Effective sales leaders are the catalyst for increased sales dollars and better sales team performance. A common problem is that dynamic sales professionals may not always make the most effective sales leaders. At least without the organization giving them the proper tools to run the position. Let’s face it, we all want to end the year with big sales numbers and be regarded as an all star by our peers. If you have that sales person that consistently hits home runs in his or her year end profits, then it’s a natural progression to want to elevate them in the company. I’m certainly not saying this is the wrong way to go, but there are some key traits to keep in mind when developing sales professionals into sales leaders that will boost your organizations numbers and build sales team loyalty.
Newly promoted sales leaders often want to keep doing what they have always done. They have developed a tried and true formula over the years that always gets the deal closed. It is unreasonable, though, to think that a sales leader can be on every sales call to make certain this happens. The reason we have sales leaders is to motivate and support the sales team, ensuring that they have the skills and knowledge base to close their own deals. It’s essential for effective sales leaders to know when to offer support, when to step in, and when to step out.
One way sales leaders choose to train their team is to have their sales professionals shadow them on a sales call. The sales leader will lead the call and has the intent that their team will pick up on their strategies by osmosis since they were in the same room. This strategy can work, but must be done in conjunction with other training to be truly effective. It’s important that sales leaders explain what specific traits, skills and areas they want the sales professional to watch for. There should be much discussion after the call on what they learned and how they could use aspects of it to develop their own sales strategies.
Just as important is going on sales calls with your team and knowing when to let them make a mistake. Sometimes the value of the mistake far outweighs the value of the sale that was lost or the long term damage to the sales person’s reputation with their client if you step in to avoid further damages. When acting as a coach to your team members, plan the sales call out in advance, clearly defining what each of your rolls will be and how to be most effective in offering solutions to the client.
One of the hardest issues for sales leaders is the feeling that they have to go on every sales call. Beyond being a poor use of your time, it’s physically impossible. To ensure that your organization reaches its full potential, sales leaders must help strategize with their sales team in advance of any sales calls and afterwards. Talk with your team and get to know what their challenges are. Chances are, if one person is having an issue, there will be 5-10 more with the same one. Help your team develop the strategies that got you to where you are and which will help your organization continue to grow. There will always be one-offs where you have to go outside of the norm to maintain client relations or close a deal, but it’s very important that sales leaders ensure that first and foremost they are properly developing the talents of their team members to ensure true organizational success.
Duane Campbell is a Global Accounts Manager for Jaroop, a web application development company that develops business intelligence, social interaction and client services for businesses. Jaroop is also the creator of the cloud based sales proposal application ClientSky, an online platform for professional service firms to generate, send and track sales proposals online. Duane can be reached at 860-357-2060 ext 302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.