cyborg with hands made of stickum. He's also a model of consistency. His doppelganger on your high-transaction sales team is what Jordan Belfort would lovingly describe as a "telephone terrorist" who rarely loses deals and rarely dips below a high level of performance in a given week.

Signs You May Be The PPR Stud:

  • You check your inbox once, maybe twice a day.
  • You understand prospects, better than your own family.
  • Your competitors know you and utterly hate you. 

#9. The Basket Case

Once the swagger/emotion pendulum swings far enough, you're exiting Mercurial Talent territory and entering the realm of the Basket Case.

The Basket Case maintains the skill level of a Mercurial Talent or Petulant Superstar, making him or her one of the strongest performers on your sales force. Which brings us to the other distinguishing factor of a Basket Case: A reckless indifference to professionalism, company codes of conduct, and personal well-being. 

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Rob Gronkowski

There's really no other option here. Rob Gronkowski is the Merriam-Webster's definition of a Basket Case. Yes, he's a top performer. Yes, he's incredibly fun to watch. But most importantly of all, the guy is certifiably insane. You almost can't even get mad at him for the ridiculous, self-destructive stunts he pulls on a regular basis. He's almost certainly missing the brain matter that would make him smart enough to know better. 

Bottom line: Your Basket Case is an X-Factor, but perhaps the scariest one of all. Good luck trying to control this individual - you're better off just hanging on for dear life and enjoying the ride while it lasts.

Signs You May Be The Basket Case:

#10. The Dark Horse

Lurking beneath the radar on your sales team is the Dark Horse.

A more proven asset than the Sleeper, the Dark Horse brings higher expectations plus higher upside. This is the Account Executive who seems poised to break out in Q4. The Business Development Associate who's emerging as a natural team leader. Bottom line: The Dark Horse is your sales team member with high upside, positive recent trends in performance and a bit of a chip on his or her shoulder.

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Donte Moncrief

Being an NFL or Sales professional means being faced with the constant question, "What have you done for me lately?" In Donte Montcrief's case - and in the case of your Dark Horse - the answer is: More than the numbers would indicate.

The analsysis on Donte Montcrief highlights an important point about Dark Horses - Do not underestimate the value that an improved situation can have on a fantasy or sales team member. Have an Account Executive who needs good SDRs and just got teamed up with your top SDR performer? Boom. Dark Horse. And like the Sleeper, yes, lots of self-congratulatory pats on the back from leadership will follow once this guy breaks out. 

Signs You May Be The Dark Horse: .

  • You've put in the long hours and are starting to see results.
  • You empathize with Erlich Bachmann: Release the Kraken.

#11. The Underachiever

I shouldn't have to spell this one out for you. Lots of hype. Little return. And the slow, steady salting of management's good will - this salesperson is like conducting his or her own version of Sherman's March, except instead of going to Atlanta, he or she is heading straight to the unemployment line.  Add in a good dose of arrogance/schadenfreude to boot, and you've got...

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Robert Griffin III

Big time congratulations to RGIII for his ongoing commitment to underachieving. It's a good thing the Cavs are champions and continue to be relevant, because since joining the Browns franchise in 2016, RGIII has distinguished himself by causing property damage with his inaccuracy, big-timing his wife and newborn for some Instagram model and going 1-15 last year. 

To figure out the Underachiever on your salesforce, simply say the words, "Office RGIII" out loud. The first person that springs to mind is your answer.

Signs You May Be The Underachiever: 

  • Everything you do is a clusterf*ck.
  • Despite that, you're still an arrogant, self-important windbag.
  • You value style over substance - and it shows. 

#12. The Deep Sleeper

The person on your sales team most frequently discussed in terms of "potential, upside, and opportunity." Deep sleepers are fun to have thanks to their low-risk, high reward factor and the sense of personal ownership that sales managers will feel - deservedly or underservedly - if they become breakout performers.

In fact, more veteran members of your sales team may feel a little animosity toward Deep Sleepers, who get more attention, more leeway on performance and more passes for mistakes than the vast majority of their peers.  

