Why practice Sales Leadership?

To improve the productivity of the team members.

To create an environment where everyone wants to work hard and work smart.

Without sales leadership it can’t be accomplished.

Can’t it be done in any other way? 

The logic of sales leadership prioritizes the people side of business.

Sales management styles prioritizes “work”, or ” data/ reports.”

It has been seen that when you understand the people side of business its more easier to achieve results you want to achieve.

Why most people can’t work hard & smart?

Working hard involves sacrificing many short term entertainments.

Working efficiently involves criticizing own work quite often.

We want to Rest and Enjoy as well as be awarded in Office.

Motivation. Rather Conflicting Motivations 

Sales Leadership

“I want to eliminate refined sugar from my diet but, man I like that chocolate cupcake.” These are conflicting motivations. 

There is a painful gap between what people want and what they actually do. The disconnect between want and do has been blamed on lot of things- but people blame it on themselves for the most part. 

Hence though people want to work hard and efficiently but they get distracted very frequently.

That costs large productivity loss.

The problem also emerges from the people side of business. Hence the solution should be about the people. That’s the reason sales heads needs sales leadership capabilities. 

“I understand that people want both. They want to rest as well as be a star performer.” How to handle it? 

It is a good habit to attend gym every day. But most of us don’t. 

Similarly there are many good things that we know we need to do but we don’t.

Same way we forget practicing good sales behaviors.

The solution is habit.

40% of your life is habits.

We  will attend gym every day only when it becomes your habit. 

And creating good habits isn’t as hard as you think. It’s supper simple.

If you have attempted to change the team behavior in the past and haven’t succeeded ; you may have concluded that creating good behaviors among sales team is hard or that you can’t succeed because you lack motivation. 

Neither is accurate. 

So the way to handle conflicting motivations among people is to create good habits among the sales team. 

Good habits can be created by a Sales Leader. 

Building good habits among the sales team is very, very easy.

What are the good habits needed to achieve the target that can be decided by the sales manager?

Modern revenue managers have to wear the hat of a sales manager as well as a sales leader.

What are the benefits of practicing sales leadership?

Military history is replete with victories won by initiative and heroic efforts of individuals. The key to the victories is always to be found in how the individual soldiers fought. 

A leader is known by his followers. A leader can’t accomplish without the voluntary contributions of their followers. 

If you don’t inspire your followers or office mates they ain’t work dedicated. 

They won’t be willing to make  sacrifices to advance the leaders’ cause. This implies a commitment to the leader and his cause and is another example of voluntary choice rather than a forced one.

A leader creates followers who work hard and efficiently not because they “have to” but because they “want to.”

A follower who is willing to make sacrifices to advance a sales leader’s cause.

Imagine a world where employees follow the sales leader, whether present or absent. They encourage and correct others for their adherence to the codes of conduct put forth by the leader. 

In any case, I think we can agree that anyone with a semi-working brain can become a sales manager, right?

Well, out of all those people managing today , how many of them do you think know how to lead the  team?

Not too many you say?

I concur.

Here’s another fact: Having the skill to inspire the sales team is one of the most valuable things you can ever learn, and… it’s also one of the most poorly taught skills.

Ah, but there’s so much to learn with sales leadership, right?

Well… yes and no.

I’ll explain.

If you want a career as a sales leader, then yes, there’s not a helluva lot to learn. It’s simple.

You will start experiencing the results. 

Results like :

  • A loyal team member.
  • Followers who feed in terrific hard work voluntarily.
  • Where people take responsibility for mistakes.

Even slaves get up and move when the slave driver gives the command! The issue in leadership is the extra effort that followers give.

But remember as a Sales Leader you need both the capabilities. Capabilities of a Sales Manager as well as Sales Leader.  Both these capabilities are complementary.

Most of us know a great degree about sales management. So we need to learn a bit, I repeat only a bit about Sales Leadership as well.

Difference between sales leadership vs sales management.

Producing results is the reason we study sales leadership. You are a leader only when you have followers. That is why sales management is so different from sales leadership?

Sales leaders have followers whereas sales managers have team members.

A manager can have responsibility but not authority. A manager can think he has power but he has ability to hire, fire or promote. But this is authority and not power. 

Power is when a sales leader’s efforts are amplified by the organisation into more forceful responses than the leader can produce alone. 

These sets of questions will highlight the differences between a sales manager and a sales leader. 

  • Do you have followers?
  • Are people working to please you or merely avoid your displeasure?
  • Do they take you as a sales leaders or as an authority?
  • Are they doing what they are doing because they want or they must?

How a Sales Leader is measured?

Even the measurement criteria of a sales leader is different from that of a manager. 

Traditionally leaders are measured by accomplishment. 

  1. Did they grow the enterprise?
  2. Did their enterprise achieve some level of prominence?
  3. Did the leader leave a positive legacy? 

The disadvantage of these measures is that they can be measured on long term only. 

Longer term measurement criteria can work for political leaders. But sales leaders would want a reporting system that’s real time. Instant. 

For practical point of view a sales leader needs more immediate measures of impact. Something real time. It will allow them to profit at that moment.

A leader is known by his followers. Same way a measure of a leader will pertain to follower behavior. 

Hence a better sales leadership measurement question then becomes “ How do I get more people to do X?

How not to be an under performing sales manager?

Even slaves get up and move when the slave driver gives the command. The issue in leadership is the extra effort that the followers give. 

Under performing sales managers can’t command a voluntary effort. It’s a true discriminator between leadership and compulsion.  

