As a sales leader, it’s your job to analyze the market and make decisions based on the data available. You must then pass your wisdom and experience to your sales team to develop their skills and motivate them toward success.
Sales leaders must understand product fit, as well as the company vision, mission, and culture, to lead their teams to success.
Here are nine tips to help lead your sales team to success in the coming year.
1. Ensure KPI's and Goals are Aligned
A sales leader must be able to set KPIs that are challenging, obtainable, and align with a company’s overall goals. If the key performance indicators (KPI's) are misaligned with the overall goals, that will lead to confusion among the team.
Also, everyone may have different KPI's to reach their goals. Maybe they are already great at prospecting but struggle with the later part of the sales process. It’s a sales leader’s job to help recognize those patterns and offer help and support to improve an AE’s skill set in any particular area.
2. Manage the Process but Coach Your People
As a leader, you should be able to speak with your sales reps, outlining their individual goals and performance to help them go from where they are to where they need to be.
But a good leader does this through inspiration, not fear and threats. Sales leaders must possess a natural ability to feed into the strengths of their team members and help them achieve greatness.
3. Make Good Hires When Adding to Your Team
As a sales leader, you should know the kind of salespeople you want to hire and then craft job descriptions that explicitly spell this out.
You also need to look at the hiring process as the acquisition of a team — not just disparate individuals. Personality types have a lot to do with how team members interact with each other and clients. Who you hire is a direct reflection of you as a sales leader.
4. Data-Driven Mentality
Sales leaders need great instincts, but they can’t rely solely on their gut feelings. Hard data must drive all sales-related decisions. This includes customer behavior data, sales funnel data, conversion rate, client attrition, and more.
5. Listen to Feedback from Your Sales Team
While you may believe your strategy is solid in theory, it might not go as smoothly in practice. And since you’re not in the trenches, you can only learn this through feedback derived from your sales team.
Listen with an open mind to all of their feedback and consider their accounts when deciding whether it’s time to switch tactics and try something completely different. Their insight is one of your most valuable resources.
7. Have a High Level of Product Knowledge
To be an effective sales leader, you must know the products your team is selling intimately. That means you should be well-versed in their uses and any common problems.
This is all invaluable knowledge when it comes time to plan out your sales strategy. For example, if you’re not well-versed in your digital products, how can you expect your team to be?
8. Provide Continuous Learning and Development Opportunities for Your Salespeople
It’s a leader’s job to inspire and educate their team. That’s why you should offer regular sales training opportunities, passing on your knowledge and experience to the sales team.
These opportunities could involve roundtable discussions, role plays, or question-and-answer sessions. This will also help you identify highly capable members that could be future leaders on your sales team.
9. Empower Individual Salespeople to Close and Finalize Their Own Deals
While you should always be a resource your sales team can turn to when needed, you don’t want to become a crutch that they lean on.
Instead, use your sales leadership skills to empower them with confidence and the tools for success to help them close their own presentations without bringing you in to stick the landing. You have a lot on your plate, and you can’t be expected to close every presentation for your team.
The best managers are actively involved in a team’s day-to-day interactions, and they take every opportunity to provide feedback. And in those moments when time, pressures, and sales goals begin to distract you, keep your focus on driving performance by investing in training, building capabilities, and recognizing the steps to success along the way.