For many of us that have been in and out of sales, tried sales short term or are truly dedicated career sales professionals, we have all had our share of the good, the bad and the ugly “sales manager.”
It got me thinking about what it really takes today to lead a team of salespeople through harder times, more difficult selling environments and the new marketing tools we all must use now.
There are a few stand out sales chiefs for me over a 20+ year career in broadcast radio sales, that really inspired, coached and led me. I was a sales managers dream – a self motivated, committed professional from the beginning. But I had to learn a lot about the profession of selling. I had all the intangibles – the personality, the creativity, the love of people, challenge and achievement.
All of these sales chiefs were successful sales people first. They lived in the trenches and knew first hand what it meant to be on the ground. They went on to management because they had the additional, big picture, administrative, goal setting and goal executing vision and skills needed to manage others.
Not all great salespeople make great managers and not all great managers are mean’t to stay in the trenches. Although great sales chiefs need to see the bigger picture, they also should never loose sight of what their sales people experience in the trenches.
Here are 5 things that make stand out sales chiefs in today’s sales environment:
It’s really not OK to sell people things they don’t really need, isn’t a good fit or exaggerate expectations. Sadly, salespeople still do it everyday prodded by the wrong leadership motives. That simply isn’t a good strategy or way to build long term, solid relationships. The public is way to smart for that.
A Great Salesman Versus A Great Sales Manager
Most successful salespeople are creative, intuitive, assertive and somewhat disorganized. Great sales managers are more skilled in organization, administration, budget management, details and corporate politics.
Big Picture Vision and The Path To Get There
Seeing the numbers and the ‘how to’ plan to get to and achieve those numbers takes a unique vision and an ability to articulate that to a sales team. Great sales leaders can get the best out of each individual, which then generates the best team results.
Ability to Read People
Sales is so much about intuition, instincts and the ability to read people. Every client and situation stands on it’s own and should be dealt with that way. Going in with the attitude of serving will drive the sales results much faster. Working with sellers on their ‘consultive sales’ abilities can greatly impact the results and their self esteem.
Coach, Get Personal and Inspire
Great sales chiefs are cheerleaders, mentors, coaches, advocates and trainers. When times are tough or it’s difficult to break through and get results, knowing the right questions to ask or areas to work on with their team is a morale builder. Coming out in front of the title, being accessible, open and authentic is a big asset in building a strong team that wants to succeed and win. Just look at the newly crowned NBA champion Miami Heat and their coach Eric Sploestra.
Here are 25 influencial leaders in sales that demonstrate these and other ideas about sales leadership. SellingPower.com and Justsell.com are two of the top sales websites out there today. Check out Tim Mushey’s Sell, Succeed and Lead blog.
What qualities do you need to add to become a stand out sales chief? What qualities stand out for you in the top sales chief’s you’ve work for?
Chief Photo via Shutterstock