Growing your sales organization is priority one no matter how successful you are individually. At some point, you will want to take it to the next level, and the only way to do that is to build a team capable of getting you there.

When you begin this process, you will find many who are good at selling, but not necessarily good at leading. It’s okay to let them do what they do. But you also need someone to stand out from the rest and take a leadership role, at least if you ever want the business to be sustainable without your direct involvement.

Who will your sales development leader be, and how can you cultivate your existing talent to step into the role? Here are some questions to ask when evaluating.

How adaptable is this person?

Spencer Johnson’s book Who Moved My Cheese? is a classic in the world of business because it provides insight into how one can stay relevant in light of business changes and disruption. Anyone in this profession knows how important adaptability is, but fewer are capable of rolling with the changes.

When looking for your sales development leader, you want someone capable of understanding how changes in the market emerge and affect the bottom line.

Is he or she proactive?

Are the people on your sales team great at taking control of their careers and making change happen without provocation, or do they only work well when backed into a corner?

While the corner dwellers can keep your business growing, they are not going to take the heat off you. Look for team members, who instead of waiting for change to happen, take it upon themselves.

Does this person ‘speak data’?

Insurance sales will only become more dependent on big data in the years ahead. The same can be said for any marketing-based profession, really. You need to know how prospects are accessing your messaging and what they respond best to in order to grow your bottom line.

Any great sales development leader should speak fluent data, or else you’re never going to be able to pull away from the day-to-day operations of your business long enough to focus on long-term growth.

Do they find ‘strategy’ to be a fluid term?

Mike Tyson once said that every fighter has a plan until they get punched in the face. To find an effective sales development leader on your team, you need to see how they respond to those proverbial punches.

Do they look at the word “strategy” as something that is set in stone, or is it a term subject to fluidity? Beyond that, how are they at refining strategies for better results?

While it may seem scary or risky to entrust your potential leaders with decision-making power, it’s the only way to truly understand what they’re capable of from a strategic perspective.

As you start compiling answers to these questions, consider bringing in outside help to evaluate where your team stands. Do so with the intention of not identifying one team leader, but several potential ones.

Build a hierarchy within your organization. This will allow you to observe your strengths and weaknesses, both of which are necessary when it comes to cultivating talent.

Ultimately, you need a litmus test for determining the viability of your team in order to see which talents rise to the top. For that, we leave you with a simple suggestion. For each of your team members, ask yourself what would happen to the business if you decided to take a week-long vacation tomorrow. Would the business still be there when you got back? How worried would you be? Would you spend most of your time checking email, almost certain of impending disaster, or would you feel it was all in good hands?


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