How to Lead Sales Team? 9 Skills Sales Manager Must Carry in 2023
Implementing high-performing sales can be challenging and requires sales leaders to know exactly how to lead a sales team.
In leading a sales team, it is critical to know the skills and responsibilities of each salesperson and ensure that the right sales activities are being performed at the right time to close a sale successfully.
Only if the customer journey is accompanied individually can sales be realized in the periods forecast for this in advance. This article will show you how to lead a sales team successfully.
Find the best practices for leading a Sales team
1. Bring structure to your sales team.
Before actually answering the question of how to lead a sales team, there is building a high-performing structure.
Especially if you support your sales teams across multiple locations, both on-site and remotely, an efficient team structure is considered a valuable basis for promoting team dynamics and bringing efficiency and consistency to the entire sales organization.
Different variants for structuring your sales teams show you how to lead a remote sales team and manage teams on-site or hybrid.
The so-called island structure, for example, is a traditional structure in which each sales employee is on their own.
On the other hand, the so-called assembly line structure offers a modern model in which each employee concentrates on a pipeline phase and acts within the framework of specialized groups.
Another structuring option is the pod, which includes self-contained, self-managed teams.
The choice of your team structure depends heavily on the size and the form of your team as well as the special roles and tasks that your employees should take on within the framework of projects. According to Henry Ford, assembly line structuring can be particularly helpful for fast and effective growth. For example, sales teams are divided into groups, each accompanying a different phase in the sales process.
Always remember that your sales teams work best when they are properly trained and given the support they need. Good structuring is the be-all and end-all for the successful implementation of sales.
2. Set clear sales goals.
The way you lead a sales team stands and falls with the right sales goals. At this point, consider the formulation of so-called SMART goals.
These must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
In this context, specific means that you communicate goals to your team members that are also tangible and understandable for them.
You connect measurable goals by being able to determine progress at any time during the entire sales process using well-founded parameters.
Achievable goals imply that they are not too ambitious and discourage your colleagues but are perceived as feasible.
Relevant objectives underpin goals critical to the organization's overall success.
Time targets ensure that deadlines and due dates are stored for all objectives by when implementation is to take place.
Work with SMART goals to be significantly more successful in managing and leading your sales team.
In the second step, make sure that you communicate all goals transparently and up-to-date to your employees so that they can internalize all goals to implement them in a success-oriented manner.
3. Work with sales and team management software.
Tailor-made software is one of the key factors around how to lead a sales team and implement complete sales management.
Using sales and team management software will boost collaboration, make it easier to track and serve customers, and automate parts of your sales process.
This is realized through seamlessly integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which makes it possible to map complete sales cycles and map contact management, analytics, invoicing conversion of currency and tax rates, or integration into your website.
Offer your sales teams joint access to files, tasks, and calendars, an enterprise social network, online meetings, video conferences and video calls, chats, or exchanges via activity streams directly in the CRM.
Using the right tools ensures that your sales teams can work seamlessly with tools and systems. The software enables your teams to interact with each other regardless of location and time. It provides valuable tools that provide practical answers to how to lead a remote sales team.
The decisive factor here is that you choose a software solution that can be easily integrated into your existing systems in the company and that suits your everyday sales challenges.
4. Work with reliable sales figures
So-called key performance indicators (KPIs) are among the most important building blocks for how to lead a sales team. They serve as a quantifiable measure of performance over time for a selected objective.
KPIs allow setting targets and milestones to measure the progress that helps sales managers make quantified decisions.
Keep a close eye on your teams' sales activities and how many calls are being handled per day or leads per week.
Individual company key figures play a central role in the administration of your sales employees. Business analytics will help you track all the metrics.
In addition to available figures, the CRM provides detailed insights into the customer journey from initial contact through communication to purchase and maps all steps in the history.
5. Set lucrative incentives for successful sales.
One of the secrets to running a sales team is lucrative incentives you can keep in store for your sales teams. Enable each employee to receive an attractive commission if the sale is completed.
A commission is a percentage of a sale that goes to the seller on your team who closed the deal.
Set incentives in the form of rewards that signal your sales reps how well their work is performing and offer financial and emotional benefits.
Make sure that it is fair and that you don't just attribute team successes to individual people but to all colleagues who worked hard to implement the sale.
At this point, you should rely on commission models that suit your industry and your company as well as the offers and services provided and reward the performance of your sales team accordingly.
