Sales leadership and sales management sometimes get used interchangeably. After all, they’re both in positions of power and influence in the organization. Plus, they both have a big impact on the success of your sales team and your company.
But sales leadership requires very different skills – and without them, your organization won’t enjoy maximum success. So let’s talk about what makes a true sales leader in today’s blog post.
The Fundamentals of Good Sales Leadership
Sales leadership is vital to the success of your business.
Sales leaders need to have:
- a clear vision for what your sales team is working to achieve
- the ability to motivate and communicate with the sales team(s)
- the power to build a team that works together well and towards a common goal
A leader of any kind needs to be able to get those around them on board with a shared vision or purpose, and be able to effect positive changes in the team and the organization. And effective sales leaders should be able to do that for both your sales team members and your organization as a whole.
Working in tandem with the other leaders in your business helps move your company towards sustainable growth, big goals, and all-around excellence.
It’s also important to understand what sales leadership is not. It’s easy to confuse it with sales management, which is more about the day-to-day management of the people who work for you and the department.
This isn’t to say that managers and sales experts aren’t important to the success of your team. They’re absolutely vital to your organization too. But management skills alone aren’t enough to take your team to the next level.
Good sales leadership is more about the big picture and less about the little details.
Why is Sales Leadership Critical?
There are a lot of factors that go into building a successful sales team.
Sure, having a quality product or service and knowing the benefit it offers your customers and prospects are assumed. And having a strong sales strategy and process as part of a sales playbook are just a couple of important aspects here.
But having great sales leadership for a working team to reach those target customers is just as important.
This because you can have a great team of individual salespeople, but if they lack a shared vision and the environment in which they can thrive, their work will not reach its full potential. And if your sales reps are not reaching their potential, then neither is your company.
Think about it – when do employees do their best work? Is it when they’re plugging away on day-to-day tasks, or when they know they’re contributing to a shared purpose? This is where your sales leaders can make their biggest contribution.
Three Top Qualities of Sales Leadership
There are many intangible qualities that go into being a great leader of any kind. And some skills will vary depending on your industry or organization. But these three skills are critical for any sales leader, from a small business to a Fortune 500 corporation.
This is one of the most critical skills for any leader – but especially those in sales. Without being able to clearly communicate everything from your big yearly goals to regular performance updates, your team won’t be able to do their best.
Great sales leaders can communicate in a clear and compelling way. And sales reps and managers trust what they say – they know it’s not just words.
Excellent communications skills meaning knowing what to say at the right time – and sometimes, when not to speak. They communicate to share successes and to address failures so they both become learning opportunities.
Sales professionals want to do their best at work, if you’re hiring the right people for the job. But it’s too easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day details of getting the job done, while losing the drive to strive for excellence.
Great leaders make their sales teams motivated to work towards exceeding their targets after setting goals.
This comes from:
- clearly communicating what excellence looks like
- maintaining a connection to the broader company goals
- providing direction when things aren’t going as planned
- rewarding achievement in a meaningful and timely manner
Situations can shift quickly in sales, so keeping employees motivated during rough patches or downturns is critical to maintaining momentum.
3. Team Building
The person in a sales leadership role does not work alone. Some of the most important work they do is knitting together a strong team that works seamlessly together, with a shared spirit of cooperation. Sales can be a competitive field – but a good sales leader will balance that competitive team spirit with cooperation and camaraderie.
Great sales leaders also work to build important skills in their employees through effective coaching. This coaching can be directed towards basic sales skills for newer employees, or helping experienced sales reps get to the next level. And it also includes coaching the future sales leaders of the team.
Sharpening Sales Leadership Skills
Since sales is such a critical driver of your company’s success, you can’t afford to overlook sales leadership skills in your managers and leaders. Fortunately there are steps you can take to sharpen the skills of your sales leaders to increase these critical qualities.
You can also invest in coaching for your sales leaders if you feel there are skills that need to be strengthened. Leadership is usually not an innate skill – it can be taught and trained with the proper guidance.
360 Consulting Can Help
360 Consulting provides the tools to improve your sales organization, from sales leader coaching to sales process improvements.
We work well with companies in all industries ranging from small to mid-size enterprises that have large sales teams and multiple managers. And finally, we understand that every sales team has unique challenges and needs a custom solution to address them.
To expedite meeting and exceeding your sales goals, it might be time to call in reinforcements. Schedule a free consultation here to find out how we help sales teams break sales records.