8 years ago
April 6, 2016

5 Critical Qualities of a Sales Leader

You need a great manager leading your team. By considering these important qualities of a sales leader, you can ensure you hire the right manager.

Rhys Metler

Sales managers often get overlooked. The sales reps are the stars and the managers stand in their shadows. You might not realize it, but sales managers can make the difference between your organization thriving or barely staying afloat. You need a sales manager that can effectively lead your sales team if you want to see business growth, increased profits, and overall success.

But not all sales leaders are alike. Some will fail while others will succeed in their roles. When hiring a new sales manager, consider these critical qualities of a sales leader.

1. The Ability to Coach

Of all the important qualities of a sales leader, the ability to coach is by far one of the most important ones for your new sales manager to have. Being a sales leader is about far more than just motivating the sales team and giving high fives. It’s about the development of talent. The best sales managers know how to identify the strengths and weaknesses of all of their sales reps and work to develop their talents in order to drive results across the board.

2. Running the Team on Data, not Gut Instinct

The best sales leaders rely on data-driven decisions. Even though a lot of their responsibilities will include boosting self-esteem, getting sales people out of ruts, and creating motivation, sales success is still largely a function of results.

Sales leaders know that the numbers matter and they take them seriously. They pay attention to their quarterly sales, their reps’ target acquirements, and their forecasts. And they make their decisions on how best to lead their teams by analyzing this data.

3. Having Vision   

Though you might consider promoting a top sales rep to manager, this might be a bad idea. Sales people are largely focused on individual sales and clients. They’re tactical and down in the trenches. But sales leaders, on the other hand, need to be able to see the big picture. Sales leadership is about setting higher-level, big picture direction and vision. Much of this vision comes from defining the sales organization’s culture by creating sales plans, defining and communicating the sales process and creating a sales playbook that communicates vision, processes, tactics, and strategies.

4. Empowering Sales People    

Micro-managing in sales is always a bad idea. Having an effective sales management style is critical to sales performance, morale, and even turnover. One of the most important qualities of a sales leader is the ability to empower sales people. Instead of stepping on their toes and micro-managing them, the greatest sales leaders empower their sales teams to sell more effectively. They give them the tactics, tools, and knowledge they need to sell on their own. They offer advice and training. They invest in the right technology. And most importantly, they trust their sales reps to succeed on their own.

5. Communicating Effectively

Everyone believes they have great communication skills—after all, they communicate every day with the people around them. But communicating effectively actually takes a lot of hard work and practice. To communicate properly in order to lead a sales team, a sales manager must take part in active listening, must be empathetic, must be clear about his goals, objectives, and purposes, and must always consider body language as well. There’s more skill to effective communication than is apparent—a lot of factors go into what a person says. And the best sales leaders are great communicators.

The sales organization is unique. It’s a tough department to manage, and only the strongest sales leaders will succeed in doing so effectively. When hiring a new sales manager, consider these five critical qualities of a sales leader to ensure that your new manager can effectively lead your sales team.



Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.