Why You Need To Attend a Sales Leadership Development Program
A strong sales team is crucial to any organization. Without a top-performing sales team, your product or service doesn’t fall onto the radar of those who need it most. But beyond the simple idea of pitching and closing, sales is far more complex than most businesses understand, leading to underestimation of the leadership and other qualities that forge great salespeople.
Though sales teams have certain hallmarks and qualities that divide success from failure — which we’ll discuss below — a sales leadership development program is something that no sales manager or management team should ignore. By developing skills that go beyond sales methods, organizations can build teams that provide an extra edge over the competition — something that will pique the interest of business — whether a startup, expanding, or established company.
What Is a Sales Leadership Development Program?
A sales leadership development program is a workshop or retreat specifically designed to give sales professionals and sales managers the skills they need to become leaders. Through this guidance, sales reps become more than just employees — they become equipped with the necessary skills to become sales leaders.
By creating a team full of sales leaders, motivation, effective coaching, and performance become more ubiquitous within a sales organization. Furthermore, the leadership skills learned during the program can churn up more leads, close sales, and turn one-time customers into long-term customers.
However, a sales leadership development program isn’t a magic fix; it requires sales representatives and managers to put in the work as well. But with the right sales leadership training combined with sales management training, you put together the best sales team possible, whether you’re tasked with in-person or remote sales.
What Is the Difference Between Sales Training and Sales Leadership?
One important distinction that’s integral to your success is understanding the difference between sales leadership and sales training. By comprehending this contrast, you can make a vested decision whether to focus on one or the other as your top initiative.
What Is Sales Training?
A sales training program is a process that involves improving the sales process through enhanced knowledge and skills. This helps salespeople understand the sales process and consumer behavior to maximize sales results.
In sales training programs, a sales team uses modules and role-plays to develop a holistic approach to their sales plan. A great sales training program may not necessarily develop an entire sales strategy or sales culture, but it lays the groundwork for it. Instead, it focuses primarily on specificities of sales, including increasing margins, achieving premium pricing, closing deals, and building a culture of achievement.
What Is Sales Leadership?
On the other hand, sales leadership is the bigger picture. It goes beyond sales skills and sales training, and metrics to investigate how leadership can form a successful sales strategy, create effective sales leaders, improve account management, and turn sales team members into sales leaders.
Sales leaders do more than just manage a team, however. They put together a sales coaching plan, create a sales playbook to create a juggernaut of a sales force, attract high performers, and groom others for potential leadership roles in the future. In addition, they can use their learned leadership abilities to create a cohesive unit that also improves the morale, engagement, and culture of the sales department.
Why Leadership Is Important in Sales
Sales leadership is an impactful idea that starts at the top and has a trickle-down effect. But the most important question remains: why is leadership important in sales?
The idea centers not on the idea of sales itself, but more on motivation and inspiration. Rather than salespeople selling simply because it’s their job or they want to earn more on commission, sales leadership manifests itself as sales teams becoming part of a great picture and buying into the greater goal of the company.
While a sales manager can create playbooks and develop metrics, leadership takes that a step further by creating a vision, implementing important decision-making abilities, and instilling a culture of success — all while meeting sales goals and building the reputation of the company in front of clients and potential customers.
Skills You’ll Learn in a Sales Leadership Development Program
Before you start a sales leadership development program, understanding what you will learn and how it applies to the job is a beneficial step. Coming into the program with an open mind — even if you’ve developed a somewhat successful sales strategy — can make a huge difference in what you absorb and how you can apply it moving forward. Here are some of the skills you can expect to learn during a high-quality sales leadership development program.
Improving Emotional Intelligence
If you had to pare down a solid sales leadership development program to one area, it would be emotional intelligence. This ability to become self-aware, provide empathy, and understand the mood and body language of others hasn’t been historically prized in the sales industry, but it’s the one skill that can make your sales leadership soar.
Emotional intelligence enables sales leaders to become more controlled, exude confidence with C-suite execs when selling, hold themselves accountable, and avoid getting flustered in certain sales situations. It’s not just something that can improve your leadership — it’s something that can improve you in every facet of your professional life.
Making the tough decisions isn’t innate in most people. It requires careful analysis, instinct, and the ability to stick by the decision even if it doesn’t go to plan initially.
In a sales leadership development program, you learn more about what goes into making a decision, how it can impact the sales team or organization, and what you can do to make the best choice for your sales team.
Leveraging Sales Experience
Every great manager has some sort of experience or background that makes them a great candidate for a leadership position. But just because you’re a first-time manager doesn’t mean that you’re destined for failure or that you won’t develop into a great leader.
Instead of focusing on management and leadership principles, a sales leadership development program can help you fall back on what got you there in the first place — your sales experience. No one starts in a management role; instead, you can use what you learned as a junior sales rep, a veteran salesperson, or a sales manager to help you become a better leader.
To this effect, you know exactly what needs to be done, but maybe you’re not sure how to implement it or ingratiate yourself to other sales members. That’s just what you’ll learn in one of these programs.
Becoming a Coach and/or Mentor
Coaching and mentoring are two of the most vital skills that a sales leader can develop. Not only can they impart their knowledge on their team, but they can also learn from the feedback that their team provides.
Meeting with a mentee requires you to set an agenda, build trust, and set expectations. By doing so, you create a clear-cut vision of your expectations and how you hope to help the mentee grow. If you’ve never mentored before, a sales leadership development program can help you dive into the topic, ask questions, and become a mentor that everyone respects and turns to for advice.
Building a Culture of Transparency
A culture of transparency can provide insight into all the aspects of your sales force, but it doesn’t happen without understanding the importance of transparency itself. Transparency means being open at all times — in sales meetings, in one-on-ones, with feedback, and with customers.
When you develop a culture of transparency, no one’s scared to voice their opinion. As a result, trust flourishes, workers can ask the right questions, and your sales team is more apt to hit their goals as a cohesive unit rather than a band of individuals.
Accountability goes hand-in-hand with emotional intelligence, but remember that it’s a two-way street. You have to hold yourself accountable just as much as you hold your sales team accountable.
To hold your sales team accountable, you need crystal-clear expectations, goals, software to track group and individual goals, and a consequence and reward system. It can also go beyond that to provide praise when it’s due, as well as constructive ways to inspire those that fall short.
From your side of the equation, a sales leadership development program can do the more difficult part — learn to hold yourself accountable. Your sales team is a reflection of your leadership skills — the program just helps you see it with more clarity.
Boost Your Sales Across the Board With a Solid Leadership Training Program
To some degree, building a high-performing sales team is just like constructing an efficient and effective one with any of your other departments. But with so many programs available, choosing the right one that specifically applies — and more importantly — works to establish real-world results can feel arduous.
Perhaps more than any other aspect, you need a program that mixes proven methodologies with excellent content and a proven leadership coach. That’s where Unicorn Labs has you covered.
To create a great sales team, you need someone who’s equally as qualified and excellent at what they do. With the Unicorn Labs leadership training program, you get case studies, one-on-one instruction, and the core competencies that can make your sales performance truly exceptional.