Sales is high pressure in any business environment. Organisations expect results from their sales team at every turn – from prospecting to customer onboarding, and beyond.
But how do we get more out of our salespeople and better sales results?
Sometimes it seems easier to focus on the problems and inadequacies in sales – blaming the mysterious collective noun “sales”, the salespeople and their performance. But to find a solution, let’s look at sales leadership and how leaders can set their sales teams up for success.
THE VALUE OF PREPARATION AND TRAINING
Most sales leaders receive little in the way of formal training in sales leadership practices prior to becoming a leader. And once they’re in the role… “training? Pfft, what’s that?!”
It seems sales leadership training is something that’s just not on the radar across organisations – and the piece of the training puzzle that is most commonly missing.
So how do we give our sales leaders the skills they need to not only do their job, but achieve real sales leadership success?
TRAIN LEADERS IN COACHING AND LEADERSHIP SKILLS
Coaching is essential for all salespeople. Without a leader who can spend time with their team members working on strengths and weaknesses and ironing out problems, a sales team is weak.
As part of their leadership preparation, a sales leader needs to learn the skills required to effectively coach their team.
Investing in developing sales leaders to professional standards has proved to be valuable, with better returns on investment than most sales training initiatives.
ALLOW THEM TIME TO FOCUS, AND ENABLE THEM TO LEAD
One of the greatest enablers of leadership is giving a leader the time to manage, lead, train and coach their teams.
It’s all well and good to give sales managers the training required to lead their team, but one of the biggest impacts for any sales leader is time – and there’s never enough!
Some sales leaders are expected to run their own sales territory and manage a team at the same time. Many are caught up preparing reports and data for senior stakeholders up the stream, so don’t have time to focus on their team.
Sales leaders are under immense pressure to perform and deliver with very little time for strategy and planning. Reacting to meet market and business requirements, leaves little time for “working” with their team.
There are plenty of motivated leaders who want to improve sales team practices and outcomes, but consistently get caught up in the day-to-day grind in the work environment. Giving them space to focus on managing their team will yield results.
The role of sales leadership
The primary role of a sales leader is to lead a group of salespeople, prepare them for the competitive marketplace and encourage them to be customer focused with an eye on revenue.
Focusing, empowering, motivating and improving the performance of the sales team are key to any sales leadership role. By providing resources and direction, a sales leader is responsible for ensuring their team acts in the best interests of the company in the market.
They have a mandate to protect the reputation of the brand whilst meeting business targets like profitability and sustained growth.
This means sales leaders need to be smart, efficient and well prepared; allow time to plan and strategise; ensure they have the right people doing the right thing – and that their sales teams are well trained, highly motivated and focused.