There is immense importance of leadership in sales jobs. Most of the salespeople who are successful attribute their success to their sales leaders. Good leadership can make or break the sale of the company. When the term leadership is used, many people think of it as management, when both of them are entirely different. Leadership is not seniority or rank or position and designation, that is just management of the organization. The first thing you have to understand is that sales leadership is very different from sales management.
Management is concerned with setting the vision and mission of the organization and its more of a setting a direction to the organization. Sales leadership, on the other hand, is more strategic and is a result of a sales leader working and setting the strategy. It is also about defining the culture of the organization. It is as a result of setting objectives, top priorities and goals for the company and then enabling and empowering the sales managers and representatives, so they succeed in their work.
The sales leaders do this by setting a company-wide sales strategy for the year and also by developing Annual Sales Target or Plan.
Sales leaders communicate the drivers of Sales effectiveness. And to understand sales leadership, it is essential to know what makes a good sales leader. Many leaders have many common qualities which make them a good leader.
Common habits of effective Sales Leaders
1. Giving feedback:
Good sales leaders provide constant feedback to their sales colleagues all the time. The feedback can be on every aspect of the salesperson right from his sales skills, negotiation skills to his communication, body language and overall behaviour. Good feedback has three parts, first the issue, second the repercussions and third how to improve it.
Feedback must be taken constructively. The person who is receiving feedback should understand that it is given for his benefit and should not take it as a complaint or an argument.
There is a fragile difference between giving feedback and being annoying. Feedback is given to improve someone, but nagging can be destructive and can destroy the relations between the senior and junior. Feedback if given every day persistently and continuously feels like nagging but if positive reinforcement coupled with feedback is given, it works very well and these qualities are found in every successful sales leader.
2. Speaks for the team
The manager should be comfortable to approach. He should be available to help his team with issues related to the business. He should encourage the team to speak up related to the problems and should present them to higher management. He should not only act as a mediator but should act as a secure link between the field force and management.
Sometimes, the sales leader have to speak to the management and percolate the decisions of the management to the team. Still, it is essential that this communication goes the other way around, and even the management gets feedback about the front line sales team. This feedback should not be necessary the negative or only related to the business issues. The feedback can be about high performing person on the field or promoting a performing employee.
3. Weekly one-on-one’s
Another great habit of sales leaders is they have weekly one-on-one meetings with the salespeople. Many managers believe that weekly sales meetings are a waste of time, and the CRM reporting is good enough to stay at the top of the funnel and understand the performance of the salesperson. But truly great sales leaders use one on one meetings so that they can build a deep connection with their salesperson and the team which may go beyond business on a more human level. This is not only to discuss about the company but also for personal coaching.
These discussions sometimes also go beyond the company and reach the personal lives where salespeople ask suggestions or ideas regarding a problem and sales leader happily provides them.
4. Inspire them
Part of being a sales leader is to hire great people. Sometimes you have to hire people and then make them great. It is impossible to achieve exceptional results if there is no talent in your team. Not everybody is born talented, and that is where the role of the sales leader comes in. Every sales representative will try to operate from his comfort zone. Most of them try to achieve 80% of the target, but a truly great sales leader will motivate them to go beyond a hundred per cent.
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