A sales leader plays a critical role in the success of their company, but sales leadership is not for everyone. The path to becoming a successful sales leader, and the qualities that will help you get there, are often different from the qualities many sales reps think they need.
If you’re considering a leadership role, ask yourself if you possess these five critical characteristics all great sales leaders have:
1. You are Team-Oriented.
Sales professionals tend to work a lot on their own. They focus on their personal goals. You may hit your quota while another team member comes up short for the month. But in a leadership role, the team’s goals are your goals. If you can put the goals of your team above your personal sales goals, then you are ready to start exploring the prospect of a sales leadership role.
2. You’re a motivator.
Yes, sales reps should be self-motivated. But outside motivation also drives success. A key skill of a sales leader is being able to motivate their team. Think back to your interactions with your team members. Are you reliable and do you inspire confidence in challenging situations? Are you vocal about team successes? Are you optimistic in the face of failure? If you are truly an exemplary team member, chances are someone else already thinks of you as a leader.
3. You have a good track record.
You should have a good and consistent track record in delivering results, but you don’t have to be a top seller. Instead, consistency is key. All good sales managers have proven themselves in the selling arena, but that doesn’t mean they’re simply putting up the best numbers. Top sellers, in fact, often opt to stay in direct sales instead of pursuing a sales leadership position.
4. You are a good coach (or can be)
If your co-workers and new sales members already come to you for advice, it’s a sign that you have what it takes to hold a sales leadership role. Successful sales leaders are motivating in their attitude, constructive in their criticism, and knowledgeable about their team members’ skill sets, strengths and weaknesses. In fact, many sales leaders are performing as a leader well before they have the title.
5. You plan for the long-term
Do you think strategically and look at the long-term picture, or is your commission the only thing you set your sights on each month? If you are more interested in your company’s long-term goals and strategies than your short-term personal goals, then a sales leadership role could be in your future.
So, are you ready for sales leadership?
Sales leaders don’t just sell. They motivate and coach their teams as well as set, analyze and adjust sales goals.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a good sales leader out there who didn’t have a good mentor helping them along the way. Consider the leaders in your own sphere that you could look to for more guidance.
A sales managerial role is not for everyone in sales. In fact, some prefer to remain individual contributors instead of taking on a management role. But if you want to pursue a sales leadership role, consider honing these skills and characteristics.
This article was originally published on June 16, 2020 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance.