Are you planning to hire someone to lead your sales team?
Well, you might be wondering what type of sales leader you need for your team right now.
After all, there are several different positions under the term "sales leadership", and it's important that you hire the right person for the right role!
In this article, we'll cover the three main types of sales leaders and what skills go into good sales leadership.
Firstly, let's define what we mean by "sales leadership". It's the art of guiding and motivating a sales team to achieve their targets.
Sales leadership involves everything from setting clear goals, to providing guidance and support, and to inspiring the team to perform at their best.
Sales leaders play a critical role in the success of your sales reps. They are responsible for setting the direction and vision for the team, as well as providing the necessary resources and support to help them achieve their goals. Effective sales leadership can inspire and motivate the team, leading to increased productivity and improved sales performance.
The 3 Types of Sales Leaders
There are many different terms for roles that would fit under the term "sales leader", but let's focus on the main three:
Sales Leader #1: The VP of Sales
A VP of Sales is someone you should bring on when you're ready to truly scale your sales team. This person should be responsible for setting the strategic vision of the sales organization, hire top talent, and optimize your processes along the way.
The VP of Sales should not be expected to build out your sales function from scratch. From the time they're brought on to your company, the VP of Sales should be focused on scaling.
According to Glassdoor, a VP of Sales at a SaaS company typically makes anywhere between $281,000 - $506,000 per year.
Sales Leader #2: The Sales Manager
A sales manager is someone responsible for the day-to-day management of your sales team. This person should work closely with the sales reps as both a manager and a coach. Good sales managers are effective at managing both the individuals on the team and the team as a whole.
In most cases, we recommend hiring a sales manager before hiring a VP of Sales. If you're a founder experiencing some success selling with a couple of SDRs and/or AEs, hiring a sales manager is a great way to get your time and focus back.
Ideally a good sales manager will also help you solidify your sales process and potentially lay the groundwork for a successful VP of Sales hire.
Sales managers at SaaS companies make $128,000 - $230,000 per year, according to Glassdoor.
Sales Leader #3: The Team Lead
Lastly, a team lead is someone who sits between the sales team and a sales manager.
There typically two situations that make sense to have a team lead. You have a large sales team and need to give your sales manager some extra support, for example. Or, you might be trying to develop a strong salesperson into a manager, so a team lead is a great stepping stone role.
According to Glassdoor, SaaS team leaders typically make $84,000 - $138,000.
Skills for Sales Leaders
Strong sales leaders possess a range of essential skills and competencies. First and foremost, they need to have strong communication skills. This includes the ability to effectively communicate internally with the team, as well as with clients and customers. Good communication skills will help inspire and motivate the sales team, as well as build strong relationships with clients.
Another important skill for sales leaders is the ability to set clear goals and objectives. This involves being able to identify what needs to be achieved and then developing a plan to reach those goals. Setting clear goals will help to keep a sales team focused and motivated, and will also provide a clear direction for their sales efforts.
In addition to communication and goal-setting skills, sales leaders also need to have strong analytical and problem-solving skills. This includes the ability to analyze data and trends, identify areas for improvement, and develop strategies to overcome challenges. Being able to think critically and make informed decisions will help sales leaders unpack complex problems and build effective solutions.
Developing Salespeople into Sales Leaders
Developing and nurturing salespeople to become effective sales leaders is a crucial aspect of sales leadership. It involves identifying individuals with leadership potential and providing them with the necessary training and development opportunities to enhance their skills and competencies.
While adding new people to your team might be a great idea, you might have strong talent already on your team, just waiting to be developed. If you think one of your salespeople has leadership qualities, you may want to elevate them to a Team Lead position and dial up the management responsibilities over time.
You can support them with extra mentorship and coaching around leadership topics. By pairing them with experienced sales leaders, they can learn from their expertise and gain valuable insights into effective sales leadership practices. This can help them develop their leadership skills and build confidence in their abilities.
