Making leaders out of sales people

by | May 18, 2023

To start off with, a humble brag – we, Sales Engine, along with tech partners Seismic and Loopio held a very exclusive event at The Eight Club in London which comprised a conversation between our erstwhile CEO, Steve Robinson and Paul Fleming of Autodesk – a truly transformative sales leader – to discuss “Sales Maturity*” followed by wine tasting.

The event was selectively attended by senior sales leaders. Universal feedback confirmed the topic was on point, the discussion was of value and the wine delicious (it really was).

Glad to get that out of the way.

During the billed ‘fireside chat’ Paul said something which truly resonated with me.

The seller is “not an individual contributor anymore, it’s a leadership role”. 

What did this feel particularly pertinent? Less than two weeks ago, another customer of ours had said to me that what we (Sales Engine) did was “make leaders out of salespeople”.

Two customers, in as many weeks, making the same point. Is this earth shattering? Maybe not but when Paul expanded on this, it uncovered a bit more clarity.  

While modern sellers are used to working on virtual teams that may comprise members from functions like marketing, customer success, product management and so on, how many sales leaders concentrate on upskilling their sellers to effectively lead such teams as opposed to just leaving them to sink or swim?

Paul does.  In fact, Paul works very hard on developing his sellers’ soft skills, understanding what makes them tick and how to help them to be at their very best. How to make most use of their time – always still a challenge, how to apply critical thinking, how to be human and lead other humans in a HUMAN way. How to nurture positive behaviours not only within themselves but how to cascade that through their teams and to encourage it in their customers too. This is an art. Not the frequently labelled ‘dark art’ of selling but perhaps a new brand of ‘light art’ based on intuitive mentoring and leading by example, alongside honed, personalised communication and a culture of support, inspiration and striving for long term achievement rather than a philosophy of quick wins.

This approach yields not only financial results but leads to other benefits like reduced friction and conflict within teams, mindsets focused on growth and development and really happy customers.

A fascinating insight and one that we can all learn from.

If you want to find out where your business is on the Sales Maturity Curve, drop me a line and we can chat.

I’m open to wine too.