BEING A GREAT SALES LEADER
If you are a first time sales director or needed a friendly reminder; then realize your role as a sales leader is to inspire to lead up, not down. This means shifting your focus to leveraging the strengths of the sales team and each individual salesperson. You have to think strategically and strive to understand each person on the team.
Too many salespeople move into a management role thinking they must lead every person the way they would want or like to be led. In reality, nothing can be farther from the truth. Great sales managers know each person on their team is different and, therefore, manage them accordingly to their unique weaknesses and strengths.
- · Learn to listen; the role of sales managers has changed. It’s no longer about being taskmaster; it’s about enablement and support.
- · Communicate to your team what is expected of them and how they’ll be measured.
- · Hierarchical, prescriptive management is dead, don’t try to control everything. Communicate a vision instead; let people try to figure out how they are going to get there on their own.
- · Have empathy; remember what it was like when you sold. Use that empathy to see things through your team’s eyes.
- · Be objective and create a sales process: If you try to turn everyone into an artist (like you probably were) it is going to be frustrating and won’t be scalable. As an example, develop criteria that break down the characteristics of makes a great (A), average (B) and poor (C) rep. Then, categorize all your reps based on those characteristics and manage accordingly. For your As – set long term goals, over communicate and overcompensate. Manage your Bs to become as so when the As inevitably leave you have someone to back fill them. Set very short-term goals and celebrate small wins for your Cs to get them back on the winning path.
- · Coach your team on a daily basis to help them plan their selling activities to provide the maximum value and impact to their prospects.
- · Do be an inspirational leader because you understand what it’s like to follow.
- · Don’t micro-manage.
StrengthsFinder is an awesome book to use if you are in charge of building an in-house team or a road team.