Imagine a team :

That has high velocity. Velocity because when the leader announces a requirement of action, quickly  the team would get into voluntary action from the team?”

Sacrifice. What would inspire someone to voluntarily leave family and friends and the safety at home to enlist in an army where the pay is poor , the treatment is rough and the risk of permanent injury is significant? 

This is never the intrinsic qualities of individuals. We usually attribute this kind of behavior to intrinsic qualities of individuals. 

Effective leaders know that money is only part of the answer. 

How to Get Started With Sales Leadership? 

At the highest level , here’s what you will need to get started.

  • 1.List down the business results you want to achieve : figure out the business results that the team is failing to achieve. It might be poor pipeline value, less number of meetings or appointments.
  • 2.Correlate the business results with the sales KPIs: Once you have decided on business result connect it with the sales KPIs. If you are struggling with less number of new meetings, the related Sales KPIs are three. They are Calls: Meetings Scheduled ratio, Meetings Scheduled : Meetings Showed up; Meetings Not Showed up: Meetings rescheduled ratio.
  • 3.List down the good behaviors you need to achieve the Sales KPIs: figure out the behaviors needed. Like , # of reminders sent two days prior to the meeting, # of times tried to reschedule the meeting etc.
  • 4.Schedule a plan to appreciate a  new good behavior 15 times: Appreciating a new good behavior 15 times transforms it into a habit. Once its a habit you do’t need to follow further.

Today we will not speak on point 1 to 3. We have discussed in detail when we were discussing about Activity Based Selling.

Today we will speak about the ways to create good behaviors.

Why telling people to work hard & smart doesn’t work?

Most organisations attempt to manage performance by two ways:

  1. At first telling.
  2. And then Yelling.

We tell them to work harder, we tell them to work better, and then we tell them to work smarter.

We tell them to do these things in variety of ways like emails, whats app messages, calls, face to face emails and in staff meetings.

Interestingly, when these methods don’t get the desired level of performance or results  we want, we tell them the same thing Louder. That is yelling.

Let me share you a secret. A super secret. You can validate this secret even with your family members. 

“People frequently don’t do what they are told. “

If we always did what we are told, we would eat hygienic, never drink alcohol, exercise regularly, concentrate in our studies.

Check rubbing around these with your kids as well.

Though we know that people don’t do what they are told, we run our business as though the performance problems can be solved by telling or yelling.

What are the ways to Change Bad Behavior?

There are only two ways to change sales behaviors.

Do something before the behavior?

Do something after the behavior?

Technically doing something before the behavior is called : Telling.

Technically doing something after the behavior is called : Reinforcement.

Telling has a limited control over behavior. The role of telling is to get the behavior occur once.

The word for what comes after a behavior is Reinforcement.

It is the role of a consequence to get it to occur again and again. 

Reinforcement follow the behavior and alter the probability that behavior will happen again.

Businesses spend a lot on telling like staff meeting, training etc. But not on antecedents.

How to seduce people to Work Hard & Smart?

Voluntary discretionary effort ( extreme hard work) is above and beyond what is expected, demanded, paid for, planned for, there would be no punishment to the performers if they didn’t do it.

Hard work is accomplished because people “want to” rather than they “have to”.

The only way Sales Leader can capture voluntary hard work  is through effective use of appreciation.

Positive Reinforcements or Appreciations can transform a new behavior to habit.


Ways to Handle Poor Meeting Ratio.

When a sales colleague is calling but not getting interested leads. More meetings would need knocking more doors. This is the time you need to appreciate for the effort even if the colleague is not able to get meetings.

“Good to see that you have not stopped cold calling even after so many rejections. That is a mark of success Rajib. Keep it up. “

Celebrate Small Successes. This motivates them to make more calls.

“This is your first interested lead of today. Great going and my best wishes. You must enjoy this moment. You must feel excited & heroic about yourself.”

If Rajib hasn’t been working for the past 1.5 hrs.

“Are you in a bad mood? Are you let off? You have not neither called nor emailed nor messaged enough prospects. Work is an essential block of our life. It is our identity in the society. Our parents feel proud of us, because of our work. Lets take a 5 min break and bounce back to work with full energy.”

Same way you can handle other performance gaps like poor Booked Meetings : Actual meeting, Poor pipeline etc.

“I don’t have so much time.” What to do?

We have heard most of the time from the managers and business owners that they don’t have so much time.

Creating such an environment will need them to be in an ideal stage of leadership.

They have to monitor real time who is doing what? Based on which they have to appreciate that behavior instantly.

Moreover carry out this appreciation 15 times before it becomes a habit.

This is what modern technology solves.

Modern Sales CRM system has gamification module that saves your time as well as helps you practice leadership.

Modern Sales CRM knows what the sales colleague is doing now presently. Based on the situation they can pop up the relevant message on the laptop screen as well as send sms or whats app to the sales colleague.

Imagine Sales CRM acts as assistant to the Sales Leader.

You can configure the trigger as well as the messages and the frequency of the messages.


Whether you use technology or you do it manually, the way to succeed is team with good habits.

Nothing else can compensate that.

Great marketing , Awesome Product is no where substitute close to a sales and marketing team with great habits.

Now I will like to hear from you.

Which technique from today’s discussion are you going to try first?

Can you try appreciating a good behavior of one of your colleague publicly today?

Either appreciate making 10 calls or sending 3 follow up emails or asking quality questions over the call.

Appreciate one behavior and then watch its effect.

Please do share the experience with me by leaving a comment below.