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A Few Characteristics of Good Sales Leaders

At the top level, sales-based companies are necessarily metrics-focused, driven by tangible results. With numbers as the ultimate deliverables, that thinking can pervade the approach some sales leaders use in managing their teams. However, if that’s all they focus on as leaders, it can be a sure way to stunt rather than encourage growth. The managers who help their teams see greater success share some additional approaches and traits.

  • Good leaders—in any organization, sales or otherwise—are often characterized by the talent they hire. Identifying and drawing good candidates sets the foundation for good teams, and the best leaders surround themselves with the best. Even more, they are able to engage and retain those employees, creating a more solid, substantial team.
  • Then, with the base of that good team, great leaders can help spur employee growth through solid communication. Clearly outlined expectations, frequent check-ins, regular feedback, and clear and transparent company policies and updates are all important tools in the good manager’s kit. Especially if sales employees are on the road or if they office elsewhere, good sales leaders can bridge the gaps through thorough communication.
  • Finally, good leaders are strong supports for their employees, letting them take appropriate risks, pushing them to learn new skills, and empowering them to be the best they can be. Everyone benefits when employees grow, and the best leaders do all they can to make that happen.

And that brings it back to the metrics that sales organizations prize. For sales leaders, the numbers are the most telling element of the role, and it’s important that their teams achieve the targets. Equally important is that leaders develop the strategy for how to achieve those numbers—and for how to achieve even more. At this level, good sales leaders need to understand the data and be able to analyze it; they need to see and recognize the impacts of the metrics and understand the overarching company plans and goals to be able to shape both a short- and a long-term plan for their teams as well as for each individual contributing to the teams. Even more, the truly good sales leaders are the ones who can incorporate and embody all of it—hiring talent, communicating well, supporting and empowering employees, and shaping a vision with the numbers—in their everyday style, leading their teams to great success.

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