Not All Sales Leadership Scenarios Are of Equal Value
Top sales leaders outperform their peers when it matters most. Knowing how to handle specific sales leadership scenarios can make the difference between sales success and failure for big deals and for sales team engagement.
Do your sales leaders have what it takes to handle key sales leadership scenarios when the stakes are high?
High Performing Sales Leaders Get 7 Sales Leadership Scenarios Right
High performing sales leaders lean on their sales EQ and IQ to keep their sales team, their clients, and their boss happy, informed, and on track. Based upon data from our sales leader simulation assessments for high stakes roles, we have identified seven common high stakes sales leadership situations that should be part of every sales management training program:
- Creating a Winning Sales Strategy
You need to devise a winning go-to-market sales strategy to profitably grow sales that align with the overall business strategy. Winning sales strategies are clear, compelling, believable, and implementable for your unique situation. The sales plan needs to include the following components in order to operationalize the sales strategy across the company:
— Ideal target client profiles
— Unique value proposition
— Required sales model and organizational structure
— Desired sales process and cadence
— Agreed-upon sales quotas
— Proportionate reward and recognition plans
— Realistic staffing needs
— Aligned marketing plans
- Coaching a Sales Rep
Sales reps who receive consistent and frequent sales coaching outperform their peers 4-to-1 in terms of quota attainment. Top sales leaders know how to develop the right people in the right way.
Behavior change is difficult — it takes work and commitment. When a sales rep doesn’t have the desire to do the difficult work required to reach a new level of sales performance, sales coaching is pretty futile. Smart sales leaders know that the desire to learn and improve on the part of their coachee is a “must-have” to make it worthwhile to invest time in sales coaching.
Top solution sellers also know that every coaching session should end with a clear plan to improve — a developmental activity — that includes an agreed-upon completion date and a specific measurable goal. By drawing a line in the sand about what specifically is required to improve, you can determine a rep’s desire to “up their game.” Their true willingness will be exposed by their engagement in the assignment.
- Addressing Sales Team Conflict
On almost any team, conflict is inevitable. Top sales leaders know how to handle sales team disagreements in a way that build trust, spurs constructive debate, and increases team engagement.
For example, when two top salespeople with a history of aggressive competition have a conflict regarding ownership of a major lead, a high performing sales leader should be able to handle it in a way that works for all parties.
- Helping on a Sales Call with a Key Client
Sales leaders are often asked to step into a previously scheduled sales call with a potential new client or to help with a major sales account. Savvy sales leaders do the necessary pre-call sales planning, understand the role they need to play, and focus on what’s best for the client while making their team look good.
Remember, even when there is a compelling reason to have a sales leader join a sales call, the opportunity is wasted without the proper preparation and the right strategic context. Savvy leaders ensure both before wasting their time and reputation on the wrong sales calls.
- Dealing with an Angry Customer
Whether it is a botched product roll-out that is jeopardizing a major new deal or dissatisfaction with the services received, top sales leaders know how to simultaneously resolve the current issue, retain the client, and fix the root cause of the problem.
They are adept at gathering data, listening, not getting defensive, putting the customer first, being empathetic, taking responsibility, apologizing, and taking action to repair the relationship and the situation.
- Delegating Effectively while Empowering their Team
There can be a fine line between holding your sales team accountable and micromanaging their work. Top sales leaders know how to assign the right tasks to the right people while allowing their team to get the work done in a way that makes sense for them.
Effective sales leaders ensure that they clearly describe the work to be performed and that the deliverables, timing, and lines of accountability are clearly defined.
- Restructuring Sales and Service Organizations
When markets change or when sales teams experience competition, animosity, role ambiguity, or a lack of leadership, sales leaders must sometimes restructure the team to best meet a new sales strategy, play to people’s strengths, or to better align resources.
Top sales leaders know how to realign teams without having people take their eye off the ball and without creating higher levels of stress, lower levels of productivity, and decreased levels of employee engagement.
The Bottom Line
Regardless of the challenges that they face, high performing sales leaders can consistently:
- Sell the vision for success, set strategic priorities, create urgency, adapt sales strategies to market conditions, and organize work accordingly
- Focus on customers, build strategic relationships, and think through solutions
- Develop, mentor, and coach their team to higher performance
- Empower, influence, and engage others to do their best work
- Qualify opportunities, negotiate when the stakes are high, and handle objections
To learn more about how to be a better sales leader, download The 4 Most Important Attributes to Look for When Sales Reps Miss Their Targets