The interesting thing about sales leaders is that many of them have risen to a sales leadership role as a result of their being a super closer. Often we see this occur without direct demonstration of management or leadership qualities. Now, it is up to them to ensure their staff, once peers, follows the sales processes they’ve been known to break.
Once promoted or even long after, the most fundamental challenge and often overlooked activity is the lack of coaching and developing the sales talent. In many cases the perception is that the ability to do sales is intrinsic. The assumption is made that they know what they need to do so I will leave them alone to do it. We hire sales professionals for their experience, their rolodex and how charismatic they are during the interview process. We get stuck in a trap of they don’t need training, they don’t need coaching, after all they’ve been in sales for years.
It is critical for all sales leaders to break this cycle. Everyone needs coaching and training. Everyone craves attention from their boss to know what they are doing right and for help in areas that they are less strong in. We all know it costs significantly more money to hire talent than it does to retain them. Time and time and time again we are disappointed when we hire a new sales professional with the hopes they will hit the ground running and be the hunter we so desperately need. After a few months pass, we see little to no results from them.
The sales leader cannot be narrowly focused on super closers. You cannot allow your sales organization to have a dozen sales professionals with one or two super closers. Instead start building sales capabilities across your team. Sit in on or travel with them to sales calls. Periodically participate in the design and strategy sessions. As entry-level as it may sound, do role playing with them. Even if you move one more sales professional to the super closer category and now have three, you will see a significant increase in driving business and meeting the revenue and growth targets that you are now accountable for.
I’d love to hear how you moved from being a top sales executive to being in a sales leadership role. How did you make the transition? Do you currently report to a recently promoted sales leader, what are your observations on their transition?
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