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What Makes a Great Sales Leader?

3 minute read

Earlier this week, Engage Sales hosted a podcast between Wolters Kluwer’s Head of Sales, Phil Hobden, and our 2022 Sales Engagement Summit host, Raoul Monks. Together, the two discussed the difference between compliance and commitment, the concept of failing fast, and the qualities that make a great sales leader. In other words, they delved deeper into the topics which Phil addressed in his presentation at our 2022 event.



Sharing a little about his presentation, Phil recounted how he had asked the audience to stand up, turn around, and put their hands on their head. To his surprise, everyone in the room did exactly what they were asked to do. The reason why everyone followed Phil’s instructions is simple: compliance.

“Good sales leaders should have commitment, not compliance. It’s about getting people to do stuff because they see the value in it, rather than because you’re their sales leader and they think they should do it,” Phil explained.



Titled ‘Failing Fast and Other Lessons from a Life in Sales’, Phil’s presentation underlined the importance of failing. According to him, businesspeople and sales leaders are generally taught that they should avoid failure at all costs. In turn, many organisations shy away from trying new things and launching new products.

In contrast with this, Phil advises businesses to build a fail-fast culture, which subsequently encourages employees to try new things. More importantly, it eliminates the creation of a blame culture, whereby colleagues hesitate to propose new ideas in case they fail.

Agreeing with this, Raoul explained that it fosters a culture where “you either win or you learn”.



Before concluding the podcast, Phil left the audience with two key messages.

The first message pointed to the importance of the little things and how they can make a big difference. Giving an example, Phil shared how he sends UberEATS vouchers to employees once a month when the team has a remote digital lunch. During this lunch, colleagues can talk about anything except work and get to know each other on a more personal level.

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned at Wolters Kluwer is that you shouldn’t take your time for granted; we have a limited time at work, and we have a limited time in life in general. And yes, you absolutely have to spend that time doing what your role is, but it’s so important to step back and work out where you want to be,” Phil shared.

Expanding on this, he noted that great sales leaders should understand what motivates their team members, learn where they want to go, and help them get there.

To find out more about Phil and Raoul’s discussion, listen to their podcast here  > 


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