Most sales leaders I know didn’t go into sales leadership because they demonstrated a specific skill or because they expressed an interest. Very simply put they were good salespeople so someone promoted them to a leadership position without giving them the necessary tools, professional development opportunities and/or management training to be successful in the short term.
Here are the 5 keys to sales leadership based upon my 40+ years in sales and sales leadership as well as best practices of other, successful sales leaders:
- Recruit, hire, train and retain the best talent available
- Don’t settle for the best of the worst
- Always have an active hiring pipeline in place
- Be clear and consistent in your communication
- 90% of management problems are people problems
- 90% of people problems are communication problems
- Set clear goals/expectations
- Inspect what you expect
- Know your numbers
- Sales metrics, sales management KPIs, success formulas, etc.
- Assess the readiness level of team members
- Dehire people who aren’t performing
Let’s take a deeper look at the first point; recruit, hire, train and retain the best talent available:
- Ask behavioral interview questions during the interview process
- How did you prepare for this interview?
- Describe your job search process?
- If I were to offer you the job today what would you do hit the ground running?
- How do you qualify/disqualify opportunities?
- Behavioral interviewing helps eliminate misunderstandings during the interview and reduces the candidate’s ability to mislead.
- The fact remains that a candidate’s past and present behavior is the best predictor of how he or she will behave in the future.
- Behavioral traits don’t appear on a resume… you can only learn them from interviewing the candidate.
- Establish a 30 to 45-day on boarding process to shorten the salesperson’s ramp time to productivity
- Set clear goals/activity levels
- Meets minimum, on target and overachievement
- Know what motivates your salespeople so you’re able to create the right environment for the individual salesperson as well as the entire sales team
- Celebrate successes early and often!
By John Boyens