In a survey of salespeople, respondents rated management effectiveness as more important to them than base compensation, commission, and job flexibility when choosing a job opportunity. That’s likely because effective sales leaders have the mindset and ability to help each member of the sales team perform to their potential.
Helping your sales leaders build the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully lead a high-performing sales team will help the entire organization achieve success. Here are four ways to build world-class sales leaders.
Shift Focus to Modern Sales Methods
With the introduction of new technology and increased availability of information, sales has changed dramatically. Salespeople can no longer succeed by selling on price or features; they must be able to successfully employ modern selling techniques such as insight and solution selling. Furthermore, sales leaders can’t be effective if they’re relying on outdated sales methods or a process that salespeople won’t adopt. To improve the effectiveness of sales leaders, it’s necessary to help them move from a product-selling mindset to a solution-selling mindset. Doing so will help them lead their sales reps to adopt techniques that attract today’s sophisticated buyers, such as:
- Successfully advancing through the various stages of the sales relationship
- Effectively uncovering the total needs of an individual client
- Adapting their approach to address clients’ spoken and unspoken buying criteria
Introduce Leadership Development
Leadership development for sales leaders provides the skills and knowledge they need to build a high-performance culture within the sales organization. In addition to promoting a mindset focused on modern selling techniques, leadership development also helps sales leaders master behaviors such as:
- Modeling desired behaviors and reinforcing key messages in a way that motivates and inspires others
- Setting goals and building accountability among sales staff
- Delivering feedback for improved results
- Communicating effectively and creating an atmosphere of trust
Sales leaders are in an ideal position to coach their teams because they have already demonstrated sales success and have valuable insights to offer. In a report by Forbes Insights, 74 percent of surveyed sales executives reported that coaching and mentoring of sales reps was the most important role front-line sales managers play. Though coaching is an essential part of leading others, it doesn’t always come naturally. Thankfully, it is possible to teach sales leaders how to coach the individuals on their teams. Training in the art of coaching helps sales leaders become more effective in helping others improve performance, build confidence, and become more accountable for sales outcomes.
Reinforce New Behaviors
New skills require ongoing reinforcement, or else they can become rusty or forgotten. Training reinforcement deepens the impact of your sales training investment by helping to ensure newly learned behaviors become ingrained in everyday sales activities. One study found that organizations that use post-training reinforcement see 34 percent more first-year sales reps achieve quota. Reinforcement is necessary for sales managers as well. They can benefit from reinforcement in the form of ongoing coaching and support from their own managers, as well as training content reinforcement and assessments that measure and build learning retention.
Sales effectiveness is at the heart of any business, and building an excellent sales team starts with developing sales leaders. Great sales leaders not only impart valuable sales knowledge and effective sales techniques to the individuals on their team, but they also create an environment in which each salesperson is positioned to grow and develop to their full potential. With the benefit of coaching and leadership development that shifts mindsets and builds relevant skills, every organization can have world-class sales leaders.