Many sales organizations have a leaderboard. They rank their salespeople by revenue, new accounts, profit, or some combination thereof. Sometimes the idea is to acknowledge the leaders, and sometimes the idea is to shame some salespeople into improving their performance.

But a deeper look at the leaders is often revealing. Sometimes the leaders aren’t really the best salespeople.


The leader may be the at the top of the stack because he has been given accounts. He may not have had to do the tough work of opening the relationship, establishing that relationship, or creating new opportunities. He is really just doing a really good job managing the accounts he inherited.

Growing accounts that you are given is important, but it doesn’t necessarily make you the sales leader.

Better Help

No salespeople should be ashamed of needing help to win a deal. If they need their sales manager, Vice President of Sales, or CEO’s help to win a deal, it doesn’t discount the work that they did to position the opportunity.

But some salespeople have better help. They have a sales manager who is deeply engaged in coaching, developing, and helping them create and win new opportunities. They have more–and better–help.

The reason some salespeople who are lower in the rankings are lower is because they aren’t receiving the help they need.


Time is a critical factor, especially in a complex sale when the process takes time. Newer salespeople are ranked towards the bottom only because they haven’t yet had enough time to develop the relationships or the opportunities.

The fact that someone is lower on the ranking isn’t always an indication that can’t sell, won’t sell, or aren’t succeeding.

One Big Deal

Sometimes the leader on the sales board is the beneficiary of one really big deal. There is nothing wrong with winning a really big deal, unless that’s all you do. The revenue and profit numbers matter, but there are other numbers that are also important–like their future pipeline.

Holding up the leader with one big deal can be confusing. It can make other salespeople believe that “one really big deal” is a viable strategy to pursue when it isn’t.

The number four salesperson with really good numbers and an excellent pipeline might be the real “leader,” and that fact will increasingly become known over time.


Is the leader on the leaderboard always the best and most effective salesperson?

Sales 2014
Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 2, 2014
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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