According to research by Human Synergistics, sales leaders can influence up to 75% of tangible business outcomes.
How you behave and communicate drives the sales environment and dynamics. This includes how motivated and driven your salespeople are, what specific actions they take, and hence what outcomes they achieve.
The message is loud and clear.
You hold a BIG responsibility in driving performance, productivity, and efficiency.
Whilst you can achieve this through both leading and managing, the key is to spend more time leading over managing.
In fact, you should only spend 20% of your time managing and 80% leading.
Due to business pressures to deliver results and demands from higher management, several sales leaders default to doing it the other way around.
So the real challenge for you is to flip the other side of the coin.
With the global health crisis heightening the pressure to deliver tangible results, this would even be more challenging but great sales leaders don’t make any excuses. They are superstars who understand that it is absolutely their job to train the sales team and hold their hand in this journey as brand ambassadors.
Also read: The Rockstar Salesman
To help you create a rockstar sales team amidst these challenging times, below are our five best tips:
1. Be present
Every great sales leader understands that being with their team is one of the keys to converting their potential. As spending time with your people allows you to observe them in their natural environment and identify their strengths and weaknesses, you can now give personalised guidance to each team member. This cultivates meaningful relationships and increases your influence on their work. So never underestimate the value of simply being present.
In fact, being visible and available is sometimes already enough to drive your sales team’s performance because they know you are there for support when they need it. Simultaneously, your presence evokes a sense of importance and urgency and makes them feel that what they do matters.
Being visible, however, is a challenge for most sales leaders with constant internal requests for reporting and strategy requests. To address this, you need to analyse your diary and determine the amount of time you spend on non-core activities over value-adding activities. This will empower you with information on the best course of action moving forward, be it adjusting your time or raising the issue on the higher management. No problem can be solved if no one knows about it.
Did you know that Zoom’s sales in the last three months of 2020 were up 370% compared to the same period in 2019?
The video conferencing company expects sales to rise more than 40% this year, reaching more than a whopping $3.7B.
During these challenging times where human connection has never been more difficult, you need to capitalise on technology to ensure visibility. One of the things you can do is to organise weekly meetings on video communication platforms. Make sure the cameras are on so you can read body language and avoid miscommunication.
2. Make 1:1 coaching non-negotiable
Great sales leaders make coaching their team non-negotiable. “I don’t have time” or “I have too many tasks on my plate” are simply not in their vocabulary. They understand that quality coaching time with a salesperson not only fast tracks that salesperson’s development and performance but also relieves them with time in the long run. Educating and holding the hand of each team member especially in the first few months of their journey will eventually lead them to become independent. When they reach that point, you can start slowly letting go of their hand to stand on their own but still assuring them that they have you for support in case they need it.
So, check your diary in the last 45 days and find out how many hours you’ve invested in coaching your team. If very few or none, then you’ve got work to do. Leverage technology and start booking 1:1 sessions online with your team. You’ll be surprised to see how this activity alone can produce astonishing results.
3. Create an empowering culture
Culture is intangible and tacit. A new salesperson just picks up your sales team’s culture based on interactions with other team members and almost instantly, they can sense which behaviors are accepted, rejected, and glorified in the team. So the question for you is, what culture and environment are you creating for your sales team?
Every great sales leader should understand that positive sales culture plays a critical role in the ability of the team to achieve performance objectives and tangible results. To create this culture that will drive consistent performance from your team, you need to set the expectations and standards of behaviour. These should be consistent, non-negotiable and more importantly, universal across every team member and that includes you. You absolutely need to meet them because otherwise, how can you expect your sales team to perform and most importantly, respect you?
The true mark of a great leader is when they can make ordinary people produce extraordinary results. And one of the tried and tested ways to accomplish this is through leading by example.
4. Encouraging feedback and self-feedback
Another component you might want to look at incorporating into the culture of your sales team is self-feedback and openness to feedback. Every epic sales leader understands that feedback is the breakfast of champions and by encouraging self-reflection, your team becomes ever-evolving and proactive. Simultaneously, by constantly seeking permission to give and receive feedback, your people will mirror this and eventually this practice will be deeply embedded in your team’s culture.
Constant feedback means constant improvement and so when your team has developed a positive habit around feedback, your work also lessens. Everybody wins.
5. Never stop learning and training
Leaders are life-long learners and great sales leaders are committed to continuous learning. They yearn to polish their existing skills through seminars or workshops and seek new knowledge through books, audio programs or podcasts. They understand that they never ‘arrive’ because there’s always another mountain to climb and barriers to break.
Simultaneously, great sales leaders understand that their knowledge will only be truly powerful if they pass it on to their sales team. As a sales leader, you need to prioritise training and development despite work disruptions within the business because let’s face it. There will always be distractions.
When you put training and development as a priority and you practice what you preach, your team will develop high-quality success habits and practices that will further drive performance.
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Amidst these times where human connection has never been more difficult, every sales leader needs to leverage technology to keep the engagement alive and culture intact. Now more than ever, your team needs your leadership. A strong captain to steer the ship in the right direction, demand accountability and provide the right support to remain on course.
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