This is the 6th in my series of the Top 10 Kurlan Sales Management Functions.
#6 - LEADERSHIP
Sales Leadership includes but is not limited to:
- Strong relationships with the sales team - more about this in the 7th (next in the series) article
- Mutual Respect - you believe they respect you, but do they really? And do you respect them?
- Credibility - how credible are you? Have you done what you're asking them to do? Have you done it the same way with the same obstacles and challenges to the same market? How credible is your coaching? How consistent are you?
- Mutual Trust - if you don't trust them, how can you expect them to trust you? What should you expect them to trust you with? Your coaching? Expectations? Goals? Personal Issues? Weaknesses? Challenges? Fears?
- Presence -When you walk in the room, does everyone stop and listen?
- Track Record of Success - Well?
- Reputation of Achievement - Same as above.
- Tough but Fair - It needs to be both but do you even have one of them? Too many sales leaders are push overs and manage with their heart, emotions, and relationships.
- Strategic Thinking - The frequent finding here is that sales leaders are too tactical and not strategic enough.
- Leads by Example - Do you? Or are you guilty of limiting the leadership to preaching and motivating?
- Provides Direction and Guidance - hands on, in the field, with concrete advice versus in the office, inaccessible with vague comments about what to do.
- Sets Expectations (here is some video on setting expectations)
- Top grades the Sales Force with A Players
- Liaison to the Executive Team
- Takes Responsibility for the Team's Failures -vs. placing blame.
- Gives Credit for the Team's Success - vs. taking all the credit.
- Able to Look Under the Hood (here's some video on looking under the hood)
Some will scan through this list and brag that they have some or many of the credentials on the list but I present two warnings:
- You believe you have things like credibility, mutual trust, presence, etc. How do you know if you've never asked the people who report to you through an anonymous survey or a third party? Same goes for Strategic Thinking - how do you know unless you have others to compare your strategies with? Assessments are very helpful here!
- It is not enough to have most of the credentials on the list - you must have them all and the list I provided is not a complete list, but the most important credentials on the list.
My guest on this week's edition of Meet the Sales Experts was Sales Development Expert Jim Lobaito, who shared some great sales and leadership advice. Jim further explained this leadership gem on the show but here's the gist of it:
What is your competitive advantage? If you were aquired, would your competitive advantage change? If not, you don't have one. If you asked each of your salespeople would you get different answers from each? If yes, you don't have one.
Jim had some more sales leadership advice. He said, "As we go through the recession, businesses are in one of two buckets:
- Your business or industry has been thrown off the path - and it will return - and you simply have to hang on until then;
- Your business or industry has fundamentally changed - and it will never return to the way it was - and you must change.
Click here to listen to the show. Click here to contact Jim.
(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan