Matching Needs to Skills

In baseball, the term 'utility player' refers to someone that can play multiple positions on the field, as opposed to just one. They are rarely an All Star at any one position, but the combination of their skills can make them an All Star or at worse, extremely valuable to their team. Here is the best one in baseball today:

In my experience Sales Leaders tend to not be utility players. Instead, they each seem to excel in one area. If that area fills a gap in the organization, it is often a potent and positive combination. If it's an overlapping skill, the impact can be muted.

I would categorize sales leaders into 4 types:

Relationship Guys- Great with clients. Build long term relationships. Ask for favors and receive when needed. Their greatest asset is their rolodex.

Operational Leaders- Drive the hour-by-hour cadence of activity. Instill discipline into the sales process. Live in the numbers and metrics.

Dealmakers- Consultative sellers, with the ability to turn nothing into something. Rarely focused on a specific product or capability, more focused on the overall solution/relationship/deal. Strong strategically and financially.

Coaches/Sales Managers- They make the individual sellers better. They motivate, coach, and cajole as needed. Their 'help' is actually help, as opposed to just inspection (operational leaders do that).

I think most sales leaders are dominant in one of these categories, with a minor in 1 other. It is very rare to find the sales leader that has all of them (if you do, figure out how to keep them).

Organizations need a sales leader that will fill a gap in capability. Is your business issue around operations (ie undisciplined behavior and focus)?...get an operational leader. Is your issue around motivating your individual sellers?...get a Coach/Sales manager...etc. It also depends on the state of the business. Here is one scenario below, showing which type of sales leader you need, based on 2 variables: product complexity and state of the business:

Matching the need in the organization to the skills of a sales leader will often determine success...that starts with understanding which skills you need.

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