The blog is proud to present Jonathan Farrington as a guest blogger on  Jonathan is a globally recognised business coach, mentor, author and consultant, and founder of Top Sales Associates, and blogs regularly at

What Makes a Successful Sales Team?

I am often asked just what it is that makes a highly successful and effective sales team – what differentiates them from an average one?

Actually, the answer is simpler than you might imagine – all roads lead back to the leader!


The role of a sales leader is to translate the organization’s vision, mission and values into a meaningful context that sales teams can relate to and feel excited by. If this is achieved then the sales leader will have created a sales team with a shared mental model. This transforms an ordinary sales team into a high performing one.

For clarity, here is a brief description of the following terms:
An organization’s vision is a guiding image of success formed in terms of a huge goal. It is a description in words that conjures up a picture of the organization’s destination. A compelling vision will stretch expectations, aspirations, and performance. Without that powerful, attractive, valuable vision, why bother?

Create a Clear Mission Statement

A mission statement communicates the essence of an organization to its stakeholders and customers, and failure to clearly state and communicate an organization’s mission can have harmful consequences around its purpose.

As Lewis Caroll, through the words of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

State Your Principles So that Everyone Can Understand

Guiding principles are the consequence of a mission statement that are intended to inform or shape all subsequent decision-making, which also provides normative criteria allowing policy-makers to accept, reject or modify policy interventions and activities. They are a guiding set of ideas that are articulated, understood and supported by the organization’s workforce.

What Are Your Organization’s Values?

Values are beliefs which the organization’s workforce hold in common and endeavor to put into practice. The values guide their performance and the decisions that are taken. Ideally, an individual’s personal values will align with the spoken and unspoken values of the organization. By developing a written statement of the values of the organization, individuals have a chance to contribute to the articulation of these values, as well as to evaluate how well their personal values and motivation match those of the organization.

The “Human Capital Development Model,” created by Krauthammer International, is a logical process that can take top management concepts, and translate them into a context that has real meaning for staff at all levels.

Answer These Questions:

The key to bringing this model to life is to answer the following questions:

  • Do my team understand the organization’s vision and how their role moves the organization closer to achieving it?
  • How can my sales team translate the organization’s mission into one that is relevant to them?
  • How does the organization’s guiding principles impact on the day-to-day responsibilities of sales people?
  • Which of the organization’s values does my sales team relate to?
  • How can we interpret these values so they become compelling for each sales person?

An effective sales team understands the big picture and the context of their team’s work to the greatest degree possible. That includes understanding the relevance of their job and how it impacts the effectiveness of others and the overall team effort.

Too often, sales people are asked to work on an activity without being told how their role contributes to organization’s vision, much less how their efforts are impacting the ability of others to do their work. Understanding the organization’s vision promotes collaboration, increases commitment and improves quality.

An effective team works collaboratively and with a keen awareness of interdependency.

Collaboration and a solid sense of interdependency in a team will defuse blaming behavior and stimulate opportunities for learning and improvement.

Without this sense of interdependency in responsibility and reward, blaming behaviors can occur which will quickly erode team effectiveness and morale.

But I go back to the core message of this article – all roads lead back to the leader, and this is a very worrying factor, because right now around 80% of sales managers are not qualified to fulfil that role capably. Is it any wonder that 50% of salespeople missed quota in 2012?


Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author and sales thought leader. He is the Senior Partner of Jonathan Farrington & Associates, and CEO of Top Sales World, based in London & Paris.

Jonathan is also the man behind the Annual Top Sales Awards and his highly popular, and award winning daily blog for dedicated business professionals, which attracts thousands of visitors every day, can be found at