How SalesLoft’s Head of Sales Builds Great Leaders

This post is based off a podcast with Derek Grant of SalesLoft. If you’d like to read the summary, you’re on the right page. If you’d like to listen to the full episode, you can check it out here and below!

If you head over to Amazon, or take a stroll through the business book section of your local bookstore, chances are you’ll find no shortage of books about things like “building your brand” or “how to make a name for yourself.” 

Nowhere does this seem to be more true than in the sales world. It seems like everybody wants to make a name for themselves, and there no shortage of people with advice on how to do just that.

Thankfully, this is where Derek Grant is different. Derek is the VP of Commercial Sales at SalesLoft. He’s passionate about leadership, legacy, and investing in the people around you. He was kind enough to spend some time talking with us recently about building leaders, and why leaving a legacy is the most important thing to him.

Leave a Legacy

As was mentioned before, Derek doesn’t seem to be terribly concerned about making a name for himself. In fact, very few times during the interview did Derek ever talk about himself. Most all of what Derek talked about was other people.

What’s important to Derek is leaving a legacy.

At the end of our days, most people are not going to remember us for our job title, or the deals we closed, or the numbers we put on the board.

People are going to remember us based on the impact that we had on the people around us. The stories told about you will be ones of your character, not your accomplishments.

Obviously, Derek is a VP of sales, so closing deals and landing accounts are incredibly important to him. But what he really cares about are leading and helping the people under his wing. The people entrusted to him. He wants to help them become the very best people that they can be.

Learn to Let Go

In his career, Derek has done it all.

From leading a team at a small startup, to that startup getting acquired by Salesforce, you could say a rather large company, Derek is very in tune with the challenges in moving from a small company to a large one.

One of those challenges is that all too often, people continue to operate like a small business leader, even though they are no longer in a small business.

Derek shared that one of the pain points in this transition was that there were a number of things that he wanted to keep control of that should’ve been deferred to experts.

Because at a startup, you have to wear all the hats. You have to be the jack of all trades.

But at a large company, particularly one as large as SalesForce, you really get a chance to lean on the experts. Lean on the people around you and learn to let go, if you love the thing you’re letting go of.

Player vs. Coach

Given the desire to leave a legacy, and the high level of involvement that Derek likes to have with his team, balancing time between being a player and being a coach became crucial.

The most important learning moment for Derek came from a place that one might not expect.

He got quickly surpassed as the number 1 sales rep.

At one point, he was at the top of the leaderboard. Number 1. King of the hill. Then a new rep came on board, and it became quickly evident that dramatically more skilled.

Derek understood his limitations and knew his strengths, and as a result of that, is very comfortable in his lane walking the line between player and coach.

At the end of your career, what better use of your time can you think of than for someone to say that you spent your time building up those around you, making your team better, and genuinely trying to help people grow into the people that they wanted to become?

Derek is an example that there truly is no better legacy to leave than a legacy of people. He’s dedicated his career to bettering the lives and skillsets of those around him.

If you want to hear more from our conversation with Derek, check out the full interview on the #FlipMyFunnel Podcast.