5 Sales Leadership Best Practices to Empower Your Team

Sales leadership is more than managing quotas and sales. Leaders are compassionate, humble, and know how to balance structure with autonomy. When you find a balance between management and self-motivation, your sales team will move like a well-oiled machine towards greater success. However, if there is too much micromanagement or too little structure, your sales team won’t meet their sales goals, and your turnover rates will be high.

Learn five of the best ways to be a sales leader who empowers their team to meet their quotas.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sales leaders do more than manage tasks. They are inspirational and motivational team members.
  • A democratic approach to sales leadership involves the sales team in decision-making.
  • Provide your team with a successful sales structure but allow individual freedom within that structure.
  • A data-driven approach lets you identify areas for improvement or praise instead of only focusing on quotas.
  • Training and mentorship are essential for new hires, top performers, and sales leadership alike.

What Makes Good Sales Leadership?

A sales leader needs more qualifications than only experience managing a team. While many trained professionals know how to use data and set benchmarks in workplace management, few have the characteristics required to drive a team to meet those benchmarks.

A leader that doesn’t just set standards but empowers their team will have these additional soft skills and leadership qualities:

  • Strong Communicator (Especially cross-cultural communication)
  • Listener
  • Inspirational
  • Humble
  • Ethical and trustworthy
  • Authentic behavior (You live what you teach)
  • Critical thinking
  • Flexible and creative
Sales leader versus a sales manager

Image from HighSpot

What Should a Sales Leader Avoid?

A sales leader should avoid extreme managerial styles that involve micromanaging your team or detaching from your sales representatives.

When you position yourself as an absolute authority, you will make decisions on your own without outside influence or input. This can breed discontentment among your team. You also risk missing valuable information your crew has to help you make relevant decisions.

Giving your team complete control over their efforts only works in rare instances where they are self-motivated and highly experienced. They will likely lose motivation without adequate guidance in most cases. You also miss out on opportunities to train and mentor your team to improve their performance further.

5 Practices Every Sales Leader Should Employ

Learn how to be a sales leader by replacing extreme sales leadership styles with these five practices that promote autonomy while offering structure so your team feels empowered.

1. Include Your Team in Decision-Making

In 2020, nearly 40% of sales teams didn’t meet their revenue goals. However, of those that outperformed their goals, 65% had a dedicated sales enablement team member. This essential function works between the sales leader and reps to ensure each person has the tools and training necessary to succeed.

40% of organizations didn’t meet their revenue goals

Image from HubSpot

Involving your team in decision-making helps you set attainable quotas and identify potential challenges that could negatively affect their performance. You can use a sales enablement team or involve yourself in the sales process to collect feedback when making sales decisions.

2. Offer Incentives and Bonuses

There are dozens of options for sales compensation. A basic commission plan can help you achieve your sales goals but doesn’t motivate them to outperform their quotas. Building a sales compensation plan includes incentivizing top performers to continue making sales without discouraging low performers who might struggle to meet their goals.

For example, a tiered compensation plan works well by paying your team members depending on their performance tier to encourage them to continue to improve. Annual bonuses and friendly competition are also effective ways to encourage short-term productivity and quota attainment, especially during a new product launch or special promotion. 

As you create incentive plans, remember to offer verbal praise and encouragement. Acknowledging your employees will motivate them to perform better. Even your top performers would like encouragement and recognition. Unfortunately, nearly 80% of employees leave their jobs because they don’t receive appreciation for their performance.

3. Offer a Clear Sense of Purpose

While 82% of leaders agree that a clear sense of purpose is essential for success, only 42% provide reports that support their purpose. Nearly 75% of employees want transparent communication from their leaders, which will help align your teams with your business goals.

To create an authentic and transparent workplace, successful sales leaders must be open about their goals and vision. Doing so provides structure and a clear framework for your employees.

An inspirational leader does more than share their purpose. You will also inspire your team to reach your goals and motivate them to perform better. One way to motivate them is to give them a sense of autonomy, so they take ownership of the business’s vision and make it their own. Providing personal autonomy in sales will also support each team member’s strengths and encourage diversity.

4. Collect Data from Sales Processes

There are more ways to measure employee success than whether they meet their sales quotas, but you need to collect data on the sales process to identify those other factors.

If you only focus on the outcome while ignoring the process, you will miss important aspects influencing how sales reps perform. Identifying areas for improvement tells you what forms of training or additional tools your team needs the most.

Unfortunately, only half of sales leaders use data to measure sales performance, which is necessary to track additional metrics. For example, many sales leaders consider customer satisfaction and retention more important than meeting individual quotas. 

5. Regularly Train and Mentor Your Team

Regular training programs can improve your win rates by 28%. Additionally, sales reps with weekly coaching of just 30 minutes have win rates of 43%. Meanwhile, those with 2 hours of weekly training have rates as high as 56%.

Sales coaching, mentorship, and training aren’t just for new employees. It can also improve the performance of top sales representatives. As a sales leader, you should be your team’s most valuable mentor and source of knowledge.

Even leaders should have the training to prepare them for coaching their team and help them perform better as sales leaders. Over 58% of managers never received any management training, and only 11% of organizations say they have strong leadership. Continual training will improve their performance as a leader, which will help your team succeed.

Motivate Your Sales Team to Meet Their Quotas

Empower your team to meet their quotas through strong and encouraging leadership strategies. Equipping your team with the tools they need for success is crucial for helping your team succeed.

Contact our sales experts and learn about our solutions for sales teams.

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