5 Critical Skills Top Sales Leaders Need (New Book Announcement!)

The Massive Impact of Great Sales Leadership

I started my career as a research scientist before spending nearly two decades in sales leadership roles across four high-growth tech startups and five years as a Vice President at Salesforce. I’ve spent a lot of time studying the patterns and research around what makes great sales leaders.

That’s because in a profession often plagued by poor experiences and bad reputations, great sales leaders are not only a beacon of light to their teams, but the team engagement, development, and revenue production they drive can have a massive impact on a business!

How massive?

A recent study spanning forty years of data from more than 18,000 leaders examined the bottom-line impact of investing in the right leaders.

The results:

  • 114% increase in sales
  • 233% increase in cross-selling
  • 300% increase in business referrals
  • 71% increase in customer satisfaction
  • 36% increase in productivity
  • 77% decrease in turnover
  • 90% decrease in absenteeism.

So what magical sales leadership skills unlock this remarkable upside?

That’s the problem.

What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

Most sales leaders end up in their roles because they were top-performing reps. But they quickly realize that the skills that made them great at sales aren’t the ones that will make them great sales leaders. Never mind, the type their team would FIGHT to work with again.

The good news is, when it comes to knowing what it takes to be a great sales leader, I’m about to show you that you already know the answer!

In my training and coaching practice, I ask people to tell me about the best sales leader they ever had and what made them so great.

[Take a moment now before reading on to think about what your list would include]

Having done this exercise hundreds of times, I consistently hear answers like they:

“believed in me, saw my potential, and invested in my success.”
“were transparent and helped me understand their decisions.”
“removed barriers and roadblocks for me and our team.”
“pushed, challenged, and motivated me to be my best.”
“listened to me, had my back, and guided my career.”
“recognized the effort I and others put into our jobs.”
“coached me and gave me ongoing feedback.”
“were empathetic, resourceful, and honest.”
“helped me through a tough time in my life.”
“didn’t micromanage and led by example.”
“held me and themselves accountable.”

Interestingly, what I hardly ever hear is, “They were the best because they taught me everything they know about sales”. (noodle on that for a second!)

When you examine this list of the most common “best sales leader” criteria, you notice that almost all of the points can be summarized by two main themes:

  1. They Cared About Me: They made me feel safe and important to them.
  2. They Helped Me Grow: I flourished personally and professionally under them.

As a follow-on question to this exercise, and to underscore the value of these behaviors, I often ask leaders how they showed up for the best leader they ever had. In other words, what type of employee were they?

Not only do they report being hyper-engaged and going above and beyond but they also had a strong desire to hit their targets for that person. Sentiments like, “I tried so hard because I didn’t want to disappoint them,” or, “I would run through a brick wall for them!” were common.

Breaking Down the Critical Sales Leadership Skills

In my bestselling book, Sell The Way You Buy, I challenge readers to rethink their sales motion in a way that aligns with the scientifically proven pathways by which people make purchasing decisions. The result was a more powerful, human, and high-conviction way of selling.

So it got me thinking…

What if we applied the same principle to the way we lead sales teams?

What if we challenged sales leaders to look at all the skills that their reps confess made them feel empowered and try the hardest in their roles?

The skills that not only led to massive revenue boosts for the company but also drove the personal, professional, and career growth the team craved.

Skills that minimize the sense of uncertainty, fear, and distraction that so often prevent reps from performing at their best.

Skills that compelled these high-affinity teams to assemble and fight alongside their leaders like an army of Marvel superheroes at companies they land at in the future.

But skills backed by science and research that could be codified and applied consistently.

If you’re a sales leader, someone who harnesses the power of these skills might sound like the type of person you want to be.

But from your team’s perspective, it sounds like the sales leader they need!

That’s why I couldn’t be more excited to announce the launch of my new book, The Sales Leader They Need: Five Critical Skills to Unlock Your Team’s Potential!

As the title suggests, in it I break down the fundamentals of great sales leadership into easy-to-follow tactical recipes for five critical skills.

1. Promoting Transparency: Providing the “why” to go with the “what” to help your team act with greater purpose and be more invested in the outcome.

2. Protecting and Advocating: Demonstrating to your team that you have their back, to create a circle of safety and unlock higher levels of discretionary effort.

3. Driving Accountability: Making sure everyone does the things they’ve committed to doing for the company and each other.

4. Coaching Your Team: Diagnosing and fixing execution and operational issues in your sales funnel to drive growth and continuous improvement.

5. Getting and Giving Feedback: Sourcing the insights both you and your team need to learn fast and win.

The book will be available on May 1, 2024, and will provide both new and experienced sales leaders with a powerful, research-backed dose of clarity into how to integrate these skills into your sales motion so they have the biggest impact on your bottom line.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in hearing what people have been saying about the book, click HERE. And if you’re interested in getting an early sneak peek at the book and other special perks, click HERE and apply to be part of the official “launch team”!

For now, a massive and heartfelt thank you for being on this journey together.

I appreciate you more than you know 🙏

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