3 years ago
January 5, 2015

What it Takes to Be a Great Sales Leader

A great sales leader is more than a leader, he or she wears many different hats depending on the needs of the day.

Rhys Metler

A great sales leader is more than a leader, and more than a great sales person; he or she wears many different hats depending on the needs of the day. Every great sales leader has different strengths and may be better known for a few outstanding abilities, but what great sales leaders share is the ability to take on almost any leadership task when required and succeed.

A Great Sales Leader Is a Great Sales Coach

Having an expert understanding in the fundamentals of selling is not enough to create a great sales leader; a great sales leader must also be able to impart understanding of these fundamentals to others and provide motivation. Of course, great coaching also requires that a coach understand motivation is more than just compensation. This is why great sales leaders also tend to be great sales coaches, who take the time to teach all members of the sales team how to do things better. As part of this, great sales leaders:

  • Make time to observe their sales people in the field while they are selling on a regular basis to confirm the areas where coaching can be of the greatest benefit.
  • Collaborate with their sales people when developing and executing coaching plans and set concrete goals to benchmark progress.
  • Know that promising sales people are headed to bigger and better things, and make sure career milestones are reached by coordinating training, coaching, and face time between their top executives and sales people.

A Great Sales Leader Is a Great Strategist

Top sales leaders usually have some responsibility for developing their organizations’ sales strategies, and almost always take responsibility for the performance of those strategies. Not all sales leaders are born with an inherent understanding of how to make a strategy work, but all great sales leaders learn as much as they can about this aspect of sales leadership and turn it to the advantage of their sales team and overall organization. This involves:

  • Knowing that any goal requires progress, and setting incremental metrics to measure progress towards each goal.
  • Tracking metrics that can be quantified in hard numbers in order to identify progress and provide direction to the sales team.
  • Keeping the sales team abreast of short-, mid-, and long-term goals, and ensuring that all members of the sales team know what is expected and how to fulfill their individual part in the overarching game plan.

A Great Sales Leader Is a Hiring Master

In many ways, a great sales team starts with a great hiring process. A great sales leader is aware of how much impact successful hiring strategies have on his or her sales team, and uses every tool at their disposal to ensure quality in the hiring process. Although a great sales leader can work with an average performer to improve output and be successful, a great sales leader knows that this is only possible if sales people who truly want to succeed are hired. With this in mind, great sales leaders:

  • Design hiring processes that recruit for the best, deploying carefully written job descriptions through the channels best suited to attract top performers and vetting sales candidates for skills and potential throughout the process.
  • Look for sales people who are willing and able to involve themselves in career development for constant improvement.
  • Match sales candidates to the most appropriate position for their skills, knowledge, and potential to create value for all interested parties.

Finally, great sales leaders know the value of sales recruiters, and use the knowledge and tools these professionals can provide wherever possible. They are able to do this because they recognize the value of experts, and call on outside expertise whenever such a move can provide stronger benefits than acting alone. Great sales recruiters help great sales leaders reach new milestones by partnering to create stronger sales teams, which allows great sales leaders to focus on moving forward.

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.