Great sales leaders

Every salesperson knows the quality of their sales manager will have a profound impact on their own success. A recent study by Harvard Business Review supports this point. Sixty-nine percent of salespeople who exceeded their annual quota rated their sales manager as being excellent or above average. In addition, the quality of the sales organization is directly associated to the quality of sales leadership. Fifty-six percent of salespeople who rated their sales organization as excellent also rated their sales manager as excellent—compared to only 3% who rated their organization as average.

If the best sales organizations have great sales leaders, what separates high-performing sales leaders who exceed their quota from underperformers who miss their quota by more than 25%?

The research by Harvard Business Review highlighted the following 7 points: 

  1. Target fixation. The best sales leaders are target and deadline driven. They have the natural disposition to fixate their team on achieving their revenue goals.
  2. Command instinct. Great sales leaders establish firm command over their team by exercising the power their title and position entail. For example, they hold their team to a higher level of accountability. Seventy-five percent of high-performing sales managers agreed that their salespeople are consistently measured and held accountable against their quota, compared to 58% of underperforming sales managers.
  3. Hiring ability. The ability to hire quality talent will determine the success or failure of the sales organization. Seventy-two percent of high performing sales managers rated the sales team they manage as excellent or above average, compared to 54% for underperforming sales managers. High-performing sales managers focus on hiring salespeople who are skilful builders of relationships, are persuasive, and have a reservoir of experience they use to control sales cycles.
  4. Sales intuition. Sales is a mentorship-based profession, and a key differentiator of great sales leaders is their ability to dispense tactical sales advice and add value during customer meetings.
  5. Control orientation. Sales managers who closely monitor and strictly enforce a sales process are more likely to exceed their quotas, and the best sales leaders seek to control the daily behaviour of their sales teams.
  6. Coaching adaptability. Great sales leaders understand that there is a diversity of selling styles by which salespeople can achieve success. Therefore, they don’t employ a one-size-fits-all coaching style. Rather, they adapt their style to suit each individual.
  7. Strategic leadership. All sales leaders are battlefield commanders who must devise the organization’s sales strategy to defeat the competition. This requires plotting the best course of action to maximize revenue using the most cost-effective sales model. Great sales leaders possess the knowledge to correctly deploy field or inside salespeople, to segment the market into verticals, and to specialize sales teams by product or customer types when necessary.

The sales organization is unique and unlike any other department of a company. The best sales organizations have strong leaders who exercise control and establish the code of behaviour that all team members must abide by. They employ their experiences to determine strategic direction and coach team members individually. Most importantly, they know how to keep the team on track and focused on winning

ProAptivity delivery CRM solutions that help organisations manage monitor and control sales performance. For more information, contact us today on 028 90735630 or via email on

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