As a seasoned sales leader with over 30 years of experience, I have learned that being a great sales leader is more than just about driving sales numbers. It's about leading a team of individuals to achieve their full potential and deliver exceptional results.
So, what makes a great sales leader? Here are my top tips and insights - but I’m keen to hear your views, experiences and ‘war stories’ - feel free to comment!
Get rid of the ‘left-hand side of your bell curve’, which can be up to 10% of your entire team
Non-performing individuals typically take up all your time (‘cause you think you should coach them...), suck all the oxygen and energy out of the team, and they can be(come) cancerous.
More importantly, your top-performing individuals will regard you as a weak leader, not willing to take action, while they are working their butt off. As a result they may well get frustrated, lower their efforts - and therefore results - or worse, leave.
The biggest return on your efforts as a sales leader is to ‘move the middle of the bell-curve’ to the right, which typically represents up to 80% of your team.
Just imagine the benefits of having up to 80% of your team improve their performance by 10%!
Lead by example, develop a winning mindset and a culture of excellence
A great sales leader leads by example. You cannot expect your team to put in the extra effort to exceed their targets if you're not willing to do the same. Being a role model for your team is crucial to gain their respect and trust.
By demonstrating the behaviours and attitudes that you expect from your team, you can create a culture of excellence and motivate your team to perform at their best.
Listen to your team
A great sales leader listens to their team. By listening to your team, you can identify their strengths, weaknesses, and needs.
You can also gain valuable insights into customer needs, market trends, and potential roadblocks. This information can be used to develop strategies and tactics to achieve better results.
One of the most important traits of a successful sales leader is the ability to build strong relationships, both within the team and with customers. Listening, empathy, and effective communication are essential to create a culture of trust and collaboration.
Set clear, realistic goals and expectations
Setting clear goals and expectations helps your team to focus on what's important and provides a roadmap to achieve success. By setting goals and expectations, you can track progress, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate successes.
Your targets should be challenging but achievable. By setting unrealistic targets, you risk demotivating your team and causing them to lose focus.
Invest in your team
Investing in your team means providing training, coaching, and mentoring to help them develop their skills and abilities. By investing in your team, you can create a culture of continuous improvement and foster loyalty and commitment.
Your team needs to have the skills and knowledge to perform their roles effectively. By providing regular training and development opportunities, you can help your team to develop new skills, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and perform at their best.
Consider getting external coaches to assist with this, such as experienced sales leaders from Fresh Perspective Sales, who provide practical coaching as well as in-depth training sessions and workshops.
Provide regular feedback
Regular feedback is critical to the success of any sales team. Your team needs to know how they are performing and what they need to do to improve.
By providing regular feedback, you can help your team to identify their strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies to improve their performance.
Create a positive work environment
A positive work environment is critical to the success of any team. Your team should feel valued and supported. By creating a positive work environment, you can motivate your team to perform at their best and achieve their targets.
Celebrate success - as 'Success breeds Success'!
Recognising the achievements of your team helps to build morale, motivation, and confidence. It also shows that you appreciate and value their hard work and dedication.
Hold yourself and your team accountable
A great sales leader holds themselves and their team accountable. This means taking ownership of mistakes, learning from them, and taking action to prevent them from happening again. It also means holding your team accountable for their performance and ensuring they take responsibility for their actions.
Holding yourself and your team accountable also means acknowledging and enforcing the consequences of actions or inactions. This creates a culture of responsibility and encourages everyone to strive for excellence.
In conclusion, being a great sales leader is about much more than just driving sales numbers.
It's about leading a team of individuals to achieve their full potential and deliver exceptional results. By leading by example, removing non-performers, listening to your team, setting clear goals and expectations, investing in your team, celebrating success, and holding yourself and your team accountable, you can become a truly great sales leader.
Feel free to share your views, comments and your own experiences to the above!
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