5 ways you can excel as a sales leader

Leadership is not just a position, rather it is a responsibility. Sales leaders play a crucial role in ensuring business growth and sustainability. However, getting into a leadership position does not guarantee you success. And you face competition from your colleagues as well.

Or as a business, you wish to develop a high performing sales leadership that contributes actively to generating new business.

This article will teach you to perform well as a leader, and create a highly capable leadership. I will also explain how you can implement each of the 5 tips discussed to get the maximum results.

So here we go.

1. Encourage your team to plan

Planning plays a vital role in sales, as it does in any other stream of work. You probably are doing it already. But to lead a team of sales people to achieve rapid growth, you need to encourage them also to plan their lead generation activities, business meetings, or any other work related activity for that matter.

This planning could be at three levels

  • Planning for content: preparing for pitches and proposal presentations.
  • Organizing your daily schedule for maximum productivity.
  • Planning for issue resolution: required especially when you are into account management, will help you in managing customer escalations and complaints.

To excel as a sales leader, you need to train your team members to do proper planning in a way that each of them is able to achieve his/her individual goals and targets. You could try creating and sharing a work calendar. Each person can modify it to fit his/her schedule. But the idea is for everyone to stick to it once created. You can find a few work calendar templates here.

2. Ask them to think short term as well as long term

One of the most common mistakes made by new sales people is that they only think short term. They are restricted by planning to achieve short term goals such as pitching temporary solutions, or working in a favorite location, or getting opportunities to travel etc.



While all the above are important – and sometimes have a long term impact as well – there are other aspects that needed to be planned for – which are more long term in nature – such as:

  • Working in a team which provides more learning opportunities
  • Take long term solutions to the market
  • Being able to do a type of work, that is highly revered in the industry.
  • Working in areas where they can apply their skills the most
  • Preparing for future business opportunities

Now how does asking others to plan for the long term help you excel as a leader?

First of all, when you charter a long term plan for your team members, they tend to stay in the company for a longer period of time. Also, they continue to grow and become more productive over time. This contributes to the team’s success and hence yours. Further, this also helps in creating a solid pipeline that extends to years to come.

3. Keep novelty and innovation as a priority

Innovation is not just for those who are in the technology sector. It applies to each and every aspect of your business. And sales is no different.

If your organization has an innovation culture, then you have a favorable environment to impose that upon your subordinates. Even otherwise, encouraging innovation helps you stand out, both in the eyes of your team members and the senior management.

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Now how can you be innovative in sales as a leader? Following are a few ways:

  • Train your team to make an exciting sales pitch. You could try using interactive screens, voicebots, virtual reality gadgets etc. for this purpose.
  • Contribute innovative ideas in creating product and service offerings. Spending time with prospects will teach you as well as your team, what sells the most. And you will be able to know what are the latest innovations in the industry. So ask your team to come up with such innovative ideas, that could eventually be turned into products or services.
  • Process innovation for better service delivery. If you are in the B2B service sector, the way you deliver your services matters a lot. Or even if in you are in B2C, that requires equipment repair and maintenance (like an AC or water purifier), you ought to make your service convenient for your customer. Apply¬† automation to make it easy for customers to raise complaints and give feedback.

By doing all these, you are encouraging your team to think, innovate and act. This provides enough learning opportunities and excitement to your people. And your credibility as a leader improves. So is the overall performance of the team.

4. Align your team members with organizational goals

It is extremely important that the sales team be aware of the organization’s strategy and goals. That helps them to decide what to sell, how to pitch, and what regions to focus on.

Organizational goals could also be in terms of improving market penetration in a specific geography, growing one or two business divisions more than others, pushing a new product into the market etc.

Whatever they are, your responsibility as a sales leader is to ensure that your team members are well aware, and align their actions with these goals. You need to give them all the necessary resources and support required for this. Reviewing their work calendars is one of the ways of providing support.

The idea here is to lead your team in the right direction. It helps them to fulfill their KRAs (Key Result Areas), thereby fulfilling yours. When your team does well, you also do well.

5. Showcase your knowledge and wisdom

Giving guidance to your employees does help you excel as a leader. However, your core expertise is more important. With your experience, you should be able to bring to the table, impeccable knowledge and wisdom, that outclass any of your team members.

This helps you sound more credible, and earn the respect of your team members. You set the path for them to follow. When you showcase your own knowledge, it becomes easy for you to persuade others to learn continuously and take up more challenging tasks.

However, this has more advantages outside your team.

Your knowledge becomes your key differentiator, and helps you beat internal competition to your leadership position. And if you are strong enough to become a thought leader, and lead the next wave of innovation in your industry, your position in the company will never be questioned.

That wraps up my top tips to excel as a leader. Whether you are a business professional or running your own business, try these out. Or are you already using any of these techniques? Let me know in the comments section. 

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