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What qualities and skill sets SALES LEADERS possess?

There is constant, almost unsupportable, stress wearing down on most sales firms these days. With improving economy and increase in competition the margins are shrinking. This makes a strong appeal to drive sales revenue.

In an organization, the members of the Sales Teams form the front-line and are considered as first responders who work on building the future profits of the organization. They are taking on larger territories, covering higher quotas, and increasing more clients and contacts than ever. But, in many cases they are still losing ground!

This makes us think as to where do the Sales Contributors turn for inspiration and performance support in the middle of these challenging movements?

The answer, of course, is the sales leader, who is charged with providing insights, resources, responsibility, and training the sales contributors with required skill sets and tips to succeed. Those on the top have their own set of activities to deal with which builds pressure. Executives want updated sales reports; they have meetings across all departments in the organization. This eats up huge amount of the day without adding any real value back into the sales process. Even meetings with the marketing and sales teams seem counter-productive. Most of the times, the thoughts playing daily in the back of the sales leaders’ mind is: build as much as possible, produce as faster as possible, do it with less and do it now.

Several research activities have repeatedly shown that transformation of a sales department begins with transformation of the sales leader. Sales leaders are thoughtfully and strategically positioned to influence and empower sales contributors to help them in achieving greater levels of success.

We work with successful sales teams all around the world, hence we have determined that highly effective sales leaders possess skills and characteristics that set them above the rest, and these skills enable them to help their contributors to achieve goals.

We discuss some of the skill sets in this article:

1. Sales teams are generally over command and under-led in an organization

In most of the cases, sales managers/ executives plan too much on reports, metrics and set time limits to drive performance. On the other hand, outstanding sales leaders find countless ways to come alongside the contributors to motivate and reward them in a manner that brings out the best in them! in a way that motivates everyone.

2. Focus on culture! Don’t depend on theoretical programs to drive sales team performance:

Yes, sales teams need to have sales processes, goals and measurement channels in place. Alternatively, it works best to arrange those organizational targets to a social network.  Leveraging social goals gives sales individuals goals that are practical, comfortable, and more natural.

3. Hire the right talent, when you are building the team

Successful sales leaders are committed to hiring the best talent available for their sales teams. If you want to acquire the best, hire the best, and save more time and money on training while protecting your organization from failure few months down the road. Initially it may cost more, but it confidently pays off over time.  Look for individuals with social target goals that converges with your organizational goals.

4. Automate! Help your contributors in spending more time with customers.

Highly effective sales leaders learn good time management habits, and they enable their sales teams to make the most of their time by eliminating processes that don’t directly help drive sales revenue. With clearly arranged goals, all activities can be assessed.  Activities that don’t support these goals can be eliminated or realigned.

5. Celebrate every Win!

It’s self-explanatory! Most sales managers wait too long and don’t celebrate enough. A significantly important characteristic of Effective sales leaders is that they clearly understand that the best way to reduce pressure is to reward wins – even small ones – as periodic as possible and use this as an opportunity to give every contributor a little boost. Just understand, A little celebration creates motivation and that goes a long way.

What’s your thought process? What have you done to automate your sales force?!


Naga Darshan J
Darshan is a CRM Strategist, Entrepreneur, Author and Business Coach. He heads the sales and marketing for Rapid GPRS and has been instrumental in transformation of several businesses.

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