Sales

Six Characteristics of a Successful Sales Leader

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Sidney Jones
July 22, 2022
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7

min read

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A sales team is only as strong as their leader.

It doesn’t matter if a team has amazingly talented salespeople with all the potential in the world. If you put this team in the wrong hands, they’ll become disenchanted with their work and start failing miserably.

But a strong sales leader will mentor a team to maximize the talent they already have to hit goals month after month like clockwork.

What exactly are the qualities all exceptional sales leaders have in common? And how can you replicate what they’re doing?

Keep reading, because we will share the 6 qualities of a rockstar sales leader.

Training Is Their #1 Priority

Consistent training after onboarding results in 50% higher net sales per sales rep. This means if you have a SaaS sales rep who’s generating $6000 a month in sales (on average). If you were to take the time out to provide regular training, you could empower that rep to increase their sales to $9,000–just based on your help alone!

If you think you don’t have enough time in the day to train your people because you’re too busy tracking quota or sitting in meetings, this statistic should show you that you've been looking at your job completely wrong.

Instead of focusing on the busy work, successful sales leaders make coaching their top priority, and schedule everything else around that.  

Provide training as much as you can through weekly, group coaching sessions, bi-weekly one-on-ones, etc.

And make your group sessions mandatory for your team.

These sessions should be fun, positive, and a chance for your reps to step up their game with role playing and doing Q&A on any problems they're facing during the week.

Don’t be afraid to coach on a variety of topics:

  • Sales Discovery
  • How to properly qualify prospects
  • Follow-up
  • Objection Handling

Additionally, don’t be afraid to cover some topics more than once. It usually takes several repetitions of a lesson for it to stick to memory, no matter how good of a coach you are.

They’re Constantly Learning and Improving

The worst leaders reach their position, become complacent with what they’ve accomplished, and stop growing.

This mindset is not only bad for your own individual growth, but it’s horrible for a company. Leaders that refuse to continue improving only become stagnant and bring the rest of the organization down.

Successful leaders know the stakes of their actions and consequently make a point to improve every day.

If you’re looking to elevate your leadership game, don’t think that you have to make massive improvements over night. Instead, focus on tiny improvements every day because these yield a massive transformation in the long run.

Get up every day, set a goal for yourself for a specific area you want to improve in (a weakness you want to strengthen or a natural strength you want to become unstoppable at) and carve out 30 minutes to an hour every day to tackle that goal. Study articles and books, listen to podcasts, appoint an accountability partner (someone you trust) and practice with them. Get creative with the methods you leverage to improve.

And if you don’t know where to begin, there are countless materials on developing dynamic sales leadership. Below are a few resources to help get you started:

Podcasts & Blogs

Brandon Bornancin’s Sales Secrets:  https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sales-secrets/id1455492030

https://www.youtube.com/seamlesscontacts

Colleen Francis’ Engage Selling: https://www.engageselling.com

Jill Konrath’s blog: https://www.jillkonrath.com

Ryan Staley’s The Scale Up Show: https://ryanstaley.io/podcast/

Books

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization by Ron Williams with Karl Weber

Sales Secrets: The World’s Top Salespeople Share Their Secrets to Success by Brandon Bornancin

They Get Real About KPIs

When great sales leaders have to assess their reps’ performance, they don’t factor in how nice or like-able the employee is or any mutual friends they may have. It’s all about the KPIs.

KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are specific, measurable goals (calls per rep, closed wons, cost per lead, sales opportunities created, etc.) that align with the company’s larger goals.

KPIs are great because they ensure that your assessment of your sales reps is objective. When it comes to KPIs, your reps either meet their numbers at the end of every month or they don’t. It’s as simple as that.

Top sales leaders have their reps create their own KPIs, and they make them 100% responsible for their goals.

And instead of letting KPIs become a daily source of stress, gamify them and keep a scoreboard going of deals each rep is closing.

You’ll inject friendly competition into the mix, make progress easy to track, and boost morale as your reps root each other on.  

You can also increase the stakes by giving the monthly or quarterly winner a gift card of their choice!  

They Take a Servant’s Approach to Leadership

Sales leaders who produce average results feel entitled and think that their reps owe them their hard work and dedication. These kinds of leaders create a toxic work environment. And instead of having team morale, under this leadership everyone is stressed out trying to meet their numbers.

Top sales leaders instead always take a servant’s approach to leadership, where they get up every day and the first question on their mind is:

How can I help my team today?

When a servant’s approach infiltrates every aspect of your leadership, you think about how you can make your team stronger when things go wrong instead of playing the blame game.

Instead of saying: You need to start closing more deals or you’re out.

Servant leadership says: Your closed wons have been down lately. Is everything okay? Let’s set up a meeting to work on any stuck-ons that might be holding you back.

When you work to serve your team, your reps become better salespeople, your team drives bigger results, and the entire organization wins.

They Mentor Their Team to Be Sales Leaders Too

Great sales managers train their reps to be the best team players they can possibly be.

But sales leaders train their reps to be sales leaders themselves.

When you train your reps to be leaders, you aren’t just training them to do their job well.

You’re training them to be independent thinkers and to envision themselves beyond the limits of their position.

There are countless ways you can train and mentor your reps to become leaders.

Instead of always focusing on the daily grind of metrics, get your people to think bigger.

With one-on-ones and daily team meetings, be transparent about the organization’s annual goals.

Give stretch assignments where you’re tasking reps with responsibilities and assignments that force them to go beyond the skill set of their current position.

This will challenge employees to grow under pressure and perform at the level of a leader.

They Supply Their Team With Top Sales Tools & Resources

You can’t expect your people to do their best work if they have no tools to help them crush their goals.

If you haven’t already, consider signing up for Seamless.AI and getting your team licenses today. You can even test out the leads for free.

With Seamless.AI, you can empower your team to boost their productivity and shorten the sales cycle by automating prospecting and list-building. Use robust data enrichment (auto-generated lead recommendations and bulk company searches, etc.) to identify target accounts within your total addressable market in minutes. And use artificial intelligence to flood the CRM with verified decision makers.

Book a free demo of Seamless today, so you can help your reps level up their sales game.

Recap

Strong sales leaders:

  • Make coaching and mentorship the centerpiece of their everyday schedule
  • Have a ceaseless hunger to learn more and improve
  • Root their evaluation in sales KPIs
  • Give more than they take and adopt a servant’s approach to leadership
  • Train their reps to stretch themselves beyond the limits of their position
  • Empower their team with the top sales tools

Now that you know some of the foundational qualities of the world’s best sales leadership, start putting these tips to practice today, and empower your reps to become the best of the best.

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