Evolving Into a Better Sales Leader
Leadership; many people want it, some people have it, and few people harness it correctly. So what does it take to separate the true greats from the “so-so’s”?
In sales especially, many factors can impact a team’s productivity and drive without the proper guidance and reinforced strategies that a leader provides – whether that be prospect rejection, lack of recognition from a big win, or even a disjointed pipeline strategy. However, a leader who does not know how to pinpoint the cause of their team’s success and capitalize on it can be just as detrimental. So what withholds the secret to the ideal person in charge?
Built In LA sat down with a sales professional who has figured out the art of kindling her team’s fire while keeping employees both supported and engaged.
“Sales leadership is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach because each person is different,” Amyra Rand, vice president of sales at Ziflow, said.
Looking for these kinds of conditions in your career? Read on below.
Ziflow’s online proofing platform simplifies how teams review and approve creative content. Rand said that it takes a balanced understanding of both emotional intelligence and analytical prowess to successfully guide a team through the machine of sales.
What are the key skills or characteristics of a great sales leader?
The very best sales leaders are emotionally intelligent and analytical. Knowing how to motivate your individual team members, help them pull out of a slump, build their confidence after a loss or a rough month, coach them after a bad call and support them in wins and losses are all key strategies to getting team members through the roller coaster of sales. This is not a “one size fits all” approach because each person is different – this is where the emotional intelligence comes into play.
On the analytical side, knowing your numbers is one thing; understanding what they are telling you is another. Data tells a story, so when things are going well a good sales leader will understand “why” and capitalize on it. And when things aren’t going well, they will scour the data to diagnose the problem and put plans in action to turn the situation around. Knowing where to look and what you’re looking at is the first step to solving the problem; otherwise you are just shooting in the dark.
What have you done to strengthen or improve these skills/characteristics in yourself?
I have been through a lot of leadership training including DiSC, Social Styles, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Steven Covey), and 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (Patrick Lencioni). I have participated in and led a number of sales training sessions from Spin Selling, Perfect Meeting, Great Demos, Challenger, and Solution Selling (to name a few). I have read a lot of books. I have had (and continue to have) many mentors who I rely on for guidance and counsel. When I felt like my learning had stalled early in my career, I got an MBA. I guess the message here is you have to keep learning.
Knowing your numbers is one thing; understanding what they are telling you is another.”
What’s the number one piece of advice you would share with sales professionals who are just starting out in their leadership journey?
Professionals who are just starting out in their leadership journey: You work for your team, not the other way around. Be humble – you do NOT know everything. Be transparent. If there’s a problem, talk to the team and have them be part of the solution. If things are going well, scream it from the mountaintops. Praise in public and reprimand in private.