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What is a Five-Tool Player in Sales and What Does it Take to be One?


"It's very rare that you come upon a young man like Billy - who can run, who can field, who can throw, who can hit, and who can hit with power. Those five tools, you don't see that very often." -- MLB scout in a scene from Moneyball.

In baseball, five-tool players are rare. They represent the best of the best. Mays, Mantle, Clemente. They are the unicorns. Able to do it all with a high level of skill. There are no flaws or holes in their game.

What does it take to be a five-tool player in sales? To be the best, what are the areas of excellence?

Manage a Territory

Organizing and managing customers and prospects is a key skill for sales professionals. Too many overservice customers and don't prospect enough. They are able to spend time with the right people.

Manage a Pipeline

The pipeline is the central nervous system of the business. It will tell you what to do next. Keeping control of the sales process, continual qualifying and disqualifying, and conversion from one stage to the next are key skills.

Manage an Account

Account retention is a verb - it requires action. Five-tool sales professionals are able to increase wallet share by expanding products and relationships in each of their accounts.

Manage a Discovery Meeting

The best sales professionals are skilled at running a discovery meeting. They have equal business stature. They understand their job is to gather, not give, information by asking credible, relevant questions.

Manage Themselves

Five-tool salespeople focus on the things they can control. Not able to control outcomes, they pay attention to their daily behaviors. They don't get emotionally attached to the outcomes of any given interaction.

In sales, you don't have to be born "the next Willie Mays." These are skills you can learn.

Robin Green

Robin Green

Robin Green is the President and Owner of Ascend Performance, Inc., a certified and award-winning Sandler Training Center in Richmond, VA. He specializes in helping companies of all sizes to develop the Attitudes, Behaviors, and Techniques that will help them reach new levels. Robin is a keynote speaker and podcast host. You can reach him at We help companies and motivated individuals with sales, management and customer service training.