Whether it is needed to help a military unit reach an objective, a sports team to earn a championship, or a sales team to meet and exceed quota, effective leadership always involves certain basic principles. While many people conflate the role of management with being a leader, these roles actually represent different aspects of getting any job done.
Understanding the Role of Leaders
While the subject itself is worthy of your study, we seek here to focus on the issue relative to sales team performance. In a world where business development metrics and sales analytics are available in abundance, there is a great priority placed on managing numbers. However, most business experts will tell you that too many companies and sales teams are over-managed and under-led.
The key to leadership here is the vital role of defining the goals that the team must meet— and providing clear guidance in working towards those goals. Note that we’ve avoided using the word quota here. Experience has shown that sales managers who focus on just the numbers, and not on the struggles and accomplishments of team members themselves, can actually have an adverse effect on performance.
If you really want to supercharge your sales team, consider how you can inspire improved performance, rather than demanding it. To that end, consider 5 habits successful sales leaders develop and exhibit in their roles.
1. Create and Communicate a Vision That Uses Objective Measures That Are Greater Than the Numbers.
Your troops know they need to make the numbers— but they also need to know what it means, other than a paycheck. Get them excited about the role they play in making your company great and in meeting the needs of your customers. If your sales people truly believe their widget is good for the customer, they’re more likely to convince that customer of the fact.’
2. Lay Out, and Continue to Update, a Clear Plan of Action for Getting to the Objective
Make sure to include both group and individuals KPIs. Staring at the proverbial elephant and knowing you have to eat it is daunting, knowing how to get down that one bite at a time makes the job doable.
3. Build a Team In Culture and Reality, Not In Word Alone
Leaders understand the importance of culture as a determining element of success. Understand every group of people has a culture— it is a leader’s job to ensure the culture is one of commitment to success while enjoying the journey that the action plan dictates.
4. Correct In Private and Congratulate In Public
Leadership demands that you put a priority on the habit of team development. As your business development metrics help you identify specific problems or personnel weaknesses, move to correct them in a positive, proactive manner. If your efforts work, you’ve added a more valuable, effective member. If they don’t get the results you desire, you can act as a concerned leader to solve the problem— the other members will know how you’ve handled the situation in either case. When it comes to success in meeting business development metrics, you simply can’t express your appreciation in too public a manner.
If you see the program is generating more leads or less than expected, for example, you don’t just put on the brakes or start pushing harder. Instead, you take definitive action— engaging a professional call center to take advantage of the extra prospects or to take up the slack while you reevaluate the program and KPIs it’s built upon.
RDI Corporation was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Blue Ash, Ohio. We provide precise business solutions through a fully integrated outsourcing model and our clients ranged from mid-sized corporations to distinguished Fortune 500 companies.