People often wonder what it takes to be a sales leader. What actions reflect sales leadership? Who can be a sales leader?
We believe that anyone can show sales leadership. In fact, sales leadership tends to emerge, rather than being assigned.
By demonstrating sales leadership, anyone can grow in their level of responsibility and authority. Here are six best practices.
6 Keys to Sales Leadership
1. Set high goals for yourself.
If you want to lead people, you need to earn their respect. The best way to start is to set high goals for yourself.
We often see that people are tempted to set goals they can easily achieve. This is never a good idea. First of all, if you constantly set low expectations that are easy to exceed, people will begin to expect you to exceed any expectations. That's a dangerous precedent. People will also perceive your strategy, and they may find it off-putting.
Instead, set goals that will stretch you.
2. Hold yourself accountable to achieve your goals.
It's tempting to give yourself a break when you don't achieve your goals. After all, you have all the excuses. You know about the prospect who dragged their feet, the contract that got stuck in legal, and the unexpected acquisition that torpedoed your deal.
As Steven Covey said, “We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.”
Resist this temptation – people need to see that you are holding yourself accountable to your goals.
3. Hold high standards for yourself.
Just as you hold yourself accountable to your goals, it's important to set and keep high standards for your actions along the way.
Don't fall into the habit of stepping on or over others on your way to the top. Work to maintain strong relationships with your teammates, as well as with other departments.
Keep your promises, treat people respectfully, and give credit where it is due. People will notice.
4. Hold others accountable.
When you are holding yourself accountable, and living with high standards, you earn the right to hold others accountable. Coming from a place of integrity, you can ask people to make commitments.
When you hold others accountable, it's important to ensure that you are being consistent. You don't want to find that you tend to give some people or groups the benefit of the doubt but treat others with suspicion.
5. Call out problems quickly.
One key to sales leadership is being willing to identify and call out problems.
It can be tempting to pretend that everything is ok, or to gloss over problems, but leaders don't do that. Leaders step up, identify problems, find solutions, and build coalitions to implement them.
6. Share best practices.
One of the most important characteristics of sales leadership is sharing. Leaders are sponges, looking out for best practices they can implement. Importantly, though, they don't keep these best practices to themselves.
Develop channels where you can share best practices and get the rest of the team involved in sharing their own. You'll all learn from each other!
I hope these principles help you as you work to grow in sales leadership! For more insight into building workable, accountable relationships, check out our latest eBook.