Every sales team regardless of its size requires a leader who not only has experience but expertise in spearheading the unit towards success. There are basic, obvious elements which make a great sales leader but we won’t deplete your attention span with that today; instead, let’s focus on the not so tangible assets and the more subtle qualities which qualify a business development boss to be world class.
- Emotional Intelligence
Since sales is no longer a game based on shovelling features and benefits down customers’ throats; sales people must possess the intuition to create rapport and relationships with their prospects. This charismatic, empathetic consultancy approach must trickle down from the leadership in the department. The leadership must therefore have attributes which combine targets and ROI with emotional intelligence. The ability to identify, assess and control emotions has a direct impact on sales results.
- Quality Control
The attitude of the leader of a team sends strong signals to the players as to how they should behave and how their moral compass should be guided while at work. If a leader is intensely focused on ‘getting numbers on the board’, it is a certain that the team will neglect quality in exchange for quantity, for the simple reason that they want to please their superiors. If, however, the team is under the impression that there are other criteria which impress the leadership such as; relationship building, creating strong bonds with clients, qualifying leads, professionalism etc, then they will work on strengthening these areas because they know these are the things which will accelerate their careers in this particular job.
It is therefore paramount that a sales leader places an emphasis on quality and it is integral that this is in his or her job specification because quality control generates long term results and positive morale in the workplace, as opposed to a quick buck and a high turnover of staff.
- Coach vs. Train
Training is the concept of creating behavioural change in a human being in order to lessen their weaknesses and grow their strengths. Training is conducted in timeframes which are far greater than you, as a sales leader, will have at your disposal – it’s a long term attrition and nutrition which both parties must be committed too. This is something you can’t practically achieve in an environment where you don’t have the time and either party could leave at any given moment.
However, what world class sales leaders are able to do is coach and mentor. Coaching and mentoring involve having a genuine capacity to care for individuals and to provide them the framework to accelerate in their lives both in work and outside. This requires the sales leader to be deeply analytical, a creative thinker and someone who can adapt to understand life from another person’s viewpoint. In the workplace, this could entail things like unscheduled one-to-one meetings and seemingly spontaneous encouragement or constructive criticism at the right moments. The world class sales leader has the wisdom to pull invisible strings and manage seamlessly but effectively. A leader who demonstrates mentorship will cultivate a crew of sales stars who come to work not just to better themselves but to fight for and run through walls on behalf of the leader.