Present your team with an incentive plan that inspires all employees long-term and allows them to make additional efforts to be even more successful in sales.
6. Address personalities in your sales team individually.
Salespeople are certainly similar in selected personality traits, but always remember that your employees are always individuals who want to be treated as such.
A core answer to how to lead a sales team is a personal approach and appreciation of each character.
In this context, remember that each of your salespeople has a different personality and associated learning styles and preferences. This knowledge assumes that you do not treat all colleagues equally but encourage their individual development.
In this context, adapt your management strategy to increase the chances of teasing out the full performance potential of every employee.
7. Provide regular feedback to salespeople.
Regular feedback is also part of the strategies for leading a sales team. For the implementation, one-to-one meetings and evaluations are valuable opportunities to build trustworthy relationships with your employees and, at the same time, provide feedback.
In this way, you gain new insights and make a holistic contribution to improving your sales process.
In this context, make sure you regularly set appointments in your shared diary to get together for feedback rounds. Listen carefully to your colleagues in personal conversations and convey your impressions to them about current developments.
It is crucial that the feedback is always constructive and justified in detail. Communicate to your employees what they are particularly good at and show them where there is still room for improvement.
Always express criticism with respect and appreciation. In this way, you ensure that your sales team appreciates your openness and, simultaneously, can increase the efficiency and success rate in sales through the feedback received.
8. Identify hurdles blocking sales success.
Your sales teams may need help with issues preventing them from promptly meeting real goals. Recognizing and removing sales hurdles is one of the crucial factors in how to lead a sales team.
Your responsibilities will include identifying sales hurdles and helping your team overcome them.
The most common hurdles include the fear of rejection, poor communication, and lack of relevant information and content to pass on to customers.
Work closely with your sales reps to change their perspective on fear of rejection, for example. With intensive training and a basic understanding of products, services, and customer requirements, your reps will find it easier to communicate with customers and reduce rejection.
Additionally, train your sales teams in general customer communication around successful sales pitches and active listening.
Listening connects salespeople with customers, creates trust, and ensures that the exchange becomes more of an individual conversation than a pure sale.
With this approach, you reduce hurdles such as rejection or poor communication and ensure long-term customer loyalty.
9. Inspire your sales team.
Inspiration is another secret of leading a sales team. Successful sales managers understand the importance of inspiring their teams. But how can inspiration and motivation be combined profitably on a stressful working day?
As a Sales Manager•in, you should always lead by example and exude a positive and winning attitude. Always pay attention to your thoughts here because they become actions in sales.
In addition, you should convey genuine gratitude, show appreciation for your sales teams' work, and reward them appropriately. Not only can rewards contribute to inspiration here, but also words of appreciation and associated praise.
You also create an environment where your teams feel inspired by always being honest and telling your employees the truth. In doing so, you should take responsibility, even if it may have unpleasant consequences. In this way, you always signal your colleagues that you are there for them and see them as equals.
In short, create a work environment where your salespeople feel inspired and are happy to follow your example to be motivated and successful in sales.
In summary: Valuable strategies on how to successfully lead a sales team!
You have learned in detail how to lead a sales team with our strategies and best practices for leading a sales team.
Always remember that managing sales employees is a challenging task and is a combination of specialist knowledge, tailor-made software tools, and leadership qualities.
Start implementing our 9 strategies for sales leaders in your daily work practice and find the right balance between business goals and interpersonal components.
In this way, you enable your sales teams to work in a success-oriented manner, to realize effective everyday work, and to go to work highly motivated every day. Good luck, and enjoy the implementation!
What is sales leadership?
Sales management describes the strategic alignment of sales to implement business goals through appropriate management. With the help of sales management, the sales organization is led to success.
What makes a good Sales Team Manager?
Good Sales Team Managers need to be able to communicate the sales philosophy and goals to their sales teams and guide the sales process. In addition, they should have social skills and give every sales employee the feeling that they are an important part of the team.
What Makes Sales Teams Successful?
A sales team becomes successful when it receives all the resources it needs to achieve set goals within a predefined period. In addition to good sales management, the resources include the right software tools and other components that promote personal motivation and further development.
How do you lead and motivate a sales team?
You lead and motivate a sales team by bringing structure to the sales team, setting clear sales goals, working with sales and team management software, acting with reliable key figures, setting lucrative incentives, responding to individual personalities, giving regular feedback, identifying hurdles and inspiring affects the sales team.