The key to having a successful, numbers-driven, goal-oriented sales team is having an effective leader. In fact, a recent study found that sixty-nine percent of salespeople who exceeded their annual sales goals rated their sales manager as being excellent or above average. So how is it that these sales leaders motivate their teams to success? There are a few key strategies that they consistently employ to lead their sales teams to achieving more.

Provide Visionary Leadership

Successful sales leaders provide clear and definitive leadership by setting a higher-level, big picture vision and direction. They focus on the “why” in addition to the “how” when working with their teams. The sales leader must convey the organization’s vision to his or her sales team, and from that derive a vision specific to the team. Then, of course, the leader has to consistently be the exemplar of that vision, because the team will be watching.

Develop Talent

Many sales leaders have climbed the rungs of the sales ladder themselves, coming up through the ranks as a top sales performer and then to a leadership position. One challenge they may experience is that though they were great sellers on their own, they haven’t quite gotten what it means to be a sales leader. They must learn to coach and develop talent on their sales teams without focusing on the role they know – super seller who closes sales. While the sales world is numbers-driven by nature, a successful sales leader must find the balance between pushing for numbers and fostering the development of skills needed to meet those goals. It comes down to the whole “if you give a man a fish,” versus “if you teach a man to fish” mentality. Great leaders are the ones who teach their teams to fish. Some great way to develop talent is to team the team how to achieve collective sales.

Adapt Coaching Techniques

Effective sales leaders understand that not everyone achieves sales success the same way. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all coaching style that will work for every sales team member. Thus, sales leaders have to be able to adapt their coaching style to best suit each individual. This means taking the time to learn what it is that makes each team member successful, and nurturing that aspect. It also means that coaching must be individualized and not always directed toward the group as a whole. Team your team how to effectively use a sales pipeline crm. When a sales leader is able to adapt his or her coaching style to meet each individual, then the team as a whole will perform better, not just the team members who respond well to one specific type of coaching.

Express Gratitude and Offer Recognition

Thank you’s and attaboy’s (or girls) go a long way in motivating people to continue to perform well. While most sales environments have some system of recognition (a quarterly, bi-annual, or yearly ceremony, for example) where top sales performers are acknowledged, a successful sales leader will learn to incorporate gratitude for the sales team into his or her routine much more frequently – both individually and as a group. In general, salespeople crave feedback, so expressing gratitude as positive reinforcement of things well-done encourages continued motivation. To put it simply, salespeople who don’t feel appreciated don’t perform as well as those who do. Gratitude and recognition don’t cost anything and they go a long way in creating stellar sales teams.

Leading a sales team to their highest potential is crucial to the success of every business, and being an effective, successful sales leader requires taking on several critical roles: super seller, visionary, coach, strategist and business leader. It’s no easy task, but when it is done right, everyone in the organization wins.

Brian Pekarek