Not all great sales people make great sales leaders or sales managers and that’s because each of these roles requires a very different set of skills. I am often asked to help support individuals with this transition, just last year we developed an Academy for a group of aspiring sales leaders that would enable them to develop the skills that would help them to move successfully from sales person to sales leader. Over the next 5 weeks, I’m going to share with you our 5 Core Disciplines of Sales Leadership and what you can do to move from a great sales person to a great sales leader.
Since personal development on any level must start with a clear understanding of one’s own strengths and weaknesses, the first element of our Academy process starts with a 360° leadership survey. We are all capable of compiling a list of our own strengths and weaknesses, but what really matters as a leader is understanding how others perceive you. So, whatever method you choose to gain this feedback from others, make sure you get it and be sure to gain a range of opinions; from your colleagues and peers, to those both junior and senior to you. And, it should go without saying, but don’t just ask the people who you know will say good things about you, this is for your development, take ownership.
Once you have a clear understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, you can begin work on developing the skills required to be a great sales leader. We have identified 5 Core Disciplines of Leadership:
- Setting the Standard
- Communicating with Impact
- Executing with Excellence
- Maximising Potential
- Demonstrating a High-Performance Approach
This week, I’m going to focus on ‘Setting the Standard’. What I mean by this is; have you clearly articulated your own core values and do you consistently behave in a way that aligns with those values?
The first question to ask yourself then, is are you clear on your own values? What things, which matter most to you, do you want to determine how you act as a leader? Presented with a list of values you may well identify, or aspire, to most, if not all, of them. However, this is one of those situations where less is more. Trying to focus on a large number of values only serves to dilute the importance of each as they inevitably come into conflict with one another. These conflicts force you to choose one over the other, making consistency almost impossible. Instead, stick to 3-5 core values and rank them based on their importance to you. That way, clear on your priorities, should these five ever come into conflict, you can be consistent in your actions.
Ensuring your team are clear on your values and consistently behaving in accordance with those values, not only shows the team what they can expect from you, but also what you expect from them.
There are many different styles of leadership and understanding more about those styles will help inform your own style, which is why my final recommendation here to anyone moving, or looking to move, from sales person to sales leader, is to do your research. There are a plethora of books out there on leadership. Look too at the leaders you work with – which ones have credibility with their teams and why? Yes, this takes time and commitment, but change doesn’t just happen when you just wish it to, you need to take action!
Next week I’ll take a look at the importance of communication to the role of sales leader. Read the next post
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