Sales leader: what is it and what does it do? See tips for being a good leader
Boss is boss, who is not always a leader. What does a professional need to take the lead and become the inspiration for his team? Find out in this post!
The sales leader has long since ceased to be a “bossy” or an authoritarian person.
With the constant changes in our society and also in work relations, someone with this profile makes less and less sense.
Of course, being a sales leader these days doesn’t mean you don’t exercise authority. It’s not about this.
It actually means adapting to the new profile of professionals who must be managed. More than that, understanding the customers, their requirements and adapting the commercial process to serve them well.
The role of the sales leader has much more to do with posture and actions than with speaking. Have you ever heard that phrase: “words convince, but examples are what drag”?
So… that’s what being a sales leader is all about in an increasingly competitive society.
Help the sales team achieve their goals and extract the best from everyone. Do this in a way that inspires and convinces everyone. That’s what a leader needs. That’s what companies want.
In this article, we’ll talk about the role of a business leader and what virtues he needs to have. More than that, we will talk about its role and its importance in the strategy of any business.
What is the role of the sales leader in companies?
Let’s start this item by getting away from the sales business a little bit (but just a little bit).
For example, we can mention Bernardinho, former coach of the Brazilian volleyball team. He seemed to overextend and was clearly angry in some situations, but the team trusted that he was looking to get the most out of everyone.
However, the objective was to help the team become champions.
But is this the ideal posture? To reach this conclusion, let’s think together about what it takes to be a good leader.
Don’t think we’re suggesting you do like Bernardinho. He has undeniable achievements in volleyball, but that doesn’t mean his example works for everyone – quite the opposite.
A sales leader needs to find his own leadership style and the best way to genuinely earn the trust and admiration of his team.
The attitudes of a leader are essential for him to fulfil his role: knowing how to motivate, be coherent, unite the team, make it work and fulfil its objectives.
Motivating includes building a favourable climate, helping to create and seize opportunities, and coaching the team.
Motivation cannot come only from lectures and meetings with motivational content. From a leader’s perspective, expectations of achievable, challenging, and concrete results need to be created.
The issue of consistency goes hand in hand with ethics. Tolerating a salesperson’s ethical deviations because he delivers results is the opposite of leading by example. This type of behaviour is contradictory to the expected speech of a leader.
Uniting, engaging and committing the team means creating a common purpose, which makes its members feel that everyone has a role to play.
Thus, goals and objectives are achieved as a result of dedicating to a purpose that, necessarily, needs to be aimed at solving the customer’s problems and “pains”.
In this sense, it is also necessary to integrate the various generations that work in the company. Decades ago, teams were more uniform.
Today its members have different behaviours and habits as they are changing very quickly.
What qualities does a sales leader need to have?
But, in order to apply efficient management on a day-to-day basis, the sales leader needs to have some essential qualities.
After all, to be able to positively influence people, you need to convince them in the correct way of what you believe.
That’s why we’ve separated 5 qualities that every sales leader needs to be a true guide for the sales team.
1 – Liking people
It’s a basic quality – and even an obvious one – but its importance needs to be made clear. A people manager needs to really like people.
This is, in fact, essential for any successful human relationship.
When it comes to leading, needing people to do their best, becomes extremely vital.
A sales leader needs to be a person who is interested and naturally inclined to socialize.
It’s not just about getting along well with the sellers, SDR and everyone who makes up the sales team. It is also necessary to have a good relationship with the customer.
As skillful as he may be, without dealing well with people, a sales manager will just be a boss.
However, to lead and especially to inspire people, more is needed. It is crucial to understand that the results and the good of the company depend essentially on people.
2 – Understand the importance of feedback
Keeping the sales team always stimulated requires a lot of constant and efficient feedback.
This should be a time to improve the business process. And not the space for the sales leader to just cover when something goes wrong.
At the same time, if the feedback only occurs at these moments, it is very likely that the commercial team will end up being very discouraged.
It is necessary to generate unity among all. Turning challenging situations into fuel so that everyone feels motivated to overcome barriers if any.
