You’ve risen to prominence from a successful career in field sales or hiring and have exceeded your quotas and KPIs.

So, what now? 

As the new head honcho in town, you need to lead, build, strategise and drive growth. Instead of doing the day-to-day sales legwork, you’ll now be looking to sell your ideas to superiors, stakeholders and subordinates. All eyes will be on you, especially during your first 12 months in role. 

There will be plenty of new challenges to tackle along the way, so we’ve compiled a list of the biggest blind spots new-to-role sales leaders often overlook. 

Didn’t see that coming, did you? 

Blind Spot #1 – Not prioritising pipeline

Many new-in-role sales leaders focus on the business’ future as a whole. It’s understandable, you’re excited about the plans you have and want to implement them long-term. 

However, not prioritising existing pipeline is perhaps the most problematic blind spot of all. 

Focusing on your most pressing short-term issues needs to be your priority. Why? 

  • It will allow you to achieve small, attainable goals quickly. 
  • The sooner you start filling your pipeline, the more impressed you superiors will be as they can visualise the changes you are putting into place within the company. 

Blind Spot #2 – Too philosophical on team structure

Whether you’d prefer to insource or outsource your sales team to build pipeline quickly, both approaches have their benefits and drawbacks. 

Building your own team from the ground up can be more cost-effective in the long-term, but if you don’t already have the talent then this process can be resource-intensive early on. 

Outsourcing in the early stages of your leadership can relieve some of those pressures, especially when looking to bridge the gap between your existing sales and marketing teams, drive net-new lead generation and improve lead qualification. 

If you’re unsure which method is right for you, why not consider a co-sourcing solution, where you combine both strategies to maximise short and long-term commercial outcomes? 

Ask yourself: 

  • How can you balance short and long-term priorities as a sales leader effectively? 
  • What is the ideal team structure for fueling short-term sales pipeline? 
  • What is the most effective structure for achieving your long-term goals? 

Blind Spot #3 – Big guns with no ammunition

Is it time to scrap the ‘little black book’ of business contacts? 

Hiring experienced ‘big hitters’ who have performed well in previous roles might seem to make the most sense on paper. You get quick results, whilst simultaneously buying yourself time to implement new strategies that will set you up for success in your new role.  

In reality, what often happens is these new super-salespeople become frustrated due to a lack of qualified leads within the pipeline, especially when they are forced to prospect new clients themselves. This can be a recipe for disaster. 

“Why?” we hear you ask. 

Well, 9 times out of 10, experienced salespeople who don’t generate results quickly come under fire for their (lack of) sales figures. This often leads to frustration, causing them to leave your team prematurely in search of a new company that will provide them with proper lead generation support. You’re then left needing to start all over again; having wasted a monumental amount of time, energy and resources. 

It’s often more pragmatic to build pipeline initially, so your experienced high-flyers have sufficient ammunition. Your major focus should be for people to spend time where they can be most effective. 

Ready to stamp your mark?

New-in-role sales leaders are expected to hit the ground running, make significant impacts in the short term and have all of the answers for the long term – sometimes it can feel like trying to do two things with one hand tied behind your back. 

At durhamlane, we work with highly ambitious, often entrepreneurial sales leaders. Or, as we like to call them, Agents of Change.  

Read the full ‘6 Blind Spots’ eBook to overcome more sales leadership challenges.


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We’re always open to hearing from ambitious organisations that are looking to scale but are unsure how. Get in touch to see how we can help overcome your sales challenges.