Sales leaders are one of the most critical assets to your company. They lead their respective teams; they also hire, manage, and help the entire organization achieve its goals. Their decisions are directly responsible for how sales reps contribute to the company’s growth or lack thereof. In summary, the organization’s success is directly related to the quality of leaders you employ.
But what makes sales leaders great?
Effective sales leaders also strike a balance between the desire to meet organizational objectives and provide the necessary support theirexpects and needs.
Here are 10 qualities that great sales leaders have in common.
Strategic & Performance-Driven
A strong sales leader can help build, refine, and execute their sales strategy based on experience, market knowledge, and best practices. In addition, proven sales leaders identify activities necessary to effectively design and implement strategies for their teams to help achieve broader organizational objectives.
Finally, they use and apply metrics to make data-driven decisions and track progress. Simultaneously, a strong sales leader will stay true to the sales plan without getting bogged down in processes and administrative tasks.
Make People Feel Valued
Great sales leaders know that the success of those around them determines their success. As a result, sales leaders know that showing value and appreciation to their team is crucial to motivation. Showing appreciation in group settings, like team meetings, and also acknowledging their individual contributions can help boost morale.
The most important thing that top sales leaders do is communicate. They stay in touch with their team and talk to them every day. Regular communication ensures everyone has the same information and is on the same page, whether a quick update or reviewing a vital topic.
The Ability to Listen
Sales are about solving problems, so doesn’t it make sense that listening skills are fundamental for sales leaders? Listening signals to your employees that you’re open and approachable—and that you’ll listen to them. Most sales reps prefer to be led by a sales leader with a genuine understanding of who their staff members are and how they bring value to and fit with the organization.
“Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work.” –Seth Godin
Create an Environment of Learning
Great sales leaders know that they don’t have all of the answers. However, they know that their sales team members are assets and drive growth. As a result, they prioritize learning and create an environment where their team can learn from each other continuously. They also help facilitate learning opportunities for industry-specific trends and developments to help keep the edge over their competition.
The overarching goal of coaching is to make individuals and the team better. For example, a Harvard Business Reviewfound that 69% percent of salespeople who exceeded their annual quota rated their sales manager as excellent or above average.
Highly effective sales leaders know that prioritizing coaching will help build confidence among team members, so they find opportunities to provide feedback to improve their sales reps and help their teams achieve their goals.
Lead by Example
Nothing builds and sustains credibility like a sales manager who leads by example. To keep a sales team performing, sales managers must lead by example and establish an environment that facilitates cohesion, confidence, and success.
“The task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been.” –Henry Kissinger
Great sales leaders will likely have risen the ranks to get to their leadership role through the years. That means they know what it takes to succeed. But more than that, great sales leaders can look past the formal credentials and tune in to a potential candidate’s desire to learn and grow as well asfor their team.
Leaders aren’t great because they are doing everything on their own. Instead, they’ve learned the art of delegation. It’s important to note that delegating isn’t simply assigning random tasks to whoever’s available. Great sales leaders know the strengths and skills of each team member and learn who to tap according to the abilities of the team.
Strategies can change on the fly; ideas change entirely within seconds. Great sales leaders are adaptable to change. To keep business moving forward, sales leaders have to understand the current obstacles in their way and adapt accordingly.
In early 2020 the pandemic fundamentally changed the way sales leaders engaged with, managed, and led their teams. Those who were adaptable had an easier time charting a new course.
Sales leaders who embody these qualities are more likely to be effective and remain relevant as the organization evolves.
Megan Hottman is the Copywriter & Editor for ABM Desk. Megan’s experience includes working as an outbound telemarketing manager for a Fortune 100 company for many years. Megan has been both a client and an employee of ABM Desk, so she knows first-hand the quality, productivity and passion the team brings to work on a daily basis. You can reach Megan at or 516-656-5120.