What are the critical elements to great sales leadership? So many people I talk with tell me things are changing for them as sales leaders. The increasing complexity of doing business, global competition, and a limited group of talented professionals to choose from are changing the role of sales leaders. So how do you become a smarter sales leader?
Of course, I have an acronym for smarter sales leaders. It’s SMART and I believe that it can help you choose your sales leaders more effectively. I have a wide range of clients and all have gained from this framework when interviewing for smarter sales leadership
The S in SMART is for Strategic. Smarter sales leaders are strategic. This means they are always looking at the bigger picture when dealing with clients. They focus on outcomes and results that are important to clients. They help their clients prioritize their needs and focus on getting great ROI on their investment.
Being strategic means understanding your options. It also means knowing how to choose the best opportunities for your team’s success. Smarter sales leaders are great at knowing how to pick the best clients and partners to help deliver an extraordinary solution to clients.
The M in SMART is for Measurable. Smarter sales leaders are very good at measuring the impact of their work with clients. Today our clients expect a great ROI on everything they buy. As a smarter sales leader you must become good at measuring both the tangible and intangible benefits a client receives from your solution.
Smarter sales leaders are good at understanding what their clients’ agendas are, both personally and professionally. With clients under pressure to achieve more with less, it’s critical to help them achieve their goals if you hope to build a long term relationship with them.
The A in SMART is for Action. Smarter sales leaders are biased toward taking action. This doesn’t mean they are aggressive and pushy, but they understand from both the client’s and their perspective, time kills all deals. Smarter sales leaders know we live in constantly changing times.
Smarter sales leaders sell impact as part of their sales process. As we become smarter sales leaders, we must know how to read what is happening inside our clients and then share it back with clients. If your product doesn’t have a major impact on your clients, you might want to consider looking for another role. Smarter sales leaders are passionate about how they impact their clients’ world.
The R in SMART is for Relationships. Smarter sales leaders are great at getting the right people involved in their projects. I would bet over 50% of failed sales deals do so because the sales professional does not have the right people in the sales process.
There is an interesting twist to relationship in selling today. Smarter sales leaders have the right people at the right place at the right time on both teams. Actually, smarter sales leaders are good at recruiting the right people for their projects. This means that sales professionals need to be able to motivate people to work on their projects. They are very good at finding and developing great clients that will help their organization grow and prosper.
The T in SMART is for Teams. Smarter sales leaders understand how to read culture and fit very quickly when working with organizations. They know who they need to influence to help get the business. They are also very good at getting their partners involved when try to get a marquee client on board.
I know several smarter sales leaders who knew exactly who they should bring in to help them earn the business. They have a reserve of favors in the bank for key people on their teams so when needed the best person is available to help support their causes.
I would add a second dimension to the team aspect of smarter sales leaders. These smarter sales leaders understand the transformational quality of the products and services they sell. They are very good at identifying the people who can keep momentum going on the client’s side when things become tough. They are willing to create informal off hour connections to help ensure their clients’ success because they know the impact on their client’s organization.
Want to know how to find these smarter sales leaders? See you here next week when I share several ideas on attracting and recruiting these extraordinary leaders.