There are several key competencies that define the A-player sales leader. If your boss exited tomorrow, would you be up for promotion?

I recently interviewed the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  We were discussing the difference between her A-player leaders and their peers.  I asked her what differentiates A-player leaders them from the rest of the pack.  Her first answer was, “they’re promotable.”  Makes sense.  Her best leaders are those who could someday take her place.


Find out how you compare to top performing organizations by assessing the functional area that you lead.  Do this by answering the questions in SBI’s How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook , your comprehensive resource to revenue growth emerging best practices.


Are You Promotable?


In today’s growth environment, the likelihood your boss moves up or gets moved out is high.  That probable vacancy is a real opportunity for promotion.  Do you have what it takes?  Are you promotable?


There are several key competencies that define the A-player sales leader.  Master these and increase the likelihood of getting the next big opportunity.


In this blog I want to cover a few skill sets that are critical to getting to the next level.


Coaching and Talent Development


Definition: Overseeing talent development programs and efforts. Taking interest in advancement of subordinates. Success of previous subordinates in other areas of the organization. Ensuring stable of qualified and available replacements. Developing Career Action Plans.


A great leader is great at developing their team.  Ask yourself the following questions.  If you struggle to answer yes, then start focusing on coaching and talent development.


  • Do you invest substantial professional time in overseeing talent development programs and efforts?
  • Do you take personal interest in advancement of subordinates, including giving them one-on-one time for the sole purpose of career advancement?
  • Can you point to previous subordinates in other areas of the organization who have been successful?


Managing Resources


Definition: Bringing specific support resources to bear to impact sales campaigns. Overseeing contributions from staff other than those under direct management. Gaining cooperation from third parties that can assist in the sale. Leveraging corporate assets (IP, content, reputation, tools, etc.).


Sometimes the internal sale is as important as the external sale.  Great leaders know how to engage and partner with other business functions.


  • Do you ensure high impact sales support resources are introduced at the right time in sales campaigns?
  • Are you able to consistently gain cooperation of staff other than those under your direct management to move deals along?
  • Can you gain cooperation from a wide variety of third parties that assist in advancing a sale or in improving the company’s value proposition?


Judgement/Decision Making  



Definition:  Reacting when under time or other pressure. Weighing conflicting goals and commitments and making decisions based on core values. Exhibiting wisdom in counsel. Judging character. Reading client situations.


Great leaders have great judgment.  They make prudent decisions in the midst of conflicting goals and commitments.


  • Do you panic when under time or other pressure?
  • Can you consistently read client situations accurately and provide wise counsel?
  • Are you able to weigh conflicting goals and commitments and make decisions based on core values?


Team Builder


Definition: Creates unity and productivity of sales reps under management. His/her reps consistently state they feel part of a high-performing team. Is able to improve average performers and motivate above average performers to excellence. Develops team-building and team motivating activities.


Great leaders build great teams.  They foster a culture of high expectation and high performance.  Team members feel part of something big…Sky’s the limit.


  • Do your reps consistently state they feel part of a high-performing team and are proud to be part of the organization?
  • Are your average performers rising above mediocrity and your above-average performers motivated to excellence?
  • Is there a strong sense of teamwork and camaraderie from support and other sales-related staff?


Call to Action: 

If your boss left tomorrow, would you be on the shortlist for promotion?  Being ‘promotable’ requires mastery of certain key competencies.  I highlighted four above, but there are more.  Download the Sales Leader Profile Checklist to see the Top 10.  Remember…“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” (Vince Lombardi)


Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test to rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:


  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job


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