Have you ever known of an elite athlete who rose to excellence without the help of a coach?
An athlete is only on top of his/her game with a good coach by their side. This coach is the mentor-figure who identifies the strengths to be worked on to make them stronger and the weaknesses to be converted into strengths.
This rule applies to organizational setups as well.
Sales is a critical department for any organization. As the market dynamics keep changing, it becomes the responsibility of the sales teams to maintain client conversions and keep the client pipeline full. But can you have a successful sales team without an equally effective sales leadership? No.
Why do sales managers need to become sales leaders?
Sales managers are the ones who have to find avenues to maximize the productivity and performance of their teams. While the sale incentives do aid the process, the onus of transforming good salespeople to great ones rests with the sales managers. Since sales performance has a direct impact on the organizational bottom line, it is the responsibility of organizations to help sales managers grow into sales leaders; leaders who support the organization’s vision and help set its future direction.
What organizations must do to develop sales leaders from their sales managers
Create an environment of continuous development
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other” – John F Kennedy
To create leaders of tomorrow, organizations have to create an environment that fosters learning and development for their sales managers. Learning and development here extend beyond the textual learning mechanisms and the academic part of learning.
When grooming managers to become sales leaders, organizations have to focus on creating programs that are personalized and keep in mind the individual’s areas of improvement. A one-size-fits-all program will hardly help in developing visionary sales leaders.
Organizations need to employ measurable metrics (such as behavioral skills analysis, personality assessment tests, etc.) to determine the learning gaps and coaching needs of sales managers and then pair the right mentor with the mentee. Proactive two-way feedback, measurable progress, and privacy help in creating an environment of continuous learning and self-improvement. This helps in the effective development of leadership qualities in sales managers.
Inspire passion and commitment
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire” – Ferdinand Foch
Incentive programs have so far been the ‘go-to’ strategy to keep sales teams motivated to get more business. However, these incentives are not enough when you want your managers to become leaders.
For this to happen, organizations have to capably identify high performing and high-value managers. They then have to capably stoke enough fire in them to do more and reach greater heights.
But identifying high-value managers is just one piece of the puzzle. Organizations need to pair these managers with the right coaches and mentors who can help these managers strengthen their own potential, help them realize how far they can go, and fire up the passion and commitment that they will need to excel in leadership roles.
Develop and communicate a sales vision
“All good thoughts and ideas mean nothing without action” – Mahatma Gandhi
Without clarity, there is only chaos. To inspire people to work towards a common goal, it becomes imperative to communicate those goals and the vision with clarity.
The starting point for organizations looking at converting their sales managers to sales leaders is by developing a clear sales vision. It is this vision that directs all initiatives, methodologies, and processes.
This vision has to be communicated clearly to the sales managers and should become a part of their vocabulary and then consequently of their teams. Clear communication of this vision inspires the team and helps in firing up strategies that enable the expected outcomes.
Differentiate between Leadership and Management
“Management is doing things right. Leadership is doing the right things” – Peter Drucker
A good manager will make sure the job is done. A leader will find the the right way to go about it. Leaders give direction. They are the trailblazers who lead teams and organizations to success. In the journey of developing leaders, organizations have to help their managers identify, understand, and internalize this difference.
It becomes essential to help managers learn that while their teams might be climbing the ladder of success, it is important to ensure that the ladder is leaning against the right wall. By helping their managers understand this difference, organizations can develop sales leaders who then build high-performing sales teams.
Provide an experience-sharing forum for sales managers
“Knowledge is power. Knowledge shared is power multiplied” – Robert Boyce
Knowledge is a valuable commodity for organizations. It is also a transferrable commodity, one that can be shared easily. Sharing knowledge, learning, and expertise helps organizations create a lasting legacy…one that not only helps existing employees but also becomes a valuable knowledge repository for new ones.
This is a valuable piece of information for organizations on the journey to develop leaders. To achieve this, organizations should provide a forum where sales managers can ask questions, share learnings and best practices amongst themselves, and grow together.
Organizations have a plethora of employees working for them. There are self-motivated ones. There are the rock-stars. There are the hard workers. But, to become the future leaders of the organization, these employees need direction and coaching. Given the dynamic landscape that sales managers operate in and the impact that they have on the organization’s bottom line, it only makes sense to coach them for success and help them become leaders of tomorrow.
Let’s connect to discuss how NumlyEngage™ can help you grow the next generation of business and sales leaders.