5 Habits of Highly Successful Sales Leaders

woman sales manager presenting

There’s a stark contrast between top-notch sales reps and high-quality sales leaders. On the surface, it would seem as through the transition from rep to leader is natural. However, the two couldn’t be any different when examining what makes an employee a success in either.

You can promote someone who loves the competition, is driven by commission, and obliterates every quota into leadership, but the accolades that made them your top seller will not translate into leadership. Instead, you need to look for and actively develop these five highly successful habits.

1. Effective Feedback

Leaders, by definition, lead. That means they need to provide those under them with immediate and effective feedback. Most leaders coming from a sales rep position will readily provide needed feedback on aspects of their teams’ sales skills but fail to coach on other aspects of the job to avoid confrontation.

The highly successful break that barrier by implementing the acronym B.I.G. They first mention a specific behavior (B), explain that behavior’s impact (I), then elicit an agreement (G). This method is used across all areas of performance, within and outside of sales.

2. Weekly Meetings, One-on-One

All too many leaders feel that their weekly sales meetings and daily huddles are enough, but the highly successful know it takes more to lead a team. Those weekly and daily get-togethers are excellent for managing metrics and the sales funnel, but they don’t develop connections or relationships.

Weekly one-on-one meetings, better known as O3s, with each salesperson on the team focus on the team member instead of the leader. It’s a chance for sales reps to talk about their personal life, ask questions, and give ideas if they choose to do so. This fosters an exceptional relationship between leaders and staff, one that benefits the company as a whole.

3. Conversational Coaching

Managing by metrics is simple, but effective leaders know it takes a coach to reach those metrics. This habit is as simple as working on the whole-person development of each rep. That includes setting appropriate goals and creating action plans that help reps move forward and grow.

It also means setting expectations based on the reality of a given situation, which comes from the metrics identified in a customer value management framework. The goal is to move sales reps along in their job growth while they fit into the growth of the company. Coaching through honest conversation that focuses on the individual is how successful leaders make that happen.

4. Capitalizing on Strengths

Successful leaders realize that their sales reps have varying strengths. One might excel at a consultative approach to sales, while another may find a better approach with empathy and inclusiveness. No two salespeople do the job the same, so identifying and capitalizing on their strengths is something a great leader must do.

5. Be Caring

Finally, a great leader honestly cares about their staff. Focusing on metrics and goal is necessary, but not at the cost of the individuals working for them. That’s a fast track to making the office a revolving door. Highly successful management shows empathy, concern, and care as they build relationships with their workforce.

Greeting employees every morning by name, taking the time to learn about their lives, inquiring about family or pets, and even taking interest in hobbies outside of work all build critical relationships that boost metrics in the long run. 

Written by