Great sales leaders are intentional about their success. They plan, closely evaluate results, coach daily and drive an environment of recognition. Are you doing all these things?
People in Sales Leadership positions have a tough job. They are responsible for driving their teams towards performance success, which requires having the ability to graciously juggle multiple balls in the air at the same time. Do all sales leaders do this well? I wish I could say yes…But no, they don’t.
If you are a sales leader and want to do what great leaders do, let embrace this very important principle:
Here is a quick guide to get you started.
1. PLAN TO FOCUS ON WHAT MAKES AN IMPACT
So many times, I have heard: “Mari, I can plan my day, but there are things that come up and I just have to take care of them”. I get it. That is a reality, but I ask back: How many of the things that come up need to be taken care right now, or by you? Is this an opportunity for someone else to learn and grow in their roles?
Here’s my personal guarantee: When you set up a plan to lead important matters that move you, your teams and your organization forward, things will get accomplished. The key is to stay committed to it.
If you are having trouble setting priorities, find a mentor to help you do it. Asking for help is perfectly fine. You being a leader doesn’t mean people expect you to know everything.
Make it a goal to finish the day having accomplished meaningful work. If that wasn’t the case, re-think your planning strategy.
2. EVALUATE KEY PERFORMANCE BUSINESS METRICS CONSTANTLY
You should be aware of how your team is performing at all times. Looking at performance results should be part of your daily plan, and it will generate questions for you to focus on and add to your ever-evolving plan.
How’s performance trending towards goals?
What KPIs need extra attention?
Who in your team is improving?
Who is dropping performance?
Your actions should be based on aggregate performance. You may want to check for daily outliers, but plans must be based on trends.
3. COACH TO INSPIRE CHANGE
With this I mean: Empower your people with valuable tools and confidence to get them closer to mastering their roles. Instead of telling them what to do, this is an opportunity to get them involved in the improvement process by asking them questions like:
What are the steps you need to take to move closer to your goal?
What do you think happened with that last customer? If you had the opportunity to do it again, how would you approach it?
Two things happen when you COACH instead of TELL:
People feel they have a saying and autonomy around their own improvement plan
There is a higher commitment level towards change because they came up with it
4. RECOGNIZE & APPRECIATE
People will remember if you didn’t notice their progress. I know, it is hard to keep up with everyone’s wins, but figure out a system that works to stay aware with anyone deserving recognition. This is as important as keeping an eye on performance.
There is no way for you to successfully run a great performing team if people don’t feel valued and appreciated.
A few small gestures that will go a long way are:
-Go to their desk and say: “Linda, great job finishing number one on the board last week!” (Tip: You increase the impact when you are specific).
-When pass them by the hall, give them a high five and say: “Hey Rob! Amazing close ratio and productivity yesterday. Impressive!”.
-Send a quick note: “Casey, your presentation was incredible. It was clear you worked hard on putting those numbers together. Thank you”.
Your recognition and appreciation must be genuine, specific and timely.
I often heard leaders in my team say to their people as they had finished their shift and going home: “Bye Jamie, great job today!”
And then I would follow with the question: “What did they do today to earn that GREAT JOB from you?”
A lot of times I didn’t get acceptable answers.
I would then discourage them to use any form of recognition unless they had a clear reason why they were doing it.
Yes, it is expected that you know what type of day each person in your team had. But if for whatever reason something happened that kept you disconnected, a simple “Have a great night Tom” will do.
Your path towards becoming a great leader might be simpler than it feels at times. It does require for you to be intentional about your improvement, disciplined to focus on what’s important, and humble to appreciate the learning lessons coming your way.
#BREAK2BE THE BEST LEADER YOU CAN BE