“How important is leadership in sales?”
We all are gripped by this question every now and then.
There’s a ton of advice out there saying something like - “It depends on the company.”
Well, that’s… not very helpful, is it?
But one thing is obvious, when you hear people saying this, you’ll probably start thinking that only huge companies need leaders.
But let me dispel this myth for once and all. Leadership doesn’t and shouldn’t be based on the company or brand - it depends on YOU and the team!
People tend to overlook the impact an effective leader can have on sales. What they fail to see is that both small sales teams and sales leadership go hand in hand. In fact, if you think of it, an effective leader is more imperative for smaller companies to align goals and give the team a push in the right direction.
Now that we know that a company, despite its size, needs an effective leader, we’ll learn how to be an effective sales leader who drives sales success.
1. Provide Feedback
An effective sales leader is a permanent fixture for the team to seek feedback, which results in exponential growth.
The thing is, it’s easy to tell someone what they’re doing wrong but it’s difficult to give constructive feedback. A team leader needs to be the go-to person for the team and give unbiased feedback in a constructive manner. It is crucial that they can give feedback that will improve future performance.
Your team should see you as both a sales leader and sales enabler.
2. Focus On Your Sales Reps
Let’s face it- without an effective leader at the helm of a project, it’s difficult for your reps to stay motivated and see their goals clearly.
This is how a leader should focus on their team to make sure that the sales targets are not only met, but exceeded:
- Set milestones for your team. Setting milestones will clarify the direction that your team is headed and helps them set concrete and attainable goals in the short-term. An effective sales leader should set milestones that will focus their team and work with each sales rep to achieve their goals.
- Make sure executives and sales reps’ objectives are aligned. The whole organization should be aligned on what their goals are for the short-term and the long-term. When the benefit of the goal is understood in the organization, everyone’s work will complement each other.
- Make sure that your team has the proper incentives and resources to attain their goals and quota.
3. Mark Progress, Not Just Results
While other sales leaders might be hell-bent on reaching the targets and generating results, it’s up to the sales leader to track of the progress.
While most of your reps will focus on end-goal metrics (like revenue generated from new deals), it’s also important as a sales leader to keep track of metrics that show progress. What are indicators of progress? These metrics might be how many sales calls got through, how many meetings were booked, etc.
This analysis creates a balance between the lagging indicators and the progressive indicators. Knowing every side of the story is vital to the success of a business.
4. Nurture Talent
Every sales rep has great potential to sell, consult and acquire customers. It takes the right sales leader to nurture and cultivate talent within their organization.
How can you become the sort of leader who brings out the best in his/her employees?
- Connecting: Helping your team “connect the dots” is one responsibility that a leader takes on. This means understanding your reps’ strengths, area of improvements, and thinking processes.
- Challenging: You should frequently encourage and challenge your team to improve and achieve more by setting attainable goals.
- Creativity: Selling is not just about making a cold-call or finding leads on Google, LinkedIn or social media. It takes a lot of creativity to strategize the whole process. It’s the sales leader who works at instilling this creativity in the team.
- Coaching and Training: If you really want to excel as a sales leader then you must take on the role of a trainer. You’ll need to understand where each rep is succeeding and where they can grow to be a stellar sales person.
5. Time Management
We talked about how a sales leader takes on the job of a reviewer, a motivator, trainer, nurturer and so on. But we missed this one important characteristic of the sales leader, actually - we saved the best for last, time management.
Has your team ever felt that they had too much to do but not enough time? Well, this is where you, as the sales leader can shine the brightest.
Create a strategy: pre-planning the whole sales process and distributing sales roles against a deadline is difficult. The sales leader takes on the task of not only managing time but also increasing time efficiency.
Too long; Didn’t Read?
Well, no worries - here are some takeaways for you.
How do you become an effective sales leader?
- If you really want to become an effective sales leader, mark sure that you give unbiased feedback to the team to ensure that the work keeps going on in the right direction.
- Align the focus between your team and the executive team so that everyone can enjoy a mutually beneficial work relationship.
- While everyone else will see the sales through myopic view of “results”, you, as the sales leader should keep track of metrics that indicate progress.
- Nurturing, challenging, and training your team are critical tasks that you take on. Make sure your team stays connected with their goals, each other and other departments.
- Make time management a priority. It’s up to you as the sales leader to maximize time efficiency so that your team’s goals are achieved in a realistic time frame.
Having an effective sales leader is essential to driving sales and is key to driving your company’s success. Follow these tips to make sure your team is happy and productive.
Learn how top sales leaders are enabling their team with the #1 route planner for field sales:
About the Author: Deepti Jain is a Content Writer at AeroLeads.