Awesome Sales Leaders
It would be great to understand what awesome sales leaders are doing to lead their team to succeed? As a sales leader, there are only so many levers you have at your disposal to impact team success.
However, you know that where you put your emphasis can have a dramatic impact on sales outcomes. Here are the top five areas that I have seen successful sales leaders focus on to outperform their competitors.
1. Engaging the Entire Sales Organization
We all know that highly-engaged sales reps will out-sell their less engaged counterparts. How you engage the entire sales team is the challenge? The 80/20 rule applies in most sales organizations. 20% of the sales reps bring home 80% of the revenue.
Creating and maintaining a high level of engagement across the entire sales organization takes a concerted effort. It starts with the sales leader and extends to the front-line sales managers.
Sales rep engagement is multifactorial; sales reps want to know that their manager cares about them, that they are recognized for a job well done, that they are being developed and that they are empowered to do the job they are paid to do.
Awesome sales leaders are highly focused on knowing the level of engagement of their sales team. They take the time to get qualitative and quantitative feedback from their sales team on engagement. These leaders strive to elevate engagement continually.
2. Having a Pulse on the Customer Experience
The CEB research has shown that 53% of customer loyalty is based on more customer experience than a brand, product, and service delivery. The sales rep’s value has the greatest impact on why a customer will buy from your company.
Awesome sales leaders have a pulse on what is essential to the customer and are in the field meeting with customers to understand what is important to them. They take regular customer satisfaction surveys to see how their team is performing.
To be successful, awesome sales leaders are focused on the customer and understand what value their salespeople provide. The best sales leaders are committed to enhancing the customer experience and putting together specific plans to up the skill of their sales teams so that they will be the best in the industry.
3. Developing and Supporting a Coaching Culture
A coaching culture starts from the top. Awesome sales leaders are also awesome coaches. They role model coaching behavior with their direct reports and coach their managers on how to coach their salespeople.
Effective coaching helps enhance and upgrade the skills of the sales team. Research shows that highly effective sales coaches drive more sales and improve sales rep engagement. The challenge is that coaching is a very difficult skill to master.
Coaching takes longer to impact sales but is more sustainable in delivering consistently high performance.
Awesome sales leaders are investing in sales management training and measuring their sales manager’s coaching effectiveness. Their preferred leadership style is coaching.
4. Executing on Critical Success Factors
Most companies fail to execute their strategies. However, the best sales leaders are highly focused on execution. They are aware that to execute effectively, they need to take their sales management team through identifying, prioritizing, and agreeing on the critical factors for the business’s success. Many have developed execution plans.
Awesome sales leaders go beyond what is critical and define how the team will execute the plan. They realize that success comes down to doing a few things well rather than trying to do too much and failing.
Sales leaders see strategy execution as an ongoing process that requires leadership and discipline. They lead their teams by keeping all levels of the organization focused and investing energy and time on what is critical. They avoid distractions and actively track and manage the execution process. Hold regular meetings and provide monthly reporting on how well the organization executes becomes standard practice.
5. Measuring success
The most important initiative that awesome sales leaders are doing to lead their teams to success is tracking and measuring how they are doing against their critical success factors.
Awesome sales leaders recognize that their people will respect what they inspect and expect. They consciously build measurements to keep their team on track and adjust. What differentiates awesome sales leaders is that they know that all good intentions and great programs need to be measured.
Awesome sales leaders realize that creating good measurements and holding regular reviews with the sales team requires intense discipline. A combination of outstanding leadership and management discipline makes sales leaders awesome.
In conclusion, the five areas discussed above are not meant to be an exclusive list of what awesome sales leaders are doing to lead their teams to success. These are observations of what I have seen as best practices. As a result, I look forward to hearing from other awesome sales leaders to see what they are doing to achieve a high level of success.