Five Characteristics that Build Successful Sales Leaders

By: Kim Bastian on November 6th, 2019

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Five Characteristics that Build Successful Sales Leaders

Categories: Front-line Managers  |  Sales Transformation  |  Sales Leadership

Sales managers play a critical role in driving your sales organization’s success. Leaders in today’s top companies understand that it takes an enabled, successful sales management team to really impact revenue.

Leadership Roles That Drive Success

There is no harder job in a B2B organization than that of a front-line sales leader. This is not to say that nobody else matters, but let's be honest, when earnings are down and the stock price is falling, guess who's feeling the heat?

When you think about the roles of a sales leader, it helps to take a look through several different lenses. Each of these leaders play an important role in the sales organization’s success:

  • Front-line sales leader - those with direct sellers, account managers, account execs or SDRs
  • Managers of sales pursuit teams – this includes all roles that support sales and customer accounts
  • Leaders of leaders – VP-level sales leaders, regional leaders of sales and solutions engineers
Characteristics of a Great Sales Leader:

COACH
Regardless of the leadership role, a great sales leader must learn to become a great coach. Like any sport, sales leaders are expected to teach skill and help people call the right play. But many new front-line sales managers land in this role because they were once an all-star seller. Unfortunately, top-of-the-line sales skills don't guarantee success in coaching others. It’s important that a sales leader shift their definition of success - from that of an individual performer to that of a leader of women and men.

REMOVE THE WORD INSPECTION
Great front-line sales managers become great by taking the word inspection out of their vocabulary. Instead of inspecting sellers and their deals, they become laser-focused on teaching them how to qualify great deals. Then, they maniacally focus on coaching sellers through the deal to success. To develop great front-line managers, it’s critical that companies give them the opportunity to become masters of a coaching environment.

CREATE VALUE WITH EACH REP INTERACTION
If you’ve mastered the skills of becoming a great leader, you become conscious of teaching your reps something with every interaction. Every conversation with a seller delivers something of value to drive the next deal, to understand a new approach or to encourage a new skill.

MOVE DEALS FORWARD
When sales managers focus specifically on helping their sellers qualify great deals, every deal moves forward with more clarity throughout the sales process and every rep becomes better at doing what they do.

BUILD ON EACH SELLER'S SKILL SET
As sellers begin to master skills, great managers shift from “teach mode” to “reinforce mode” on that particular skill. Then, over time, they move that seller towards mastering a new skill at a higher level - then, rinse and repeat.

How the Best Companies Support Managers

Successful companies cultivate great sales leaders by believing in training, education and development of every individual who takes on a manager role. Successful companies also foster an ongoing, open dialogue about what it means to be a professional seller as well as what it means to be a professional sales leader. Ultimately, successful companies know that it takes an enabled, successful sales management team to impact revenue and move the company forward.

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