Sales leaders wear many hats, but what attributes do top performing sales leaders exhibit consistently? Based on experience, below are the top five key attributes I feel are inherent in a successful sales leader:
1. Inspire Greatness
Successful sales leaders inspire others to achieve greatness. This creates a culture of limitless possibilities. If done properly, you’ll enable sales representatives to aspire and achieve levels of performance they themselves never thought possible.
Coaching Tip: Have your sales representative create stretch goals they do not believe they can possibly achieve, then encourage them regularly during 1-on-1's to brainstorm ways to achieve those goals. (Shoot for the stars, if you don’t make it; you’ll still land on the moon.)
2. Integrity & Trust
The foundation of every relationship is built upon integrity & trust. This critical attribute takes a lifetime to achieve and an instant to destroy.
Coaching Tip: This can be built by following through with commitments, staying true to your word, leading by example, being a great role-model, lots of communication, and of course time.
3. Master the art of Execution
In a sales environment, there are always multiple tasks going on & it’s important that each one is followed through to execution in a skilled & thoughtful way. This includes but is not limited to commitments made to internal & external customers, sales representatives, your peers, sales leadership, etc.
Coaching Tip: Do what you say you will do. (Do it well, give everything you have into the task, and your efforts will build your sales leadership brand.)
4. Coach, Develop, and Mentor your Team
Great teams are built not through individual greatness, but rather through the wonderful actions of everyone you have developed working as a cohesive unit.
Coaching Tip: Have a genuine interest in the people you work with and help them achieve their career aspirations. Personally, this is something I really enjoy doing because I feel rewarded as others achieve their career goals. Something can be said about a person who takes the time to mentor others… done correctly; this is not an easy task.
5. Communicate Effectively
Great leaders communicate clearly & persuasively through written, verbal, and non-verbal mediums. More importantly, they are excellent listeners with the ability to absorb information in a meaningful way.
Coaching Tip: Keeping open lines of communication between team members is critical. This falls back on the importance of integrity & trust (#2). If your direct reports trust you, then they will openly share information without fear.