IBM Eagles: Why the Term "Eagles" Fits IBM's Top Salespeople
Early in my sales career I was designated an IBM “eagle”. IBM, one of the largest technology companies in the world, is known for its innovative and creative approaches to sales and marketing. One of the company's most interesting and unique strategies when I was a salesman in the 1970’s was its use of the term "Eagles" to describe its top 1% of salespeople. In this blog, we will explore the history behind IBM's use of this term and why it was so fitting for its most successful sales professionals.
The Origin of the Term "Eagles"
IBM's use of the term "Eagles" to describe its top salespeople dates back to the 1970s. At that time, IBM in addition to the Hundred Percent Club and the Golden Circle was looking for a way to recognize and reward its most successful sales professionals. The company wanted to create a sense of pride and camaraderie among its sales force while also differentiating its top performers from the rest of the pack.
IBM's leaders ultimately settled on the term "Eagles" for several reasons. First, the eagle is a powerful and majestic bird that is widely regarded as a symbol of strength, vision, and excellence. The eagle is also a bird of prey that is known for its keen eyesight and ability to hunt and capture its prey with incredible precision.
Why the Term "Eagles" Fits IBM's Top Salespeople
In those day’s “Buck” Rodgers trained all the salespeople in the structured sales call. Those that mastered these skills, truly embodied the qualities that are associated with eagles. These individuals are highly skilled at identifying and pursuing new business opportunities, as well as developing and maintaining strong relationships with customers. They are also highly focused and goal-oriented, with an unwavering commitment to respecting the customer, excellence, and continuous improvement.
In addition to these qualities, IBM's Eagles were known for their ability to work collaboratively and leverage the company's vast resources and expertise to deliver value to their customers. They are adept at navigating complex sales cycles and working with cross-functional teams to solve complex business problems.
Beyond their individual skills and accomplishments, IBM's Eagles were also recognized for their commitment to the company's core values of integrity, dedication, and innovation. These values are at the heart of everything that IBM does, and the company's top salespeople are expected to embody them in all their interactions with customers and colleagues.
In conclusion, IBM's use of the term "Eagles" to describe its top salespeople is a fitting tribute to the strength, vision, and excellence that these individuals embody. These talented professionals distinguished themselves through their hard work, dedication, and unwavering commitment to IBM's core values. They are an inspiration to their colleagues and a critical part of the company's success.
Why IBM eagles make great sales coaches
Past IBM's Eagles, as the company's top salespeople, possess a wealth of knowledge, skills, and experience that make them ideal candidates for sales coaching. Here are some of the reasons why IBM Eagles make great sales coaches:
1. Proven track record of success: Eagles have a proven track record of success. They have developed and executed successful sales strategies, built strong relationships with customers, and achieved exceptional results. As coaches, they can share their insights and expertise with other salespeople and help them achieve similar levels of success.
2. In-depth product and industry knowledge: Eagles have a deep understanding of the value of understanding the products and services they are selling, as well as the industries they serve. They can provide valuable insights and guidance to salespeople on how to position and sell their offerings effectively.
3. Strong coaching and mentoring skills: Eagles are not only great salespeople but also great coaches and mentors. They have the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their mentees and provide targeted feedback and guidance to help them improve their sales skills.
4. Ability to motivate and inspire: Eagles are highly motivated and driven individuals who have a passion for sales and helping others succeed. They can inspire and motivate salespeople to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.
5. Experience in navigating complex sales cycles: Eagles have extensive experience in navigating complex sales cycles and working with cross-functional teams to close deals. They can provide valuable guidance to salespeople on how to navigate challenging sales situations and work effectively with other departments, like aligning with marketing to enhance their go-to-market strategies.
6. Strong communication skills: Eagles are excellent communicators who can articulate complex ideas and concepts in a clear and concise manner. As coaches, they can effectively communicate sales strategies, tactics, and best practices to salespeople.
In summary, Eagles make great sales coaches because they possess a unique combination of skills, experience, and knowledge that make them effective mentors and teachers. They can help salespeople develop the skills and strategies they need to succeed in a competitive sales environment and drive business growth.