Another strategy is to provide ongoing training and development programs that focus on leadership skills. This can include workshops, seminars, and online courses that cover topics such as communication, team building, and strategic thinking. By investing in the development of salespeople, organizations can build a pipeline of future sales leaders and ensure the long-term success of their sales team.
Principles for Successful Sales Leadership
Successful sales leadership is based on a set of principles and best practices that can guide sales leaders in their roles. These principles include setting clear expectations and goals, providing ongoing feedback and support, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
Setting clear expectations and goals is essential in sales leadership. Sales leaders need to communicate their expectations to the team and ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them. This can help align the team's efforts and ensure that they are working towards a common goal.
Providing ongoing feedback and support is another important principle of successful sales leadership. Sales leaders should regularly provide feedback to their team members, both positive and constructive, to help them improve their performance. They should also provide the necessary support and resources to help the team succeed, such as training and coaching.
Fostering a culture of continuous improvement is crucial in sales leadership. Sales leaders should encourage their team members to constantly learn and develop their skills, and provide opportunities for growth and development. By creating a culture of continuous improvement, sales leaders can inspire their team to strive for excellence and achieve greater success.
Challenges of Sales Leadership
Sales leadership comes with its own set of challenges. Sales leaders often face pressure to meet sales targets, manage a diverse team, and navigate changing market conditions. However, by understanding these challenges and implementing effective strategies, sales leaders can overcome them and drive success.
One common challenge faced by sales leaders is managing a diverse team. Sales teams often consist of individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, and skill sets. Sales leaders need to be able to effectively manage and motivate this diverse group, ensuring that everyone is working towards a common goal.
Another challenge is navigating changing market conditions. Sales leaders need to stay updated on industry trends and changes in the market, and adapt their strategies accordingly. This requires a deep understanding of the market and the ability to make informed decisions based on data and insights.
Establishing strong team dynamics is crucial in sales leadership. Sales leaders need to build a cohesive and high-performing team, where individuals work together towards a common goal. This requires effective communication, collaboration, and the ability to resolve conflicts and build trust among team members.
Establishing Strong Team Dynamics
Establishing strong team dynamics within a sales team is crucial for success. It fosters collaboration, communication, and trust among team members. When team members have a strong bond and work well together, they are more likely to support and motivate each other, leading to increased productivity and better results.
Strong team dynamics also create a positive work environment where team members feel valued and supported. This can lead to higher job satisfaction and lower turnover rates. When team members feel connected and supported by their colleagues, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work, which ultimately leads to better sales performance.
In addition, strong team dynamics can enhance problem-solving and decision-making within the sales team. When team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions, they can contribute to finding innovative solutions and making informed decisions. This collaborative approach can lead to better strategies and ultimately drive sales success.
Qualities of a Great Sales Leader
A great sales leader possesses a combination of qualities and characteristics that set them apart. These qualities include strong communication skills, strategic thinking, empathy, and the ability to inspire and motivate others.
Strong communication skills are essential for a sales leader. They need to be able to effectively communicate their vision and goals to the team, as well as provide clear instructions and feedback. They also need to be able to listen to their team members and understand their needs and concerns.
Strategic thinking is another important quality of a great sales leader. They need to have a deep understanding of the market and industry trends, and be able to develop and execute strategic plans to drive sales growth. They should also be able to analyze data and make informed decisions based on insights.
Empathy is crucial in sales leadership. A great sales leader understands and values their team members, and is able to connect with them on a personal level. They show empathy towards their team members' challenges and concerns, and provide the necessary support and guidance to help them succeed.
The ability to inspire and motivate others is a key quality of a great sales leader. They have a positive attitude and energy that can inspire their team to perform at their best. They also have the ability to motivate their team members and create a culture of high performance and success.
What To Do Next
As a founder, it is your responsibility to find the right person to lead your sales team to success. By choosing the right people for the right leadership roles, you'll set up your sales team for long term success. Remember, your leadership has the power to shape the future of your team and organization.