It is shocking Sales Leaders depend on others to find and develop their people. Sourcing, hiring, training and developing talent is hard work.  Nothing can have a bigger impact on your sales org’s success.  Knowing this, the most skilled resources have to be focused on it.  Don’t let your Sales leadership team delegate these critical leadership activities.


The Problem

Sales Leaders rely too much on HR. HR has its place.  They can help with transactional sourcing activities.  They can help design the talent development process.  Learning and development can help with training.  But at the end of the day, you are responsible for the outcome.  Who knows the needs of your team better than you? 


I get asked all the time, whether an activity should be outsourced or owned internally. My answer is typically this.  If it is critical to your strategy, the most capable person should do it.  In other words, don’t rely on less skilled resources to perform critical tasks. 


Why do Sales Leaders happily delegate these activities? They are “too busy” with other stuff.  Much of this stuff is not critical to the strategy.  It is day to day work that needs to get done by somebody. 


Building a talent management machine will have a huge impact on next year. 


Why You Can’t Delegate Talent

HR typically has goals regarding filling open requisitions. This leads to the wrong behavior.  The focus on filling the role with a body versus the right body.  Also, HR is ill equipped to hire great Sales Managers and Reps.  They will never understand the role like your Sales Leaders who are closer to it.  Also, they are not as vested in the success of the new hire. 


From a sourcing perspective, many candidates come through job boards or recruiters. You don’t want candidates that are out of a job.  Why would a successful sales person leave a company and be unemployed?  Only if they weren’t very successful, were fired, or displayed questionable decision making.  All are red flags. 


Your Sales Leaders need to own hiring. Proactively find and persuade them to work for YOU.  People don’t make the decision to work for a company; they come to work for the leader. 


How good is your current team? Have you done an accurate assessment and stack ranking?  What are your leaders doing to upgrade the talent on their teams every week?  


Hiring and developing great people is the most important responsibility of a Sales Leader.


5 Step Process to Talent Management Excellence



  1. Sourcingproactive vs. reactive. Do you have a sourcing process in place to go get talent? Waiting for talent to apply or relying on recruiters is a disaster. When you proactively seek out talent, you find winners. Those who seek you out are typically unemployed or unsuccessful. Recruiters look for the easy hires. Easy hires typically ramp faster and plateau faster. Hire great sales people and not the industry guy who jumps around.
  2. Review your current team and stack rankwho is the best and worst? Don’t allow one great year to fool you. Also, one bad year could be misleading. Understand the competency level of each team member.
  3. Onboarding – invest. Like anything, hard work is the only path to success with onboarding. Sales Leaders need to by hip to hip with new hires.  Don’t rely on video training or the classroom to ramp a new hire. Here are the activities that ramp new hires quickly:


    • Sales Process training
    • Sales skills training
    • Mentoring
    • Field Shadowing
    • Role Plays
    • Failure based learning
  4. Coaching & Development – in the trenches. Coaching is hand to hand combat. The head football coach is on the sidelines and sometimes the field. If he is sitting in the booth, what do you think? He is separated from the team and not engaged. The same is true with sales. Get in the field. Also, does a football coach only show up for the game? Of course not. Don’t just show up for big sales calls. Spend the entire day with the rep. Coach before and provide feedback after. Prospect together and go to lunch. Nothing builds intimacy with the team and helps reps improve like field coaching.
  5. Career Path people leave a company when they don’t see a future. Not seeing a future is a Sales Leadership issue. Be very clear on future possibilities and timelines. Reps leave when they feel like the future is a mirage or moving target. Having a clear plan and discussing it shows you care about them. This is not a once a year discussion. This is a daily, weekly, monthly discussion.


Build a talent execution plan for 2016.  If executed properly, you will get a big lift.


Scott Gruher

Orchestrates and designs the perfect project strategy, one engagement at a time, to ensure that every SBI client makes their number.

Scott joined SBI in 2010 with years of hands-on experience in sales leadership and enterprise selling. Since his arrival, he has helped dozens of organizations dramatically accelerate growth, from Fortune 10 organizations like Phillips 66 to fast-growing cloud service organizations like InfusionSoft. Scott specializes in cross-functional alignment. He helps leaders align around the growth goal and design the right processes to bring the strategy to life. His unique combination of real world experience and a pragmatic approach to problem solving have made him one of SBI’s most demanded resources.

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