Mantras that every sales leader can chant

In a metaphorical sense, a sales leader, like a military commander, uses analysis, examination, planning, conception, and implementation to help the company defeat rivals in a number of ways, both on and off the field.

Napoleon Hill once said that “a goal is a desire with a deadline.” The resonance of this gospel of truth as a call to action for the sales team couldn’t be more true! The cavalry of these soldiers helps organisations achieve their common objective.

Often referred to as the backbone of every organization – it is the force that is primarily responsible for the company’s profitable growth, or not! To steer clear of the latter, the external environment withstanding, it takes a special kind of leader in sales. While the core might stay the same, the orientation and delivery are what differentiates this function from the rest!

In a metaphorical sense, a sales leader is similar to a battlefield commander who analyses, examines, plans, conceives, and implements for the organisation while battling competition in a variety of methods, both on and off the field.

Every leader has a unique journey, however, there are some cardinal truths that, when properly applied, bring out the best in everyone!

After serving as a management trainee for roughly a year, a recent MBA graduate often advances to the position of area sales manager. Laying the groundwork for learning is crucial in this initial position as a manager. On the other hand, many people interpret this erroneously as a logical step toward respect and team alignment for the appointed position. This might turn out to be a major oversight.

As you start down your leadership career, put your team first and use what you’ve learned to deliver significant recorded value from both a people and a metrics perspective. Respect, trust, and team development will result from this.

Get your hands dirty and lead from the front. 

First and foremost, you need to be prepared to put in the necessary work. It’s important to spend time with your team, go on field visits with them, meet clients, retailers, wholesalers, and channel partners, and learn the ins and outs of the industry. Your finest teacher is the market territory!

Recognize your people’s strengths, as well as what inspires, motivates, and drives them.
What are their objectives and aims, both personally and professionally?

It’s simple to lose empathy in a cutthroat job like sales, where the external world is complex and challenging. Every quarter won’t be great, especially when the chips are down. In situations like these, it is said that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going!”

Stick with it, and encourage your teams to support them; it’s how you handle roadblocks that help you bring everyone together.

Be flexible and keep changing as necessary to meet the demands of the environment. Be flexible and adapt your approach instead of being rigid because one size does not fit everyone.

Usually, after a few successful stints as a front-level manager, you progress to the mid-level, when you become a “manager of managers” — that’s a lot of managing!
This is an important position since this is when change management has to change.

Driving transformation or change can occasionally make the status quo uncomfortable.
Be absolutely convinced of what the change will bring to the table and what the organisation will actually gain in order to permit it. Deconstruct it positively for the teams later on. Be positive and optimistic as you explain what it means and what the teams can expect.

Communication is key – preventive and effective Communication helps you get the alignment and buy-in from the people who could be change drivers for the organization bottom up and top down.

Explain, demystify and be crystal clear & transparent. Take every question, ask questions. Spend as much time as a leader to get alignment address all doubts, and build equal conviction for change, subsequently drawing up a realistic plan. Test it out! – It’s always beneficial to transform a small geography first, and witness the success, so it proves to be a model to emulate, replicate and scale. 

Unmesh Khambete
Sales Director, IPM India Wholesale Trading Pvt.Ltd

As you rise from middle to senior manager then it’s all about following servant leadership

It’s imperative that you, as a senior leader, establish the overall vision, mission, and strategy for your particular firm, align your leadership team, and provide them with the tools and resources they need to advance the company.
It is vital for the leader to invest in his team’s capacity-building efforts and offer assistance in developing the next generation of leaders.
To make sure that the top-identified individuals with the top potential are groomed and given opportunities to upskill, it is necessary to invest in this leadership pipeline.

A salesman’s life revolves around the hustle, so it’s important to keep in mind Jim Cathcart’s advice to “become the person who would attract the results you seek”!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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