Encouraging the so-called agile methodology is a good practice. It serves to awaken a feeling of cooperation and exchange of mutual knowledge.
So, it is possible to influence and inspire the sales team. Without authoritarianism, being on the side of those who make it happen on a daily basis in the sector, you get there.
3 – Knowing how to extract the best from each one
A commercial team that sells more and more – and better – undergoes efficient management, obviously.
But, in addition to understanding sales metrics, using a sales playbook or an Online CRM, a good leader can extract and leverage the best of each one of his followers.
Good sales results, from the qualification of leads to the so-called customer success, will depend on how the manager trains, encourages and develops his team.
After all, the sales leader certainly has a good history as a salesperson and knows the pains of working in the area.
That’s why it’s even more important to understand the challenges the team has on a daily basis and work together on actions to optimize everyone’s work.
A team that does its best, that always seeks to do more, has a decisive impact on customers – and they will know how to recognize it.
4 – Lead by example
You can be a great sales leader, in theory, telling you how everything needs to be done and when it needs to be done.
However, leadership will only be really positive, it will only really inspire and convince people when it is accompanied by actions.
Leading by example shows salespeople not only the right way to work in every situation.
This paves the way for everyone to be engaged in making the company grow. And here the hierarchical level does not matter.
Of course, everyone wants to sell more and better (thankfully). Your entire team wants to grow and be a reference in the area in which it operates.
But this needs to manifest itself in practice. Setting an example is vital. Leaders need to understand this.
A good sales leader can and should also have customer agendas.
However, he doesn’t need to create competition with his salespeople. After all, it’s healthy to talk to customers to capture insights, see where speech can improve, among others.
Leadership is a process that needs to be exercised daily – and being lazy to act assertively will not lead any company to grow.
If you understand that you need to act: act. Act on the spot, assertively and always purposefully so that everyone can grow together.
And if that happens, the company will inevitably grow.
5 – Understand which strategy to use at which time
The sales leader needs to have a strategic macro view of the company’s business process.
Also because, if he is in the role of manager, he certainly has the ability to understand which strategy makes the most sense. Both for the context in which the company is inserted, as for the profile sought by customers.
From which sales methodology to apply, through the chosen sales system, it is the manager’s role to seek the best results for the company, seeking to sell more while reducing operating costs.
Therefore, he needs to rely on data, information and market knowledge to understand how to be assertive at all times.
It is the leader who must provide support and references to each salesperson and SDR on the best way to act in each situation so that the goals are met.
The organization of the business process must be discussed with everyone, yes. But it’s up to the sales leader to have the final word and an eventual course correction if things don’t go as originally planned.
Why is a sales leader different from a boss?
You don’t necessarily become a leader just by taking a few punctual actions. The “how to act” matters more than the “what to do”, seeking balance through the assessment of each situation.
On occasion, you may need to take a more energetic stance. This can be a necessity in cases where there is an impasse between team members.
A firm decision will be essential to guarantee the unity of the team, which expects the leader to intervene.
Therefore, the big difference between the old boss and the modern leader is in the reputation and image he builds with the team.
She knows she can count on him and that he has mastered sales techniques, admires his posture and behaviour, and follows his example.
In addition, employees feel safe to express their opinion, as they find flexibility and understanding.
On the other hand, he realizes that if he suggests that the leader “shoots himself in the foot”, he will hear “no” with a firm stance, followed by constructive feedback on the reasons and implications of the decision.
So, are you a leader or just a boss?
Consider that even a great leader will struggle with a team that is not ready.
If some managers continue to act as bosses, salespeople will also remain bosses.
If that’s the case for your team, they need to be coached and trained in leadership—otherwise, they’ll take a long time to respond positively at best.
So, how can we help you?
If you are having difficulty leading your team and improving results: TALK TO A CONSULTANT.
Enjoy and read our article that talks about 17 sales tips for companies and another that discusses how to create a sales routine in organizations.
Boss is boss, who is not always a leader. What does a professional need to take the lead and become the inspiration for his team? Find out in this post! The sales leader has long since ceased to be a “bossy” or an authoritarian person. With the constant changes in our society and also in work relations, someone with…