This article is a recap of my interview with Gabe Larsen of InsideSales.com, which originally appeared on the Playmaker podcast back in February.
Inside sales is an overnight sensation 30 years in the making. Modern inside sales leaders have the ability to combat ambiguity and take smart, decisive action to steer their team to new heights.
Today, I’m pleased to share my interview with InsideSales.com’s VP Growth Gabe Larsen. Gabe and I discussed the essence of great inside sales leadership, how it manifests, and how to summon it in your sales organization. Listen below!
Part I. Advice for Aspiring Sales Leaders
Focus on the ‘what’ instead of the ‘how’. From a day-to-day perspective, you are hiring and working with adults. You are legally allowed to do anything within reason – so don’t be afraid to do whatever it takes to hit your KPIs.
Part II. What is the Essence of Leadership?
Leadership is somebody who does what needs to be done, regardless of title or deed. Titles carry expectations – but it’s possible to transcend those expectations and do whatever is necessary to succeed.
You may have someone on your team that serves as the de facto leader versus the title leader, because he or she is better at resolving issues and answering questions.
Part III. The Importance of Delegation
There’s also the important component of delegation – no one is going to be good at everything. As the leader of a team, it’s important to know your strengths and weaknesses.
If there’s someone on my team who is most effective at messaging, he or she should be properly coached to lead the team on messaging. Don’t let perfection impede the way of progress.
Regarding general best principles, it’s important to focus on the “what” not the “how.” What you have to do doesn’t change. How it gets done can be variable.
Part IV. Are Leaders Born or Developed?
The answer is both. Folks who get promoted to sales leadership roles make it there for a reason. There are certain characteristics they have that make people want to follow them.
You can write a User Manual about you – for yourself and for others, where you call out the best ways to communicate with you, show your strengths and weaknesses, and be vulnerable without expressing fear.
For better or worse, the “Doers” who take decisive action, communicate transparently, and act confidently tend to earn sales leadership positions.
However, that can sometimes backfire at the sales leadership role. You may need a coach who is more of a “Feeler” and has strong empathy and the ability to motivate and lead others.
Part V. The Importance of Culture-Fit
When looking for a role, always emphasize culture-fit. Understand that people are different, and that you need to find the right role with the right team and the right boss.
If you’re being offered a new role, make sure you can “talk the talk” and “walk the walk.” Just because the role would be a promotion does not mean it’s the right role for you at the time.
To help in these scenarios, I recommend having a personal advisory board to give you candid feedback on what you should and should not do.
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