What’s the formula for success in a sales department? Are good leaders born or made? And what exactly characterizes a sales leader?

Leadership is one of the most valued qualities and with good reason too. True leaders not only practice professional excellence but they also use their surroundings to help them achieve the very best results. A similar conclusion was drawn in a study carried out by Steve W. Martin, where sales reps who exceeded their annual quota were asked to rate their bosses. In approximately 70% of cases, the sales manager was rated excellent or above average by their team.  Coincidence? Or just good leadership? So what’s their secret? What skills do true leaders possess to achieve such results?  Does it come down to innate qualities or is it something we can learn for ourselves?

The qualities of the most successful sales leaders

Below are the most fundamental qualities of any true sales leader. The following list refers to responsibility-holding professionals within the sales department, such as the manager of the team, the sales manager and the sales director etc.

TARGET DRIVEN
A true leader sets goals and knows exactly how to achieve them. This requires the capacity to plan. This is one of the characteristics highlighted by Steve W. Martin in his study, in which he interviewed approximately 1000 sales team managers.

A DECISION-MAKER
In the day to day running of companies and especially in a department as dynamic as sales, all sorts of circumstances requiring quick thinking can occur. However, not everyone has the capacity to evaluate a situation, feel the weight of possible course of action nor take a fast and accurate decision to solve a problem. The sales leader, on the other hand, has the ability to extract relevant information from their environment, whilst providing personal resources to overcome indecision and act with diligence and speed.

DON’T FEAR FAILURE
This point is related to the previous. Often indecision and the lack of conviction go hand in hand with fear of doing something wrong… In one word, failure. However, a good sales leader knows that failure is a part of the process of achieving success. Where others see obstacles, a leader identifies an opportunity. They are not intimidated by risks.

POSITIVITY TRANSMITS ENTHUSIASM
We already spoke about energy thieves in a previous post and how they drain you of the strength you need to work. Well a sales leader is the opposite; their positive attitude provides you with the surge of motivation you need to work.

A leader is proactive and enthusiastic, boosting the energy of the team and in turn providing them with the incentive to work harder. That’s how they often manage to get the whole team working to their full potential and bring in results.

SUPPORTIVE COACH
They’re very demanding with regards to results but they’ll do all they can to help their team reach the top. A good leader will take time to lend a hand to each member of their team, going over statistics and finding the correct path to achieve their goals.

They encourage sales reps to focus their energy on selling better and more, doing all they can to avoid handing over any inefficient or tedious tasks since these only make us less productive.

Sales leaders provide sales reps with the best technology. That’s why ForceManager was created, a CRM that strengthens sales leadership and talent among sales reps, freeing them from the least creative of tasks as well as the most repetitive parts of sales allowing true talent to surface.

It’s undeniable that some people have a natural talent and an innate inclination towards leadership. However, it’s important to note that all of the qualities above can be learned or strengthened, so you too can develop your leadership skills.

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