What Executives Look for in Senior Inside SalesĀ Leaders

Author: Bob Perkins, AA-ISP
Posted: February 12th, 2014

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The AA-ISP Frontline Conference last week in San Francisco was a BLAST!  Many of the attendees commented that they felt like it was a family reunion.  There was a real thirst for knowledge.  One of the trends I shared with the group was around the fact that we are facing a severe shortage of senior leadership candidates.  As Inside Sales organizations grow each year, so does the need for Senior Director, VP and SVP leaders. As I ended my comments in the general session I gazed out into the room hoping that some of the attendees would be capable of being promoted to be tomorrow’s future senior leaders.

Here is a brief list of what is needed in Inside Sales senior leadership.  These attributes were drawn upon from the comments and feedback of several executive level leaders of large global sales forces including both Inside and Outside Sales.

  • Alignment w/ their own Values – Executives are looking for VP level inside sales leaders whose values align with their own.
  • Solid Performance Record & Experience – Senior leaders of inside sales need to have demonstrated a solid track record of delivering outstanding revenue results for the teams they have managed. They need to have experience and command of a long list of areas including comp design, sales model design,  executive communication skills, coaching and mentoring, just to name a few.
  • Work Ethic / Responsiveness – Today’s top execs expect that the leaders below them will have a strong work ethic and very fast response rates.
  • Passion – Your passion for leading inside sale people is key to advancing your career… and it will either show or not in your overall demeanor.
  • Coach & Development Mindset – The top challenge facing leaders today as revealed in an extensive AA_ISP Research Study in 2013 was training and development.  This area you should know well.
  • Executive Presence – You need to have succinct and powerful communication skills as you will often interact with other senior level leaders.  Executives prefer short and sweet communication and presentations.  Be able to design and show one page executive summary’s vs a myriad of dashboards and spreadsheets for example.
  • Respected by Subordinates & Peers – Its very simple… to advance to the next level, you will need the respect of those around you.
  • Tactical & Strategic Balance – Inside Sales by its nature is very tactical.  The advanced leader will be able to offer both tactical and strategic advice.

Let’s all take the steps necessary in our leadership development to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities!




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