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Selling effectively in business-to-business sales requires that you possess leadership skills. Much of the results you help your clients to produce will come through leading a team of people, people from your company and from your client’s company.

As a salesperson, you are called upon to also be a leader. You are a strategic orchestrator, making sure that everyone is working together to make the outcomes you promised a reality.

No one makes you a leader. You become a leader by leading.

You Lead By Taking Ownership for Outcomes

There are dozens and dozens of attributes that great leaders possess. And there are as many opinions on what makes a great leader as there are great leaders.

But one thing that makes a leader a leader is taking ownership and responsibility for outcomes.

As a salesperson, you have to take ownership for the outcomes that you have sold and promised. This means you sometimes have to lead members of your client’s team, and you also have to manage members of your team (which is sometimes more difficult than managing your client’s team).

Your role is to make sure all of your efforts are aligned and that everyone is playing their part. You have to remind people of the vision. You have to remind them how important their role in the mission is, and you have to serve those you lead by solving problems and making certain they have what they need to get things done.

Leadership means that while you may not be responsible for actually completing the tasks or transactions, you are responsible for ensuring the result is achieved.

You take ownership of the outcome; no one gives you ownership.

No One Will Fight You For Ownership

One of the most interesting things about leading is that once you decide to take a leadership role and own a difficult outcome, no one will stand in your way. No one. In fact, a lot of people will take one giant step backwards so as not to have to lead.

This is especially true the more difficult the outcome is to achieve. The more difficult the task, the less likely anyone is going to argue with you taking the leadership role. This is equally true when there is a lot at stake and the results are going to be visible. No one wants to be captain when there is risk of the ship sinking . . . but someone has to guide the ship through the storm.

If you would sell effectively, you must lead effectively. Don’t believe that it isn’t your job or that someone will make you a leader. Step up. Own the outcome. Lead.


Why does selling major B2B accounts require that a salesperson be a leader?

How do you lead when you lack the organizational chart authority? Is moral authority more valuable and effective than organizational chart authority?

Who makes you a leader?

What makes you a leader?

Why do so few resist someone else stepping up and taking a leadership role? Why do so many avoid leadership when the outcomes are going to be difficult to obtain and visible?

Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 10, 2011

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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