Developing your Sales Leadership
The challenge facing many sales managers and business leaders is no longer about ‘what you can deliver; it’s about what you can get others to deliver’.
Today, sales success is largely a function of results - how much did you invoice? Was it more than last quarter? Are our company and its revenue growing y-o-y? All your sales leadership efforts will be nil if the results aren’t there.
However, leaders can’t simply use authority to get teams to achieve these results. Leaders also set the tone for the company. If all they talk about is “hitting the numbers”. what message is actually getting through? Effective sales leaders are those who work on getting teams to buy-in and fully commit in the longer-term
Language of a Leader
As sales organizations across the board struggle to cope with changes in buyer behavior, increase in buyers’ access to information and a competitive landscape, sales leaders seem to be focusing their efforts on driving effective sales transformation; shifting their organization’s selling approach away from solution selling towards insightful selling. And this requires ‘transformational leadership’.
The sales leadership job is one of the toughest in business today - it is a few critical jobs rolled into one: super seller, coach, strategist and business leader. I have had the chance to work with some of the best sales leaders over the course of my career and have observed that the most successful among them possess key characteristics: the five keys to being a great sales leader are.
Create metrics that mark progress
Use measures that are indicative of progress toward those goals - successful sales calls, implementation planning meetings, and the like are examples. The key difference is creating a balance of lagging indicators and leading indicators. Having both is vital to success.
- Pay attention to YOUR selling ROLE
Playing selling roles like being an observer or a team-mate at times has a unique purpose and impact, so it is imperative that the sales leader is intentional about what role they are playing as they support business development efforts.
- Focus on creating value
Success in selling is far less about what they are selling and increasingly about how they sell. Said simply, it’s about how, not what. Sales leaders can engineer the sales experience of customers to be one that is worth paying for.
- Forecast the customer
One of my mentors often said “if you want to learn how to sell, learn how buyers buy. It’s important to know milestones of customer behavior and joint accountabilities to have a considerable impact on forecast accuracy.
- Motivate with recognition and rewards
To reinforce behaviors needs to be more frequent. Top performers value financial rewards for certain, but they also crave regular feedback on performance, autonomy, and degrees of freedom.
All successful sales people have what it takes to be among the best sales leaders if they are willing to make the commitment to develop the skills and qualities that support sales leadership.
The best way to learn how to sell is to sell. Therefore, on-the-job training is critical.
At Learngage where we are working with organizations to transform learning into behavioral change, sales leadership is one of the critical areas we believe real-world training needs to happen. From video coaching, to providing feedback to sales supervisors and leaders to develop their next in line, to on-the-job mentoring using role-plays, and assessing consistent results week on week, our after-training services and Learning App helps organizations track learning effectiveness and measure business impact.