For Sales Leaders, the “I” in Win Starts with the “I” in Team


We have all heard the too often used phrase about there being no “I” in team. This expression can apply to any team in any endeavor, from sports to business. This clearly highlights the fact that within all team structures the individual must be subordinate to the team if the team is to be successful in attaining its goals. While this is fundamentally very true, let’s take a little closer look …

Successful team members share the same attributes:

  • They all focus on the same goal;
  • The roles and rules of the team and members are clear; and
  • They are together in spirit.

However, in a sales team environment, realizing these attributes can often be a challenge. Why? Because salespeople tend to be more focused on what’s good for themselves and what they need to achieve. This is especially true of your high performers – now don’t get me wrong, every sales organization needs high performers in order to be successful. However, high performers are focused on their own quota and income, and if they do well and the team does not – it’s just not very impactful or meaningful to them. Also, if a high percentage of your sales are coming from a single high performer, then you are likely too heavily dependent on him or her. Are you beginning to see the issues here?

Sports examples are very illustrative of this. Some teams with star players are very successful in winning championships and consistently succeeding year after year, while other teams with the same level of star power do not.

So, what’s the difference between the two results? Leadership. A good leader fosters trust and respect among the team members. This is a leader who knows how to drive both team and individual accountability and get the most out of everyone.  A good leader directs his/her focus on each team member and their individual goals. It’s really about caring for each team member and helping them achieve success. This type of leader sets the example for the rest of the team.

Now, this is where the “I” in team comes into play. Every individual on the team must understand not just the team’s goal, but what their specific role and responsibility is.

  • The individual, “I,” needs to be accountable to every other team member.
  • “I” must do their part, or the rest of the team will fail.
  • “I” must also be willing to help and support every other member of the team.

Teams succeed because every individual on the team holds themselves and every other member of the team accountable to do their specific part and help anyone on the team who needs it.

Achieving this level of teamwork takes effort, but it can be done with the right sales leader in place. Need help identifying where your sales leadership may be lacking, or do you feel you need to get more out of your sales team but aren’t sure where to start? Take our Sales Agility Assessment, or contact us.