Sales Leadership: the dynamic management of paradoxes

3rd September 2016 |   Dr Javier Marcos

Leading modern sales forces requires us to develop synergies between paradoxes that may initially appear irreconcilable.

I’m aboard the “Baie de Seine”, the ferry that covers the route Portsmouth–Bilbao. I am sitting at the back of the vessel watching the foamy trace it leaves on the sea and the seagulls that escort the ship, relentlessly defying the winds. It’s a beautiful sunny day, we are enjoying a mild sea and I’m about to start my holidays after having closed our financial year a couple of weeks ago.

I reflect on what the year has brought about… and the meaningful lessons learned. A vivid thought that comes to mind is the dynamic shifting I’ve experienced across the dimensions of my role as head of sales of customised executive education programmes at Cambridge Judge Business School.

As with many sales leaders, I have found myself constantly moving backwards and forwards between focusing on the top line (ie, revenue) and the bottom line (ie, profit). The achievement of these two overarching objectives often requires distinct mind-sets, a “growth” one in the first case, and an “efficiency” one in the second case.

Director of Learning for Performance Ltd | + posts

Dr Javier Marcos is the Director of Learning for Performance Ltd, a boutique sales training and consultancy practice and the Research and Executive Development Lead at the Association of Professional Sales. He holds visiting fellow positions at Cranfield School of Management and the University of Cambridge IfM.