3 years ago
January 7, 2015

What It Takes To Be A Sales Leader

The sales leader is continually ahead of the game, looking for new ways to do things and encouraging others to follow.

Rhys Metler

sales leaderThink about two people you have met in your career, one of whom you would call a sales leader and the other you would call a sales manager. The sales leader is continually ahead of the game, looking for new ways to do things and encouraging others to follow. The sales manager is only reacting to change that is pressed in on the sales department from the outside, scrambling to find a way to make new processes work and still get things done. Although both occupy the same level in the sales department hierarchy, the sales leader is the one who is continually getting ahead. What is the sales leader doing differently that you can emulate to advance your own career?

1. A sales leader develops sales staff.

Through coaching, training, and mentoring, sales leaders make sure that their team is continually developing their skills. A great sales leader knows that he or she is only as good as the supporting sales team, and works hard to make sure that that team is performing as well as it can be – and then sets new goals for better performance. Team members are treated by the sales leader as individuals who make important contributions, and the sales leader works with them confidentially to make sure that each individual’s career is continually progressing, instead of stalling out at a level others might call acceptable.

2. A sales leader sets goals.

Setting quantifiable goals is a priority for sales leaders. It isn’t enough to say that you want to be the best in sales for your industry; you need to research and determine what numbers you need to meet to make that goal, and what each sales person’s contribution towards that goal will be. At the same time, sales leaders don’t set goals that are unreachable. Setting incremental goals over a period of weeks or months can inspire a sales team to perform, and also sets benchmarks for progress.

3. A sales leader leads by action.

If you’ve ever wondered what made one sales leader stand out from others to engender loyalty and trust in their team, the answer is probably “walking the talk” – that leader was most likely doing exactly the same things that they expected of sales people, without complaint. A good sales leader always leads by example with a positive attitude.

4. A sales leader gets things done.

In any industry, a manager who can’t get tasks completed has a disheartening effect on their team. In sales departments, a sales manager who can’t get work done on time and help others accomplish their goals can have a hugely demotivating impact on their team members. Sales leaders know this and have developed their skills to ensure that disagreements don’t derail progress.

5. A sales leader loves change.

Sales departments are change leaders for their organizations. New products, new clients, and new ideas cycle through sales departments on a regular basis, and sales leaders recognize that all of these changes represent a chance to do things better, even if the previous process was “working.” The sales leader will ensure that the sales department as a whole embraces these changes and sees the opportunities for continual improvement while remaining focused on bigger and better goals.

It takes energy and drive to be a sales leader, as well as the ability to motivate others and continually look ahead to the next goal. However, if you have what it takes to be a star sales person, you already have the base you need to become a sales leader. With effort and determination, you can reach the next rung in your sales career ladder and become a sales leader.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.