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How To Lead a Sales Team

How To Lead a Sales Team

One of our main priorities when working with a client is to show them how to lead a sales team that produces both short and long-term success. Here’s what you need to remember about this challenge.

Kayvon Kay
Kayvon Kay

April 4, 2022

One of our main priorities when working with a client is to show them how to lead a sales team that produces both short and long-term success.

It’s a skill many managers and leaders struggle with.

Sometimes they can generate a few short-term wins, but keeping this up is an issue.

It’s understandable, too. Building, leading, and motivating a sales team isn’t always easy. There’s a lot more that goes into it than most people think. But that isn’t to say it needs to be as hard as many managers make it. That’s our aim with this article… to show you what to do, when, and how!

Table of Contents — How To Lead a Sales Team

1. How Do You Build a Strong Sales Team

1. 1: Set Clear Expectations

1. 2: Set Clear, Challenging Goals

1. 3: Manage These Goals and Expectations

1. 4: Prioritize Training

1. 5: Focus on Culture

1. 6: Hold People Accountable

1. 7: Provide Regular (honest!!) Feedback

1. 8: Make Sure You Hire A-Players

2. How Do You Lead and Motivate a Sales Team

3. How To Lead a Sales Team—The Conclusions

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It’s your job to lead your team and make sure they know what they’re doing.

How To Lead a Sales Team

At The Sales Connection, this is what we do. We know how to lead a sales team, and we know how to teach this skill to others. Regardless of industry, business, or team size/type, we know what works and what doesn’t. It’s why many of our clients hire us because leading a sales team isn’t easy.

At least, it isn’t easy unless you know what to do.

We do, and, after reading this article you will too!

How Do You Build a Strong Sales Team

Before we go any further, it’s important to note that your sales team’s unique. There is no out-of-the-box solution. It’s never that easy. But you know that already, I’m sure.

What follows is a clear set of guidelines that gives you access to a proven process.

This is what we use to lead a sales team, and this is what we help our clients with.

Let’s dive in…

1: Set Clear Expectations

Your first step to effectively leading a successful sales team is to set clear expectations. You need to communicate these expectations with everyone on your team.

The team-wide expectations (what’s expected as part of your culture).

But also individual expectations from sales professionals and sales reps alike.

Never presume your team knows what you know. Do not assume they’re on the same page. It’s your job to get them clear on this. Not theirs. It is yours!

2: Set Clear, Challenging Goals

Beyond expectations, you need to communicate clear goals so everyone on your team knows what success looks like.

Again, some of these are team-wide goals.

Others are individual, personal goals!

Once more, it’s your job to lead your team and make sure they know what they’re doing. Challenge them. Don’t set impossible goals that set them up for failure. But do challenge them. Push them. Make sure complacency never creeps in.

3: Manage These Goals and Expectations

One final time… all this is on you. It’s your job. Not theirs.

We see this issue all the time. A manager sets goals and expectations but then doesn’t manage them. This is a fast track to failure. Setting something is one thing, but keeping on top of it is another!

4: Prioritize Training

One of the best things you can do for your sales team is to communicate how important training is. Make it a priority. Arrange group training, but also personalize it for each individual. This isn’t a one-time deal, either. Continuous training is the key to success.

We focus on this more in:

5: Focus on Culture

We dive into this in more detail in this article: How To Build a Sales Culture.

Study this in full. One of the keys to long-term success is to build a culture that works for you, your team, and your business. This is specific to you and is a fundamental ingredient to leading from the front.

6: Hold People Accountable

Your job is to lead. Your job isn’t to do the work for those on your team!

It’s important to motivate them (more on this soon), but you cannot do the work for them. This is their responsibility. All you can do is effectively communicate and then hold everyone accountable. Set high standards. Be ruthless in this regard. If you assign someone a task, make sure they do it.

7: Provide Regular (honest!!) Feedback

One of the ingredients to accountability is to provide regular feedback. Be honest, though. Never sugarcoat it. If you’re happy, express this. If you aren’t, make sure your team knows it.

Complacency is an issue every team faces. In time, it WILL creep in—unless you prevent it!

8: Make Sure You Hire A-Players

Much of this comes down to the sales team you build. An average team consisting of average salespeople will never achieve what you want. Your leadership can only go so far. The good news is, hiring an effective sales team isn’t as hard as many people think—as we dive into here:

Plus, you can always delegate this to a specialized agency like The Sales Connection. This is what we do, so don’t hesitate in reaching out if you need help finding and hiring those A-Players!

Your job is to lead.

How Do You Lead and Motivate a Sales Team

One final ingredient—arguably the most important one of all—to leading a successful sales team is to motivate them. Not just some of the time, but at all times. This is where you rise or fall as a leader.

Yet motivating your sales team isn’t hard so long as you’re committed to:

1: Provide Enticing Incentives: Money matters. Your sales team doesn’t turn up to work just for fun. They have goals and ambitions and dreams to fulfill. Pay them. Reward them. Go beyond financial incentives and tap into other ways to motivate your team. Look after them and they’ll look after you.

2: Understand Their Personal Goals: Treat every single person on your team as an individual. Each person differs. Their goals differ. Their vision for the future does. What motivates one person may not motivate another. Embrace this and tailor your approach.

3: Communicate: This one’s easy… communicate. Your job as a leader is to lead from the front and set your team up for success. You cannot do this unless you communicate: expectations, goals, what’s working, what isn’t… 

4: Care About Your Team: Above all, care about your team. Look after them. Not just financially, but be there for them when they need it. Listen. Help. Care!!

This is how to lead a sales team to success. None of this is easy to master. Yet at the same time, it isn’t nearly as hard as many make out. What it does require is commitment. From you. From them. That’s why we continue to write articles like these… to give you the tools you need.

How To Lead a Sales Team—The Conclusions

How to lead a sales team… that is the question. As you now know, it’s not as hard as many make out. Yet it certainly isn’t easy unless you know what you’re doing. Above all, you need to commit to this process. Your job as a leader is to lead. Not some days, but all days!

Easier said than done when you have everything else you have to do.

But that’s where a specialized agency like The Sales Connection comes in!

NOW is the time to Apply To Partner with US — we’ll speak with you, learn about *your* business, and help you map out the next steps you need to take to transform your sales team. Don’t hold off on this. Let’s talk now and get the ball rolling…

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Kayvon Kay

Kayvon Kay

Kayvon has over two decades of experience working with high-level closers and perfecting his sales methodologies. He has earned the title of Canada’s #1 pharmaceutical sales representative and continues to share his expertise as a keynote speaker and through his multi-million-dollar coaching program.

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