9 Action Items You Can Do Now as a Highly Effective Sales Leader

9 Action Items You Can Do Now as a Highly Effective Sales Leader - Predictable Profits

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As your company grows and more sales come down the pipeline, you need someone to handle “big-picture” decisions for your sales organization. You need a sales leader. 

When your company started out, you, as the owner, fulfilled this role. But now, your director of sales, vice president of sales, or chief revenue officer (CRO), has the sales leadership position.

The sales leader sets the strategy and vision for the sales team and is responsible for its overall performance. Your sales leader also provides coaching and mentorship to sales managers and sales team members and is responsible for hiring and developing talent within the sales organization. 

Note that when promoting sales reps, not all make great leaders. While sales experience is necessary for an effective sales leader, the role requires additional skills.

The same goes for sales managers. They handle the day-to-day operations of running a sales team, including coaching, training, and hiring, as well as ensuring the sales team is motivated and running at peak performance. They can be groomed to take on a sales leadership role as long as they keep nurturing the right skill set. 

The sales leader creates the master plan for your business. This includes developing consistent, predictable sales revenue strategies to support the company’s growth goals. The sales leader should also set guidelines for your company’s sales culture. 

Consider an effective sales leader as your “battlefield commander.” This is your top executive tasked with creating sales strategies to defeat your competition. Those responsibilities include

  • Using experiences to determine strategic direction.
  • Maximizing revenue using the most cost-effective sales models.
  • Segmenting the market into verticals.
  • Putting together specialized sales teams when necessary.
  • Establishing a team behavior code.

High-performing sales leaders report an overall average annual quota attainment of 105% compared to 54% for underperforming sales managers. (Source.)

What Action Items Can I Do (Right Now) as a Highly Effective Sales Leader - Predictable Profits

Here are nine action items an effective sales leader must tackle to keep your sales organization on track:

1. Create a High-Performing Sales Process.

Your sales process is the most critical aspect of your business to nail down.

Without a high-converting, systemized sales process, no other efforts matter. You can attract thousands of leads, but you’re wasting your time if you only convert a tiny fraction.

So whether you send an email or create an entire multi-step funnel, you must build predictability into your sales process.

This means you’ve arrived at a point where you know exactly what works every time, what sort of metrics to track, and how to further improve your sales process with the data you collect.

The sales call, for instance, is a good place to start. Through your sales process, your reps know exactly what needs to happen before you ask for the sale.

If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing - 9 Action Items You Can Do Now as a Highly Effective Sales Leader

Read more about this in our related piece, “Building a Predictable, High-Converting Sales Process.”

2. Build Your Sales Playbook.

Creating a sales playbook can improve your numbers in a big way. 

Basically, a sales playbook outlines your ideal sales process. It encompasses every stage your prospect goes through when making a buying decision. And it’s documented and easily accessible so your sales reps can refer to them whenever necessary.

A sales playbook is key when scaling your sales team. Because it eliminates guesswork and inefficiencies, allowing your salespeople to perform at their best.

If you don’t have a playbook, now is the time to create one.

Your sales pipeline needs systems so you can sell at scale - Predictable Profits

The sales playbook may likely vary from company to company, but you can read more about the essential steps of building one here: “7 Steps for Building Your Sales Playbook.”

3. Set the Tone for Your Sales Managers.

Your organization’s sales leader also manages your sales managers. 

Top-performing sales managers are not only skilled at leading conversations to drive top sales performance, but they’re also highly proficient in other related roles.

Sales coaching roles:

  • Motivation
  • Focus and action planning
  • Execution and productivity
  • Advising and facilitating
  • Development

Sales management roles:

  • Performance management 
  • Pipeline and forecasting
  • Meeting leadership
  • Territory planning
  • Talent management

Your sales leader must groom your sales managers to operate at this higher level or hire top-notch talent to join your sales organization. 

By nurturing your sales managers’ growth and development, your sales teams can leverage this guidance to sell with greater speed and (perhaps even) reduce operating costs.

