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12 Apr


Senior Associate Consultant

Building a world-class sales team requires great people who are not only great at sales, but are empathetic teammates and good leaders.

Image credit: Shutterstock


What can Bill Gates, Michael Jordan and NASA’s mission to mars teach business leaders about building a great sales team?  More than you might think, and it starts with the notion that good teams need more than individual talent.

Bill Gates once said, “Teams should be able to act with the same unity of purpose and focus as a well-motivated individual.” This philosophy propelled Microsoft to become one of the most successful companies in history and Gates to become one of the richest men in the world.

The quote is so profound that it even applies in outer space. NASA, in preparation for a mission to Mars, has commissioned Suzanne Bell, a DePaul University professor to study team composition for long-distance space exploration. Bell is analyzing factors such as personality, age, skills and background to help predict the success of a team.

As Bell put it: “We assume that astronauts are intelligent, that they’re experts in their technical areas, and that they have at least some teamwork skills. What’s tricky is how well individuals combine.”

When looking to build a high-performing sales team, the same unifying principles apply.  In its tenth annual study -- How to Make Your Number in 2017 -- Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) stated: “If 20 percent of the sales team produces 80 percent of the revenue, something is wrong.”

As the CEO of a  sales recruiting company, I could not agree more with this assertion. Hiring “A-Players” who consistently exceed quota to replace average and below average sellers is the most effective way to achieve aggressive revenue targets.

Part of being an “A-player,, however, is also being a good human being.  The world’s highest-performing sales forces are comprised of people who not only achieve their sales goals and drive profitable revenue, but are good people, leaders and teammates.

So, before getting your own sales candidate to sign on the dotted line, make sure they possess these three qualities:

1. They play nice with other "A-players."

Many people believe that a team with too many all-stars will fail because of egos. However, the Harvard Business Review wrote a great article to the contrary, citing numerous business examples going back decades. One example cited was how in 1990, Boeing handled an important gap in its offerings: It had no airplane positioned between its Jumbo 747 and its Midsize 767 models.

For the first time in its history, the company decided to assemble a team of all alpha dogs -- its best engineers -- and the company got the Boeing 777 to market faster than...Read more at:


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