The Best Sales Leaders Use This To Encourage Proactivity In Their Sales Team

If you’re a team leader, manager or director of sales people, or if you’re aspiring to be promoted to one of these roles then this article will be important to you.


As you can imagine we at Sales Icon Coaching see a cross section of different businesses all of whom have a different sales approach, desire, dynamic, strengths and weaknesses etc. Now irrespective of whom we work with, there is always a single goal of the sales leader for their team. Typically, the goal that is often prioritised as a business’s number one or number two goal is to make their sales team…




Sales leaders yearn for salespeople whom both produce results but are also highly proactive.

Why Is This?

Well the truth of the matter maybe hard for some sales people to hear, that truth is that the sales world has an overabundance of what we would call account manager. The type of sales people who look after accounts and take orders, what we would call reactive sales. When a customer calls or emails them to ask for a price on X product or service and then buys it. Don’t get this misinterpreted, account management is valuable, incredibly valuable, and when it’s done well it can lead to significantly more sales for the business.


The fact remains though that there are countless account managers out there, often sales teams a littered with account managers. What’s lacking are hunter sales people, those whom are more proactive.


Businesses who have too many account managers will often see slow or plateaued growth. Those businesses whom are flourishing year on year are those whom have a great set of hunter sales people.


The reason why sales leaders yearn for proactive sales people whom also produce results is twofold:

  1. Proactive sales people drive growth as they close more new business sales
  2. Their proactivity has a snowball effect on others, what we call positive deindividuation (more on this later)


The question we are often asked from sales leaders is

  • “how do I create an environment where I encourage my sales people to be proactive hunters as opposed to reactive account managers?”


Well it’s all down to your leadership and culture.


What Can Sales Leaders Do?

So what can a sales leader do? How can they create a culture that promotes proactivity? Well the answer is to make life easier for those whom are proactive and harder for those whom are reactive.


But how do we do this?


Well bear in mind that most sales people are competitive, driven by money or just the thrill of attaining sales. In addition to this human nature will in most cases cause an individual to take the path of least resistance, the quickest way to success is naturally what we’ll look for.


So we want to instil is a scheme which

  • Promotes proactivity
  • Makes life easy for those whom are proactive


A great way to create such a scheme is through your lead generation and assignment of your leads.


Use Your Lead Generation

We recommend one simple step and it’s entirely to do with your lead generation and assignment of leads to sales people.


Now what most businesses do is assign leads to sales people using two approaches

  1. Top Performers Lead Assignment
  2. Milk Round Lead Assignment


Top Performers Lead Assignment

Now the intentions of sales leaders are admirable. Their view is that they want to give an opportunity the best chances of success and what better way to do this than to assign it to the person with the best ability to close the opportunity. Sounds great right?! Well it’s not so great! If you do this you’ll condone lazy behaviour, where top performers can be reactive and just wait to be assigned the biggest and best leads without any proactivity from their side.


Milk Round Lead Assignment

This is by far the worst approach which so many sales leaders follow. For some reason many sales organisations have become too nice, maybe they’re trying to be democratic and overly Politically Correct, they take the approach of giving leads one by one to each sales person. Aimlessly without any thought of whom is right for the opportunity or whom deserves the lead. This means that great opportunities are lost as the sales person assigned the lead doesn’t have the ability to win the business. A true recipe for disaster!


What We Encourage?

We categorically recommend that you distribute and assign leads based on a meritocracy/activity equilibrium:


So what does that mean?


Well the meritocracy means to conduct things on merit. So if I was solely assigning leads on a meritocracy basis I would take the top performer approach, giving leads to the sales people in the best position whom have the ample abilities to close that opportunity.


The activity part is just as it sounds. If I gave leads based on activity only then the sales people whom were the most proactive i.e. making the most cold calls or hunter activities would receive the most leads. 


So the meritocracy/activity equilibrium is a mixture of the two. We encourage that you feed leads to the sales people whom:

  • Are most suited on merit and are the most proactive


Vocalise it too!


Make sure everyone knows why a certain person gets a leads and how it’s based on these two factors. Then it will encourage the rest of the team to:

  1. Be more proactive
  2. Improve their sales acumen  in a bid to be assigned leads on merit of their sales ability


Why Instil This Culture?

It’s all about the sales environment. We want to create an environment where nepotism is eradicated, a culture that promotes the correct behaviour at the same time as achieving the sales success that the business needs.


When we create an environment where our top performers are proactive, it filters down the sales pyramid of A, B and C level performers. Success breed success, the proactivity of those top performers, let’s call them the A class, encourages those B or C class sales people to follow suit. We describe this as the positive deindividuation effect. For more on this do see our previous article:


Please do let us know how this technique works for you, we’d love to hear about it.


Do look out for our future posts around cold calling techniques, games and incentives.


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