LEADERSHIP SERIES: Research suggests that Sales Leadership is the difference maker between good performance and superior performance. And how sales leaders embrace five essential roles is critical to the success of their teams. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around sales leadership useful and thought-provoking.
Do You Have a Strong Vision for your Sales Team?
How often do you find yourself wishing your sales team could simply “do better?” If you are like most sales managers, the answer is probably at least once a week. But ask yourself this: have you ever told them what “better” would actually look like? Have you thought about it for yourself?
Too often, sales managers fall into the trap of wishing their teams would sell more, execute better customer service, or open bigger accounts. But without any firmer sense of what these would mean in the real world, they turn into empty rhetoric. That’s why a critical part of effective sales management is creating a strong vision; knowing where you are trying to get to doesn’t just help your producers, it also helps you remember exactly what you’re hoping to achieve.
The first step is defining your sales vision. Here are some of the favorite short vision statements we have seen “we will win the most awards at next year’s national sales meeting,” “being the most knowledgeable sales team in our industry,” and “having the most sales people promoted into management positions.” You’ll notice that, even though none of these goals have specific numbers or figures tied to them, they all point you and your team into a definite direction. That’s what having the vision is all about.
The next step is to put this vision into action through constant reinforcement. Make sure there are visual reminders of your vision posted around the office, refer to it during your sales meetings, and make sure you integrate it into the short and long-term goals for your team. Over time, this will encourage your team to focus their efforts in that direction, while reminding you to coach them in those areas at the same time.
Taking this approach will almost certainly turn your team into one that is high-performing and living up to your vision. So what do you do then? Refine your vision, and set new goals. What you want from your sales team, and yourself, is bound to change over time, so review your vision once a year or so, and be sure that it’s still in line with what you want to achieve.
As the old saying goes, you can’t really get anywhere until you know where you’re going. Having a strong sales vision for your team is a good way to define your direction, and to become a better sales leader.
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