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Sales Team Leader Profile:
Compare High Performers to Low Producers

Position Overview: Sales Team Leaders – often called Sales Supervisors – are naturally motivated to develop sales leads and make sure their leads are well qualified. They are highly committed to getting the job done and will work tirelessly to see to this end. Being great customer advocates, super stars in this position will adapts their sales approach to different buyer motivations. They will be very proactive and willing to make joint sales calls with others on their teams

Predictive Skills: Eight characteristics will predict team leader success in this sales management position. Review below how top sales performers will differ from lower performers.


Demonstrates the initiative to uncover sales opportunities; actively attracts the interest of potential customers; networks to increase contacts; stays on top of market conditions to uncover new leads; consistently follows up with leads to assess their interest in the product/service offering


  • Methodically and regularly networks to develop a prospect list, regardless of the number of leads in the sales funnel
  • Develops a frequent and familiar personal profile in organizations or activities that attract the interest of prospective customers
  • Recognizes opportunities to uncover hidden or less obvious prospects by monitoring the competition and keeping on top of market conditions
  • Remains pragmatic and objective, versus intuitive and emotional, believing that the payoff comes from steadily working the numbers regardless of how he feels at the moment
  • Hard-driving and persistent, and tends to downplay social involvement that may interfere with or drain time from his prospecting efforts
  • Organizes contact information in order to systematically follow up on leads


  • Limits networking opportunities by being drawn into social or casual interactions, or by spending time with people he enjoys or are already known to him
  • Waits for prospects to raise their hands, believing that marketing efforts or the product/service itself will attract interest
  • May limit his networking efforts to those times when the sales pipeline is empty
  • May be inconsistent in creating and following a process that systematically and continually casts a net with the expectation of eventual success
  • Becomes frustrated or discouraged if a successful ‘hit’ is not achieved in a fairly short period of time
  • May be satisfied with ‘cherry picking’ and find it tedious to churn through a stream of new contacts to identify the warm or lukewarm leads


Uses a formula or series of questions to determine the prospect’s fit with the product; expects to sell to the majority of prospects since they are known to need the seller’s products; reacts quickly and objectively to the answers to standard probes by disqualifying the prospect or proceeding through the selling process


  • Probes with tough questions around profitability, capacity and readiness to buy when evaluating a prospect for potential business opportunities
  • Uses a formula approach to qualifying prospects that addresses typical interest points, such as price and ability to deliver
  • Does not allow his time to be consumed by prospects who should be disengaged or deferred based on the quality of business they will provide
  • Remains emotionally detached from the prospect’s situation, allowing him to stay objective in assessing the potential for profitable business


  • Uses his interest in a prospect’s needs or problems or his compatibility with contacts as the criteria for spending time with them in the selling process
  • Finds it difficult to narrow his focus to the quality as opposed to the quantity of the business available
  • Exhibits too much optimism and not enough pragmatism to cut loose potential business that would not be profitably serviced
  • Finds it difficult to be objective in assessing the potential of demanding or challenging contacts


Excites the customer with a charismatic presentation style; demonstrates value and actively promotes products and services with an enthusiastic and emotional appeal; grabs the customer’s attention and interest by making a relevant and inspirational presentation; varies style to build toward a buying decision


  • Makes formal presentations that focus on creating an impact while communicating information
  • Has the potential to capture and hold the audience's attention
  • Takes charge and keeps control of the information being communicated through a presentation that is polished and rehearsed
  • Varies his style and content to appeal to the audience
  • Projects his enthusiasm about a solution to the audience, moving them closer to a buying decision
  • Monitors audience response and adjusts his presentation to stay on target


  • May be more comfortable with establishing a dialogue that emphasizes listening and an exchange of ideas than with making an impact on the audience
  • Uses presentations to entertain rather than inform or persuade
  • Sticks too closely to a script and does not vary the content or emphasis to address the needs of each audience
  • Too focused on the mechanics of the presentation itself to pay attention to audience understanding and concurrence
  • Cannot easily adjust to a nonsupportive audience response and may rush an ineffective presentation just to finish it rather than alter the presentation to change that response


Thrives on working; tends to achieve higher results in direct proportion to the time he is willing to commit to his work; remains focused on the goal and is not easily discouraged or distracted; uses work as an opportunity for interaction and incorporates interpersonal contacts into task accomplishment; sees work as a major source of personal satisfaction


  • Commits time and resources to results accomplishment that surpasses what is just acceptable or expected
  • Is dedicated to achieving business results, even at some personal sacrifice
  • Defines himself to a great extent by his work and derives personal satisfaction from his success and accomplishments in his career
  • Builds into his schedule the time required to lay the groundwork and develop the plans for achieving his work objectives
  • Retains control of his objectives by preparing action steps and evaluating his progress
  • Remains focused when the commitment to his work is threatened by internal or external distractions
  • Enjoys finding opportunities to mix personal interaction with goal accomplishment


