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Sales Leadership has its share of challenges

Sales Leadership can also be richly rewarding, for those passionate about both solving customer requirements and leading a team, enjoying the competitive cut and thrust evokes battle analogies and a winner takes all thrill.

Often working across geographical and or vertical market groups, it can be a fulfilling occupation and the product of years of hard graft and development. The scope for many sales leaders can grow over time, in fact a Michael Page survey suggests that compared to 5 years ago, sales leader workload is 30% greater.

The function of sales is critical, commercial organisations especially scale their businesses based on the revenue and the expected cost of sales in the future. Thus, the sales function is charged with ensuring the organisations future. This is indeed the case for non-commercial organisations, whereby sales activity creates the necessary revenue for its existence and operation.

Sales leadership has never been easy, perhaps the battle analogies are perhaps not as valid as they once were, as organisations increasingly engage in either sophisticated partnerships. Procurement functions becoming increasingly insight driven with the push for advantages through Artificial Intelligence, together with increasing commoditisation.

Increasingly, sales leaders are required to have knowledge and skills in analytical, strategic with emotional domains.

Work by Andris A. Zoltners , PK Sinha and Sally E. Lorimer discuss the reasons that sales leaders fail fall into four categories:

  1. Direction. Poor understanding of the business, leading to errors in vision and strategy, indeed for most, poor execution.
  2. Talent. Inability to pick and keep the right people for the team, an understanding of how work is done is important for any leader to be able to diagnose, mentor and indeed hire for. Retention can be impacted
  3. Execution. Poor processes create frustration through poor customer experience and frustrate those inside the business, often resulting in workarounds.
  4. Culture. Inappropriate values drive away talented people and destroy the mission (purpose) of the organisation.

What else do you see as areas of challenge for Sales Leaders?

I would be delighted to discuss your impressions of the article with you.

Want to know more?

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What I do

Adam works with emerging and established leaders, often in technical markets, passionate about balancing hard and soft skills to harness to talents of the individuals and team. Creating outstanding leadership through self-awareness, seizing and developing talents in others, collaborating and balancing the need for success with clients, partners and peers. Through mixed modes, he delivers impactful programs.