It’s hard work to become an effective sales leader whom others admire. Even so, the ones who meet this definition tend to possess similar personal traits and take specific actions that make them stand out from the rest.
For example, leaders demonstrating great sales leadership also show strong emotional intelligence. They understand human behavior at a deep level, including how to motivate everyone on their team. Great sales leaders also know how to give potentially negative feedback in a private and helpful manner. Below are several other traits of sales leaders who stand out from the pack.
The Best Sales Leaders Hire the Best Talent
Top sales leaders seem to have an innate ability to recognize talent in others. Of course, this includes confirming that the candidate has the necessary skills for the job such as the ability to overcome objections and meet established sales quotas. However, the ability to hire well goes beyond that.
Successful sales managers look at soft skills such as leadership ability, excitement about the company and the customers it serves, and whether the person interviewing for the job seems likeable. After all, people are more apt to buy from salespeople they like.
Successful Sales Managers Understand Customer Needs
When attending a meeting with a customer, an effective sales leader brings deep understanding of the sales cycle to the table. They also turn this information around and attempt to see the sales transaction from the viewpoint of the customer. They ask themselves questions such as:
- How will this product improve the customer’s life?
- How will buying this product from me make the customer look to his or her customers?
- What are the customer’s values and how can I meet the most important ones?
People who already have an empathetic and intuitive nature tend to excel when they approach sales from this viewpoint. Others can learn these skills to some degree and incorporate them into their approach for better results.
Sales requires mastery of so many different types of skills that at times can seem to contradict each other. Normally, people wouldn’t expect someone with strong emotional intelligence skills to also possess the detail orientation required in this field.
The most effective sales leaders have both soft and hard skills to manage the demands of the position. They must be able to make accurate sales forecasts, create realistic budgets, work with leadership in other areas of the company such as finance, and coordinate hiring efforts with human resources. A sales team will not perform at or above expectation for long if the leader doesn’t possess all these skills.
Knows How to Find Appropriate Resources
Salespeople can only be successful on calls when they have all the tools they need. A great sales manager makes sure this happens in advance. If a resource such as a benefit statement is not available, the sales manager does whatever is necessary to locate and provide it to the representative in time for the appointment. Resourcefulness for sales managers can also mean having the people skills to build trust with both external and internal relationships.
Sales managers who feel they could improve their performance might consider asking another manager with greater success for a mentorship opportunity. They could also seek their own resources outside of work.
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