Here’s How to Support Top Sales Talent

It’s not just about hiring the best — managers have to help them grow every step of the way.
Written by Avery Komlofske
December 7, 2021Updated: December 7, 2021

When hiring new salespeople, “proactive” is the key word for Definitive Healthcare Sales Director Laine Lovell.

“I want to hire someone who is not simply responding to everyday sales activities,” she told Built In Boston. For Lovell, that means somebody who comes to their job interview prepared with information on the company and brimming with ambition. If they show up to the hiring process having done their homework, they’re likely to do the same when meeting with clients.

But Lovell knows that it’s not just about finding the right candidate — she has to support the people she already has. In a career with substantial turnover — 27 percent in recent years, according to Harvard Business Review — managers need to understand how to provide a positive work environment and help their employees grow personally and professionally. 

A good manager makes all the difference. Xactly reported in August that 80 percent of reps who leave their jobs cite a lack of connection to management. Conversely, a leader that connects with their team will inspire loyalty and satisfaction with the job. Lovell takes that part of her job seriously.

“My entire job is to support my team, help them find success in their current position and help them develop skills that will further their success beyond this role,” said Lovell. To offer that support, she helps foster that all-important proactivity by aiding in the behind-the-scenes work that goes into preparing for clients, along with being as responsive as she can to questions and feedback from her direct reports.

In her conversation with Built In Boston, Lovell expanded on how she works to improve the sales acumen of her reps through all steps of the process — before, during and after a sale. A good leader is the key to a successful team, and she has plenty of advice to give.



What are the traits, experience, skills or mindsets that define a successful salesperson?

I’m often asked during interviews what I’m looking for in a successful salesperson, and I think there’s a combination of traits, skills and mindsets. First, I want to hire someone who is focused on staying proactive in driving the sales process and not simply responding to everyday sales activities. This takes discipline around time management, willingness to deprioritize non-urgent tasks and the ability to successfully build and execute a sales plan. I look for someone who has energy, a competitive spirit and who has done a bit of homework on our company — which shows me how the candidate prepares for key meetings.


How do you help your reps develop their own sales acumen?

I encourage my team to build relationships with customers as their DHC advocate and consultant. To do this, I support a lot of behind-the-scenes strategy sessions where we brainstorm potential objections and prepare for the most optimal meeting flow. I’m willing to participate in customer calls, and even join customer calls when there’s a specific purpose for me to be there — being mindful not to take the role of salesperson. With each salesperson, we have regular one-on-one sessions where we outline an agenda in advance. This gives us a chance to research the topics we plan to discuss before we dig into the details to build next-step plans.

I work from the spirit of addressing problems, getting answers and moving conversations forward as quickly as possible.”


As a manager of salespeople, what’s a lesson you’ve learned that helps you bring out the best in your direct reports?

I believe it’s incredibly important for my team to know that my entire job is to support them, help them find success in their current role and help them develop skills that will further their success beyond this role. I try very hard to make myself available and accessible when they need assistance. The team knows if they ping me on teams, cell or email, I will respond back as soon as possible. I work from the spirit of addressing problems, getting answers and moving conversations forward as quickly as possible. This shows my team that I am willing to roll up my sleeves to get things done — which is the expectation I have of them in return.


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