  • Seeks a balance in his professional and personal commitments that inevitably limits the time and resources devoted to his work
  • Is more inclined to work a set schedule of hours than to commit resources as required by the objective
  • Distinguishes personal time from work and career commitments and is not likely to make consistent sacrifices in his personal life to accommodate extraordinary advancements in his work objectives
  • Becomes distracted by unexpected obstacles or may not effectively plan to deal with his job demands
  • May not recognize that opportunities to advance his goals can be present in the personal interactions that occur in the workplace


Consistently achieves above-average sales results by understanding the customer’s business, empathizing with their problems and setting a plan to meet their needs; tirelessly focuses on building strong relationships with customers by acting on their behalf to work the seller’s internal systems to meet their requirements; sees partnering with customers as the efficient method to reach personal sales career goals


  • Is driven to achieve or exceed targeted results and uses sales as a means to get there; hungry to be a top producer
  • Holds results achievement to a high personal standard
  • Believes in taking personal responsibility for the level of success achieved
  • Is unwilling to have his goal achievement derailed by internal politics or bureaucratic procedures
  • Promotes a sense of partnering with customers
  • Takes the first step to establish a trusting relationship that assures customers of his commitment
  • Is genuinely interested in understanding customer needs and works the company’s internal systems to satisfy those needs
  • Collaborates with a network of support resources to satisfy customer requirements
  • May adopt a casual or relaxed approach that fails to project personal dedication to achieving or surpassing sales targets
  • Can be content with marginal success or lowers goals to reach a level of success that is easier to accomplish


  • May not sustain the intensity needed to consistently meet or exceed sales objectives
  • Wants to be successful on his own terms without tying his efforts or results to effectively fulfilling customer requirements
  • Achieves results that will support his career progression more so than strengthen his partnerships with customers
  • Can be impersonal or detached in his approach to the sales process, minimizing the opportunity to build a customer alliance


Gathers essential information to determine the benefits customers need in order to be sold; is willing to adjust sales approach to fit different buyer motivations; influences or persuades others by determining how the other individual can benefit, and then communicates those advantages


  • Will work to acquire the information needed to determine what benefits will motivate prospects to buy
  • Able to use knowledge gleaned about prospect needs to vary sales approach according to different buyer motivations
  • LOWS
  • May not be committed to researching what benefits the prospect needs in order to be sold
  • Might not recognize that prospects have different buying motivations and may sell the same way to all people


Derives genuine satisfaction from giving advice, encouragement, and support to others; takes pride in nurturing and developing others; seeks opportunities to share his expertise and experience in a mentoring role; is willing to address basic or rudimentary issues necessary to bring a novice up to speed; takes responsibility for motivating others to learn and grow


  • Serves as a mentor and personal coach to those needing individual guidance
  • Derives satisfaction from giving encouragement and support to others
  • Volunteers advice or assistance to help others achieve job and career success
  • Adjusts his coaching to accommodate novices as well as more experienced individuals
  • Takes pride in being a role model


  • Loses patience with individuals lacking the motivation or enthusiasm to learn what is being taught
  • Prefers to offer his expertise to those who have mastered the basics and are actively seeking advanced learning
  • Waits for his advice and support to be requested by individuals interested in learning from him
  • Does not want to appear invasive by offering his help without invitation
  • Resists being obligated to function in an advisory capacity


Understands the critical role joint calls play in the ongoing development of salespeople; commits to using joint sales calls as opportunities to share expertise; demonstrates effective techniques; observes progress and judges the effectiveness of assigned salespeople; is dedicated to providing backup and expertise to help salespeople secure a close; accepts a supporting role in the sales process and sets level of involvement in accordance with what the primary salesperson needs


  • Regularly observes assigned salespeople in action to offer suggestions for skill development
  • Is willing to step out of the limelight and function in a supporting role
  • Responds to sales opportunities with minimal preparation; able to ‘think on his feet’ when circumstances change and share his rationale with the primary salesperson
  • Adjusts coaching or assistance to accommodate the unpredictable aspects of each customer contact
  • Keeps the focus of his training and support on getting the order, relegating his own administrative or procedural tasks to a lower priority


  • Can be tempted to take the sale out of the salesperson’s hands (show him how it’s done) rather than stand back and function as a final safety net (let him learn from his mistakes)
  • Needs too much information or preparation time to take the initiative in quickly evolving opportunities
  • May focus on tracking administrative or procedural issues at the expense of joining the salesperson on actual calls

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