Leading a Sales Team: 10 Keys to Success (Part 2)

Sales leaders must be both effective managers and great coaches by arming their salespeople with the skills to be successful and managing their strengths.

This week, we identify the final 5 keys to success in leading a sales team.


A good sales manager helps salespeople by arming them with the skills, knowledge, and strategies to help them be successful. A good coach motivates people by managing their strengths, hopes, and dreams, holding them accountable, and helping them recover from negative encounters. A good sales leader must be both a good manager and a good coach.

We have identified 10 keys to success in leading a sales team. In a previous brew, we dove into the first five keys. Today, we will expand on 6-10.

  1. Guiding the team to set extraordinary goals
  2. Managing excuse making
  3. Understanding the Will to Sell and Sales DNA factors beneath sales behavior
  4. Following a coaching process
  5. Coaching the deal and coaching for skill development
  6. Establishing personal and business goal setting
  7. Leading consistent sales huddles
  8. Creating a hiring profile and having a candidate pipeline
  9. Coaching a stage-based sales process
  10. The shadow of the leader

Establishing personal and business goal setting: Unfortunately, the results of thousands of sales management evaluations tell us that most managers do not know the personal goals of their salespeople. If a leader needs to get to the heart of why their salesperson is not reaching business sales goals, they must understand how they are motivated and what personally motivates them. Is the salesperson intrinsically or extrinsically motivated? Does their salesperson respond to being at the top of the stack ranking and recognized by others, or is money or freedom to run their business more important? Let’s face it, we all work to have time, money, and freedom. If a sales manager does not understand what is important to the salesperson (vacation, retirement, education, etc.), how can they establish appropriate activity goals and coach their salespeople? We offer a comprehensive Personal & Business Workplan template that can help sales managers with this critical goal-setting process.

Leading consistent sales huddles: Huddles, as defined by Verne Harnish, founder and President of Gazelles, are:

  1. A communication process or system that allows for sharing of real-time information
  2. An opportunity to focus on “burning platform” issues for a team or company
  3. A way to bring sharp focus and attention to a critical business driver
  4. The most important 15 minutes in any company

If a sales manager does not have a regular and timely means to monitor what is going on in the field in real-time, they cannot coach or adjust the play or get in front of any client issues or trends. Huddles should provide real-time information so that sales managers can make real-time decisions and provide real-time feedback or coaching.

Creating a hiring profile and having a candidate pipeline: Most sales leaders start the recruiting process when there is an opening. Managers should be recruiting all the time so that when that happens, they are prepared and have a recruiting list. The first step is to create a profile of the ideal person in the role by identifying, evaluating, and listing specific skills and traits of current top producers. Then, gather management and others in the company to ask who they know that fits that description. This is how you start to create a recruiting list. A hiring profile and candidate pipeline are necessary for new and tenured sales leaders. It is a critical piece in any sales management training program.

Coaching a stage-based sales process: According to the #1 sales assessment in the world, elite salespeople follow a stage-based sales system. By mastering the process and asking the right questions at the right time, top producers take the prospect through a discovery process and identify the problem or pain, monetize that pain, and then uncover the time, resources, and budget to fix that problem. Within that stage-based sales process, skilled salespeople also discuss the current provider relationship, decision-making process, and commitment level to make a change. This stage-based process is essential for a coach to help their salespeople discover where they are getting stuck and coach them to the next level. We know that by implementing a consistent sales process, companies can achieve a 15% lift. Make certain that your sales management training program includes this important area.

The shadow of the leader: Being a sales leader is not an easy job- they have many responsibilities with multiple activities to get done throughout the day. But, a sales leader’s #1 job is to make their people wildly successful and improve their skills so they are more successful than they would have been on their own. Casting the shadow of the leader also involves a continual focus on self-development to become a better manager and coach. Commitment cannot be taught, but it can be demonstrated. 

From COO & CMO, Jeni Wehrmeyer


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