Chapter 15 Drive Growth from the Very Top

Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.

—Albert Einstein

In this book, we have shared real-life experiences of more than 120 sales executives about how their companies drive sales growth. In the previous chapters, we have distilled these into fourteen big ideas that we believe sales organizations should use today to raise their growth trajectories.

All these ideas would come to nothing without the courage, drive, imagination, and dedication of the sales executives themselves. During the course of researching this book, we learned a great deal about sales leadership—how each of these 120 men and women set a vision, inspired action, transformed organizations, and propelled growth in their companies.

This chapter is dedicated to them. We explore the role of the senior sales leader in driving growth. Strong leadership is a prerequisite for success. A 2010 survey shows that transformations of all kinds are more than 2.5 times as likely to succeed if they have strong leadership commitment. The executives we interviewed acknowledged that what they do—how they set the tone, show the vision, and motivate—is essential in driving growth. They know that sales growth starts at the top, and do four things to deliver it:

  1. Challenge the status quo. Great sales leaders seek opportunities to do business differently—anticipating and pre-empting customer pain points, and relentlessly pursuing a better sales ...

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