Great Sales Leaders Serve Their Teams
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”
- Tony Robbins
As a consultant I am often engaged when decision makers want to improve their sales results. I regularly hear “we want the sales team to be more effective,” and “we want them to sell more.” These appear to be universal goals in the print and mailing industry.
Sales effectiveness is the combined result of four disciplines: sales leadership, sales methodology, sales execution, and sales culture.
Let’s focus first on sales leadership. Great sales leaders see their role in helping their team to achieve desired results. These leaders know their goal is to:
- Inspire teams
- Mentor and develop team members
- Establish expectations
- Create companywide collaboration
Effective sales leadership is not pounding on the team during endless pipeline review calls. While status calls may be necessary on some level, they rarely achieve the desired goals. True leaders inspire their teams. They set an example by their actions and provide coaching and support. This inspires salespeople to work hard and reach for larger wins.
Mentor and develop team members
Inspiration, coaching, and mentoring may be hard to prescribe. Yet, every salesperson who works with a strong leader, gets inspired and is willing to be coached to improve their skills and their sales results. Developing team members means celebrating victories, both small and large and recognizing team members for their unique approaches and contributions to success. Recognition within the sales team and publicly within your organization is a foundation of successful sales cultures.
Sales teams typically have a mix of people; both tenured, and junior people. Some salespeople may be tech savvy and others may have fewer technical skills. The effective sales leader will mentor team members differently to encourage collaboration, sharing ideas and growth for individual team members. Most salespeople don’t easily admit weakness related to their jobs. A strong sales leader will encourage salespeople to look in the hypothetical mirror to recognize areas where they need to improve. The manager can coach salespeople to define an action plan to build skills, confidence, and behaviors to improve themselves.
Inspect What You Expect
Establishing expectations is more than defining budget goals for each salesperson. Expectations should provide clarity on what the leadership team defines as important in the sales process. Expectations should define both quantitative (sales) and qualitative (team member) metrics to get to the financial results. Jointly establishing expectations for each salesperson allows them to have input into the process and be accountable for the agreed actions and results.
Create companywide collaboration
Servant leaders provide strategic thinking, honest communication and develop cross departmental relationships to support the overall sales process. When we consider larger deals, salespeople will need the support of specialists in other areas of the company. Technology, production and client service managers play critical roles in the sales process to land important accounts. This means people whose primary function isn’t sales, also need acknowledgement and recognition from sales leaders. It takes effective sales leadership to create collaboration companywide and to establish good working relationships with the managers and departments supporting the sales team.
The most effective sales leaders also plan for fun and create internal engagement. Encouragement, a positive attitude, and positive communications are infectious.
Effective leaders set SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, timely) goals with discipline to achieve them. With defined goals salespeople will either meet, exceed, or fall short. The effective leader will enable the team to assess the results and set new goals with defined resources to achieve them.
An impressive book to define effective strategies for sales management is, The Top Sales Leaders Playbook How to Win 5X Deals Repeatedly, by Lisa Magnuson of Topline Sales.
Are you looking for more assistance to improve your sales results? Please email me to arrange a call.
Input for this piece was provided by Mark M. Fallon, president and CEO, The Berkshire Company:
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lois Ritarossi, CMC®, is the President of High Rock Strategies, a consulting firm focused on sales and marketing strategies, and business growth for firms in the print, mail and communication sectors. Lois brings her clients a cross functional skill set and strategic thinking with disciplines in business strategy, sales process, sales training, marketing, software implementation, inkjet transformation and workflow optimization. Lois has enabled clients to successfully launch new products and services with integrated sales and marketing strategies, and enabled sales teams to effectively win new business. You can reach Lois at highrockstrategies.com.