7 Insights from Top Sales Leaders

How do you create a high performing sales culture with communication, accountability, clear vision, competition, and agility?  Take advice from eight outstanding sales leaders.

Eric Hay, Director, Field Engineering

Use sales-call role-playing as a method of training before setting the sales person loose so that there is no possible negative impact on an actual deal.







Tom Zohar, Solutions Architect, Logz.io 

Training should be about the WHY behind the WHAT. It’s easier for a sales person to do the right thing if they have a meaningful example to drive the point home.






Brian Kendig 

“In my experience adoption rates and successful outcomes of new skills are substantially higher (and faster!) when sales reps buy into the why.  Leaders must communicate clearly, earn their team’s motivation, and follow up with focus and consistency.”





Toan Do, SLED Central, VMware

“To effect change in culture, you have to change the storytellers.  That means instead of praising the top sales person each month/quarter/year, start to praise others that are grinding.

Do this because if you continue to praise the same people, the lower rung folks will start to believe 2 things that will absolutely be toxic for your organization:

  1. I have no shot at ever winning so why even try or
  2. I must do everything (including questionable things) to get there.”




Michael Blair

“One thing I do at the start of the year is ask each AM to set a personal goal with a personal why.  The why must have deep emotional significance.

Then, when we embark on any difficult task, I remind them this isn’t something “I am asking them to do”, this is me coaching them to help obtain their own personal goals.  The personal, emotional “why” is their anchor to push through mediocrity in the pursuit of becoming great.  If you can’t tie a new initiative to accomplishing the personal goal, maybe you need to ask if it is worth pursuing as a leader?”





Anders Blom, Senior Manager, Business Development at Synopsys

“When bringing a new solution to a prospect customer, it is prudent to be aware that even if you are offering a superior product, the users have most likely invested a lot of time into making their existing solution work as effectively as possible – for better or for worse. Thus, even if your product should make them more productive in the long run, it is invariably going to be harder for them to use at first, just because it’s new. This is important to realize and address, in order to avoid hesitation and pushback down the line.”






Damian Saunders, VP of Sales EMEA at Logz.io

“Assuming you’ve hired well, all of your sales people will want to do the right thing. Trouble starts when they are confused about what the right thing is”.







Shawn Landrigan, Global Account Director, Pure Storage, Inc.

Sales leaders are still sales people, and can easily fall back into their own comfortable habits. Sales leaders also need to follow incremental steps to change their leadership methods as they are asking their sales team to make changes.

Xenophon, Greek historian and acclaimed military commander, Cyropaedia, c. 360 BC

“The leader must himself believe that willing obedience always beats forced obedience, and that he can get his only by knowing what should be done. Then he can secure obedience from his men because he can convince them that he knows best.”