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Top Attributes of Sales Leaders

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If you’re a regular reader of my content, then you know I’m all about sales leadership. In my constant pursuit of knowledge, both for self-improvement, and for improvement of the sales leaders on my team, I’m always trying to pay attention to the State of The Art in sales. Sometimes this is more anecdotal information, but sometimes truly quantitative information becomes available.

Steve Martin (not that Steve Martin, Steve W. Martin, who teaches sales strategy at the USC Marshall School of Business) wrote a blog post for Harvard Business Review, last September. In it, he outlines the seven attributes of the most effective sales leaders, based on his empirical research. The list he came up with includes

  1. Target fixation
  2. Command instinct
  3. Hiring ability
  4. Sales intuition
  5. Control orientation
  6. Coaching adaptability
  7. Strategic leadership

I’ve written quite a bit about hiring and coaching in the past, but over the next two months, I’m going to take a little time and dive into my thoughts on each of these characteristics — delving a little more deeply than his initial blog post went, and approaching it more from a “what actions can I take to be better” perspective, rather than just outlining the data.

If you want to follow along as I address each of these issues, you can follow me on LinkedIn:


Also, if you’re into the analytic side of sales leadership, I strongly recommend that you follow Steve.

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