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The art of sales leadership

The art of sales leadership

over 2 years ago Empty Jason Thornhill

Image 2021 09 20 T16 00 33

Updated April 2023

True sales leadership is as much an art as it is a science. Here at Thornhvac we have been recruiting HVAC sales engineers, managers and directors for more than 20 years and we have learnt how to spot the traits of a truly inspiring leader in the field.

What sets a high performer apart from the crowd?

One of the easiest measures of sales prowess is past performance. Candidates who have consistently generated results for their employer will almost certainly continue to deliver in their new role.

Good sales leaders have an ability to spot these winners and hire them. They know what motivates them and recognise those who can take ownership of their own success. This intuition is definitely more an art than a science, although it is based on a deep-seated knowledge from their own career experiences.

World-class sales leaders engage and inspire others. Once they have their dream team in place, there is very little churn. But how do they make sure they are recruiting the right talent?

Hiring a sales team to lead

Hiring the right people is an art in itself. As recruiters, we are well aware of the need to have a robust process in place. So, what do we look for that you should keep an eye out for too?

In a nutshell, hunger. There are plenty of books and courses that teach the science of sales technique but the art of a good sales team relies on the drive and passion of the key individuals who are meeting customers day to day.

Part of this process will be cultural fit. If you are hiring your team from scratch, you can tailor the people around your own sales and leadership style. If you already have a team in place that you want to expand, new people will need to fit in with the team. There may also be key personnel within the company to consider when it comes to cultural fit, not to mention the ethos of the business.

Establishing pitch and process

On the face of it, sales process is science rather than art. However, there is an art to understanding how your competitors approach the market and where the gaps in service might be. Your team will need to be aligned in this respect and they may also have plenty to contribute. After all, they are the ones in daily contact with your client base and they will understand their pain points better than anyone.

Keeping an eye on the numbers

As a sales leader, you will have a firm grip on the sales stats and KPIs of your team. However, a good leader uses these as a basecamp from which to explore. Instead of looking simply at calls per day, perhaps understand the calls to sales ratio. Another good leadership skill is to look holistically at sales performance and understand the many varied factors impacting on performance. Hours worked, team dynamics, culture, product availability, market conditions and employee benefits are just some of the less obvious influences that can cause your team’s sales figures and motivation to take a knock.

Know what you want

Being clear about what you expect from your team is a must-have quality in any good sales leader. This isn’t just in terms of targets and forecasts. The strongest leaders have a cultural expectation that inspires their team to behave ethically, transparently and in the best interests of the customer at all times. A sales person is the first point of contact with your company and your brand and reputation needs to be in safe hands.

Lead by example

Good sales managers are highly motivated individuals in their own right. They are passionate about succeeding and exceeding. When it comes to motivating others, they know that there is never going to be a one size fits all approach. Everyone’s drivers will be different and the best leaders understand what makes each person on their team tick.

People development

The ability to spot potential and nurture talent is what sets great leaders apart from good leaders. Regular training sessions and one on one coaching will help a sales team continue to perform at its best. It will also generate loyalty so that all the hard work that has been put in to build a team isn’t lost to the competition.

If you are looking for high performing sales people to join your team, give us a call on 0115 8714 777. If you are looking for a new sales leadership opportunity, check out our latest jobs.