A Sales leader never succeeds by chance, it’s always a matter of skills. One of the surest ways to fail in sales leadership is leaving everything to chance or running your sales organization on autopilot.
And in case you are asking who a sales leader is; It is anyone who leads a sales team, for example, sales managers, sales directors, business development managers, sales team leaders, CEOs, and entrepreneurs.
Yes, CEOs and Entrepreneurs are sales team leaders even though they don’t work directly with the sales team as they must from time to time coach their sales team members as sales is the lifeblood of any organization.
If you want to build a successful sales organization, then it’s important that you possess the following key skills;
You can’t effectively lead your sales team if you are not engaged. I often come across business and sales leaders who confess to not having talked to their people in weeks, it’s treason!
These leaders justify not engaging with their people by bringing up saying that they manage their team through email or through the CRM system which is not effective.
You cannot effectively lead people by adopting a remote-controlled approach.
When you engage with your people, you will have access to key insights and you will be able to see orange flags before they turn red.
If you are a Sales Manager, you should communicate with every member of your sales team daily. As an entrepreneur, meet your sales team weekly but communicate with your Sales Leaders daily.
Imagine an army going to war after spending three months without doing any drills, what are the chances of them winning the war? Slim, right?
The same is true when it comes to sales.
Roleplaying is critical for sales success and it gives you insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your team members.
Being the sales team leader often means that you are the most experienced in the group. As the most experienced person, roleplaying will give you the perfect platform to transfer your experience to your team members which will make them more effective in practical selling situations.
The easiest way to get started with roleplaying is to just get two people in your sales team, assign one to be the client and another to be the salesperson, and have them make a pretend call to each other whilst everyone listens. At the end of the call, ask the other team members to comment and contribute.
To make the process more effective, you should often take the client’s role in the roleplay and ask your salespeople the tough questions correcting them in the process.
I often call feedback the ability to have tough conversations.
Many leaders are good at everything else except having tough conversations with their people. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell a person when and where they are messing up.
Having difficult conversations is hard, yes, but it must be done if your team is going to unleash its full potential.
For your feedback to be received well, you need to make it clear that feedback is not vilification.
And if you give someone feedback on what they need to change and they don’t change, then you need to take action as a leader.
To clarify more on this, here is a conversation I had with a sales team member who was not meeting their targets, let’s call her Alexis.
Me: “Alexis, I’ve been going through your sales performance for the past two months and I’m seeing that you’ve not been meeting your targets, is there any way I can help?”
Alexis: “I understand sir, the customers are just postponing and not committing, I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”
Me: “Understood, how many clients are you following up on right now?”
Alexis: “I have 5 currently sir”
Me: “Okay, who was the best person among your colleagues last month, and how many clients are they following up?”
Alexis: (Now introspecting) “I think it’s Rose and from what I know she calls over 50 clients every day”, her face lit up instantly.
Me: “Do you see where the problem is?”
Alexis: “I think I need to work on having more clients in my pipeline”
Me: “Great, go work on it, I’m giving you one more month to improve but if I don’t see an improvement, I might have to let you go.”
Alexis: “Understood sir, I will do my best to improve.”
From the above conversation, like a professional salesperson, I was asking questions. I knew the problem but I wanted Alexis to highlight and see the problem by herself. I did not blame her or point fingers but I gave her the critical feedback she needed and most importantly highlighted the consequences if she were to not act on the feedback.
You need to do the same if you are to succeed.
PS. If you want to be an effective sales leader, I will be having a sales seminar on the 4th of June 2022. I need you to sign up and be part of it by clicking here.