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Derrick Henry

Confession time: I blew $25 (of a $200 budget) on Derrick Henry in one Auction League. Immediate buyer's remorse. The cause of my poor decision - a momentary lapse of judgment thanks to Deep Sleeper hype. 

That's the thing about Deep Sleepers. They should never cost that much money. (A guy from same Auction League got Henry for $8 in a separate acution draft later that night).  You're placing a small bet on pure potential, then hoping things work out. Hell, Henry isn't even the starting running back on his own team.

The surest sign of a Deep Sleeper in your sales force? A young gun with raw talent, zero experience, and nothing but promise and potential.   

Signs You May Be The Deep Sleeper:

  • You're fresh out of school and this was your first job offer.
  • Your starting salary is lower than most in corporate America.
  • You hate being broke more than anything in the world. 

#13. The Next Big Thing

Just like the Deep Sleeper, but with major, major expectations places on their shoulders. Every sales force has the occasional hyped newcomer enter their doors. This person could come from a competitor, a revered industry name, or a pedigreed family background.

Whatever the cause behind the hype, your sales organization is betting a little (or a lot) more than usual on this necome to enter the bullpen, start kicking in doors, and closing hella deals. Immediately. For that reason, you both envy them and pity them. 

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Joe Mixon

Last year, I called Ezekiel Elliott as the next big thing. This year, I'm calling fellow troubled Running Back Joe Mixon. 

Note the contrast here between Mixon and Derrick Henry. In many cases, your status as a Deep Sleeper versus the Next Big Thing will depend as much on the situation in the organization you enter as it does on your prior performance levels. Enter a massive sales force with hundreds of reps worldwide, and you're much more likely to be in a Deep Sleeper situation. Enter a small startup sales force where you're expected to be the blue chip performer? Hello, Next Big Thing.

Signs You May Be The Next Big Thing:  

  • First encounter with team members: "You're the hero, huh?"

#14. The Savvy Veteran

What would your sales and/or fantasy squad be without a savvy veteran? In way over it's head, is the correct answer.

The Savvy Veteran has been around the block. He or she makes things look easy, thus putting everyone else at ease and adding precious hours of sleep to your sales manager's nightly average. You can count on the Savvy Veteran like you can count on few other people on your sales and fantasy squads. 

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Aaron Rodgers

Investing in Aaron Rodgers is like investing in a Savvy Veteran. You're not just buying a consistent, elite performer. You're buying peace of mind. That's one less person on your squad you have to worry about, week in and week out. (Having said that, watch him tear both MCLs in Week 1, now).

The same goes for the Savvy Veteran of your sales force. You want a guy who brings 360° value - this is your person. Take stock of the value this individual brings.  

Signs You May Be The Savvy Veteran:

  • You close deals in half the time it takes your peers.  
  • You see through B.S - both internal and external - a mile away.
  • You've prevented at least one psychotic break for managers.

#15. The Bust 

Each year, sales hiring managers and fantasy owners bet big on a few marquee names -- then watch with horror as their best-laid plans disintegrate.  Watching the downfall of a soon-to-be-infamous Bust is like witnessing the Hindenburg's slow descent, culminating with a fiery crash into the Titanic.

All the money, time and hope managers invest in their most memorable Busts evaporates into thin air -- though the trauma often lingers far longer. In sales teams, the Bust is a catastrophic failure. Money and time wasted on a supposed hotshot. The bane of management's existence.

2017 NFL Doppelganger: Mitch Trubinsky

With apologies to Gary Vaynerchuk - who went to bat for Trubinsky at the end of our Sales Influencer Series interview - I see Sweet Mitch as being the NFL rookie version of his namesake in ...Waiting. Overmatched. Overwhelmed. Jack Lemmon in the concluding scene of Glengarry Glenn Ross had better career prospects than Gabbert - and he was facing prison time.

Signs You May Be The Bust:

  • All you see around you is disappointment and fury.

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Sales Leaders, HR Professionals, and C-Level Executives use Ambition to recognize, motivate, and develop employees into more engaged and productive versions of themselves. Funded by Google, used by the Fortune 500, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review.

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