The four roles of a sales leader

Four Selling Roles of a Sales Leader

In Sales Leadership by Jason Cortel

There are four distinct selling roles that a sales leader will play at various times. All of these roles play an important part in the sales process and in coaching and developing your sales executives. Knowing which of these roles to play and at which times it critical in supporting your team and your business development efforts.


You run the call or visit. When playing this role in the business development process, it is important that you demonstrate the behavior that you want your sales executive to model. Be certain that you are following the sales processes that have been established. When acting as the exemplar, your sale executive has you under a microscope and is absorbing the words you are using and your method of delivery. It is important to note that while acting as the exemplar that you avoid shortcuts, otherwise you will end us teaching those shortcuts to the sales executive who is observing you.


As the observer, you follow along with or sit in on a call. This is my favorite and perhaps most difficult. The intent here is to observe only with the plan to coach after the call is over. That is the part that makes this more difficult because there will be times where you will want to jump in and take over. Another thing to keep in mind with the observer role is that, to get an accurate picture of what happens on the calls you will need to sit in on several of them. Typically when someone is watching it is natural for people to be on the best behavior. When you sit in on several calls, they soon relax and that is when you will be able to identify your best coaching opportunities.


In this role you engage in joint selling with the sales executive. This is especially useful early on when someone is new or the prospect is a strategic account your organization is pursing. When you are playing the role of the partner, you must clearly define the responsibilities of each person and outline specific topics that each of you will cover.


The role of the strategist is among the most important in terms of coaching and development. When acting as the strategist you are helping the sales executive to develop their strategic and forward thinking skills. In this role you assist the sales executive with pre-call planning. Here you will help them design the approach, identify the key talking points and work through rebuttals. After the call is over you will then provide post call support. Most of this will be based on how the sales executive felt the call went and the obvious outcome, based on next steps.

It is crucial that as a sales leader you play each of these distinctively different roles well while striving to be exceptional at two of them. Knowing when to act as what role and being intentional in your selection will help you to strengthen your sales team and lead them to success.

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Jason Cortel

Jason Cortel

Call Center Manager
An accomplished sales and marketing operations executive in demand generation, client services and technical support industries. Jason has proven leadership, strategic planning, and problem solving skills. He is recognized for having the ability to develop client-focused organizational cultures resulting in significantly higher customer satisfaction and retention.
Jason CortelFour Selling Roles of a Sales Leader