3 Objectives for Successful Part-Time Sales Leadership
Providing strategic direction and leadership for the sales team is an endless task. Many sales professionals will argue there’s no need for a sales manager, and often times there isn’t one. In larger organizations you might find that sales leadership is a full-time position and they are part of the senior team. What we see in most medium size businesses though, is someone assuming a part-time sales leadership role. That role is typically split between managing their own direct sales and leading the team.
This person is tasked with creating a winning environment for the group. They are often asked to provide their guidance, share their experience, and provide some level of accountability for the team to the management group. As a senior person, they also provide advocacy for internal affairs and are asked to run interference for the sales team. They typically represent the company in the marketplace and can be the face of the company at networking and client events.
There are three key objectives that part-time sales leaders should focus on. These include setting and communicating clear goals for the sales team, making the time to adequately support the team, and being the promoter and chief advocate for the sales team within the organization.
Without goals, activity doesn’t always lead to results. How many times have you heard someone say “oh wow, I’m so busy right now,“ only to find out that the things that they are busy with won’t lead to the results they need. Setting goals for existing account growth as well as new business development are crucial for the ongoing success of any business. Achieving those goals shows that the system and the team that’s in place are aligned and working well.
The challenge for any sales leader who also is responsible for direct sales, is making the time available for all of their responsibilities. When their clients call and opportunities arise, that is understandably their first priority.
What we see, is that the sales leaders are usually the top sales reps within an organization. They have the most demands placed on their time come from direct customers. These are also the people that you rely on the hit the three-point shot at the buzzer to win the game—your key contributor. The challenge for them is to make the time for the other members of the sales team. In particular, making time for those members who are facing challenging times and need their coaching and mentorship to get back on track.
One way to help the sales leader make time for the rest of the team, is to schedule blocks of time throughout the week where they are available to meet. A scheduled one on one session with each member of the team allows for a good exchange of information. These don’t need to be long, sometimes 15 minutes will do. The session should have an agenda that includes an update on client successes and struggles, goal reviews and other coaching opportunities as needed.
As the sales leader, and usually one of the top performers, their voice can carry a bit further than the other members of the team. They have a responsibility to help promote the efforts of the entire sales team. They can share their successes, and provide client feedback to the leadership team. They can also help to identify and solve any “sales prevention” activities that might be going on internally.
Having a part-time sales leadership role, and doing it well, it’s not an easy task. It’s important to develop routines and communication styles that are both effective and predictable. They should ask for feedback from the leadership team as well as the sales team as to how are they are performing in the role. Help them to find ways to fine-tune their efforts to be more effective in their role. Keep in mind that one of their objectives is to provide create a winning environment for the sales group. Doing that will help them focus on doing the right things, the things that matter.
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Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Philie leverages his 28 years of direct industry experience in sales, sales management and executive leadership to share what’s working for companies today and how to safely transform your business. Since 2007, he has been providing consulting services to privately held printing and mailing companies across North America.
Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the graphic communications industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion, and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach.