How can sales leaders be better in 2014 than they were in 2013? I am aware that this type of question is a bit cliché, but even a starch contrarian like me cannot escape the desire to blog about this topic given the time of year. At the EcSell Institute we are fortunate to surround ourselves with some of the best sales leaders from throughout the world and if you simply pay attention and listen you can start to pick up on some common themes about what makes these leaders so successful. So in the spirit of the season let’s take a look at some of those commonalities in countdown fashion.
5. “I’m too busy” is never an excuse – Great sales leaders exhibit a remarkable ability to get the most out of their 24 hours. A big reason why can be attributed to their ability to do things well on the front end of all their responsibilities as opposed to “fighting fires” on the back end.
4. More coaching and less managing – I was talking to a Sr. VP of Sales a few months ago who believed so much in sales coaching that he changed his sales managers titles to Sales Coach from Sales Manager. His belief is that anyone can manage, but not everyone can coach and lead. It’s no wonder his team was up more than 30% in new sales growth this past year.
3. Collaboration is key – Everyone knows that if you can get someone to engage in an activity because they want to do it and not because they have to do it the end results will be better. Great sales leaders are able to build collaborative cultures that encourage ideas and feedback from everyone on the team. Being collaborative takes time and it requires effective coaching to be most impactful; which is another reason why #4 and #5 on this list are so important.
2. They are always learning – Perhaps one of the greatest things about high performers is that they are always looking for ways to get even better. It doesn’t matter the profession, the true A+ talent is always looking for ways to push themselves out of their comfort zone to drive more professional and personal growth. Exceptional sales leaders are no different. All great sales leaders do not consider themselves to be a finished product and they act accordingly.
1. They have a developmental bias – Unequivocally, the thing that all great sales leaders do best is that they have a developmental bias towards those on their team. They passionately believe that their #1 priority is helping their sales producers achieve levels of success that they could not attain without them in their lives. They take the time to understand the unique abilities and personalities of every one on their team and work with them to help them achieve their career objectives and to exceed their number.
As in all walks of life, there is no silver bullet to being an outstanding sales leader. However, working to grow in the areas listed above is a good place to start – and I know that that best sales leaders will never stop!