ceos guide hiring sales leadersImplementing the strategy is where the pain lies.  It is also the greatest cost to the organization. 


You need leaders that can help you execute the strategy.  Unfortunately, top executives do a poor job of selecting the right talent.  You are not alone.  A recent survey showed 55% of executives are poor at identifying talent.  This is why talent becomes so critical to the success of your strategy.


This post is about the key competencies your sales leader needs to possess.  Download SBI’s annual research here to learn how best in class organization get this right.  You can also download the “Top 25 Sales Leader Competencies” tool.


Top 25 Sales Leader Competencies


What is causing the change?


  1. Change in your customers– Because of the internet buyers know more about your solution than ever before.  A shift that has left your sales team looking from the outside in.  The complexity of your solution has also made it difficult to close a deal.  You need a new type of leader to guide the way.
  2. Intense Competition– Increased commoditization driven by old and new rivals in the market place.  Every deal comes down to price and a slugfest with the bad guys.  This will dramatically affect profit margins and the lifecycle of your competitive advantage.  You need a leader that can mobilize the sales force to outpace the competition.
  3. Sales Reps expectations – A younger workforce is bringing new skills sets to the workplace.  These new workers with exceptional technological skills demand organizations to respond to their needs.  In a tight market, the “war on talent” is not slowing down.  You need a leader that is a “talent magnet”.
  4. Internal collaboration– Sales, Marketing, Product Development, and HR are all operating in silos.  Leaders with different agendas are a major cause for corporate initiatives to fail. Resources are wasted. In turn, the sales force is less equipped to succeed.


How to find tomorrow’s leader?

There is no doubt that external and internal forces in the market have changed.  However, the competencies you look for in a leader have not.  You need to throw away your old interview guides and build a new scorecard.  Below are some of the key sales competencies your leader needs today.  Download the “Top 25 Sales Leader Competencies” and get all 25 key sales competencies.  Hiring for these competencies ensures your leaders are helping you make the number.


  1. Change Management– The ability to effectively navigate and strategize during times of change and disruption.  How well does you leader understand changes in the buyer?  Have they built a strategy and equipped the team to face these challenges?  Leaders who can foresee changes without major disruptions to sales will maximize revenue.
  2. Managing Vision and Purpose-Building and implementing corporate strategic goals.  Conducting business conversations with sales reps based on their strategic goals and mapping solutions.  This is the ability to connect corporate strategy with sales strategy.  Leaders who can connect the field to corporate create higher levels of engagement.  This leads to more reps exceeding quota.
  3. Social Prospecting– Prospect both new and existing accounts through use of social techniques.   How do your customers buy?  What are the best routes to reach key decision makers inside your key accounts?  78% of reps that use social media to sell out perform their peers.
  4. Social Intelligence– Defined as the use of social techniques for generating revenue from new prospects.  Does your leader have a social strategy?  Your customers live in social media and so should your sales leader. Your sales leader needs to answer this question.  Excelling in this area creates more at bats for your team.  More at bats lead to more closed opportunities.


Successful identification and hiring of quality leaders is the single biggest driver of growth.  CEO’s are shifting their focus to a new kind of leader.  One that can help identify, prioritize and help navigate tomorrow’s sales force.  Equipped with these competencies a leader can help you make the number Next Year.



Andrew Urteaga

Helps motivate clients to design and implement new sales and marketing strategies so that they stay on track to make their number.

Clients describe Andrew as an industry thought leader. He has deep experience as an executive, having served in multiple positions as a sales leader, with a track record of outstanding performance in F500 companies.


Prior to joining SBI, Andrew held the position of VP of Sales at Avis Budget Group where he was responsible for sales and marketing leadership. He also held a variety of positions with Cintas Corporation, a Fortune 500 multi-national company, including key quota carrying positions in the sales force from sales rep through to executive leadership.


Andrew’s work has included everything from lead generation, campaign planning and sales process to designing complete sales management coaching programs and new compensation plans.

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