Ten roles you must be awesome at to be a top-performing sales manager - What Do I Need To Build a Top-Performing Sales Team? | Predictable Profits

4. Audit Your Sales Funnels.

An effective sales leader always looks for ways to improve conversion rates. 

For this reason, periodic audits of your sales funnel — and, by extension, every profit center — is required to uncover missed opportunities to boost your numbers. 

At Predictable Profits, we employ our own Funnel Audit Process to optimize conversions.

This is why we stress the importance of key metrics. They serve as “macro dials” to better understand how your funnels perform and what to correct.

5. Craft An Effective Sales Framework For Your Team.

While it’s easy to read a sales script word-for-word, having a proper sales framework that serves as a guide is often more effective.

Frameworks are step-by-step guidelines sales reps use to structure a pitch.

Think of frameworks as “building blocks” that allow your sales team leeway to leverage “their strongest personal traits, build genuine relationships and master the art of closing deals.” (Source.)

The goal of your sales framework is to allow your sales reps to be as authentic as possible, especially while building rapport.

It includes the usual questions and objections while also acting as a development tool for keeping your reps sharp and focused. 

Eventually, they become so familiar with the process that they can move away from the script.

6. Establish Rules for Systematic Follow-Ups.

Many businesses miss out on sales opportunities because they don’t follow up enough with leads.

Business legend Chet Holmes credits his sales and marketing success to his “PHD”– or pig-headed determination — when following up.

Remember, most prospects aren’t ready to buy immediately. Our own research found that only 7.5% of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) convert within the first 90 days. Another 42.5% of them just require more time.

So if you don’t follow up, you’re losing these sales.

A solid follow-up strategy keeps your sales pipeline full. After all, buyers buy on their own time (not yours). 

  • Adopt an omnichannel approach, especially as you create demand.
  • Pay attention to your retargeting efforts, both with paid ads and organic traffic.
  • Leverage social networks to stay top of mind. Linkedin, in particular, is one of our favorites for B2B markets.
  • Interact with your prospects by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts.
  • Use marketing automation software or a robust CRM (customer relationship management) tool to keep track of your follow-ups
According to the renowned sales and marketing expert Chet Holmes - Predictable Profits

7. Score Your Sales Team.

The most successful sales teams have regular coaching and mentoring built into their culture.

With this in mind, it is important for you, as a sales leader, to periodically listen to recorded sales calls and score them accordingly.

These days, you have software services available, such as Gong.io or Avoma, that allow you to create scoring templates that align well with your sales playbook.

By consistently evaluating your salespeople and providing them with feedback on how they can improve or level up their game, you’re helping them overcome specific areas that need the most improvement and showcase winning methods and techniques for all to learn.

Scoring your sales team involves knowing (and tracking) your most important KPIs. Find out more about tracking your KPIs in this video from the Predictable Profits YouTube channel:

8. Stay Up-to-Date on the Latest Industry Trends and Developments.

To stay current with industry trends, read industry publications, attend conferences and seminars, and network with other sales professionals.

By keeping yourself as a sales leader updated on your industry’s hot topics and latest developments, you can anticipate changes in customer needs and develop strategies to address them.

Staying current also means being aware of new technology developments that can improve sales productivity and effectiveness. 

For example, investing in sales enablement tools such as Salesforce can help sales teams manage pipelines, track customer interactions, and measure results.

9. Invest in Best-in-Class Sales Training.

Sales is a complex process. Success in the field requires more than just innate talent. Sales reps must constantly update their skills and knowledge.

Your sales team should never stop learning. As a sales leader, create a culture of learning, so your team always strives for improvement.

Adding a sales training program is a smart investment. Combined with regular coaching sessions and capable sales managers, sales training increases the likelihood that your sellers become top performers by 63%.

Remember, too, superstar performers often get frustrated without strong training and coaching, especially when there’s a lack of investment in them or coaching support.

Effective sales training increases the likelihood of being a top-performing salesperson by 63% - What Do I Need To Build a Top-Performing Sales Team? | Predictable Profits

Conclusion: A Final Word on What You Can Do Now as a Highly Effective Sales Leader

The strategies outlined in this article are a foundation for success as a sales leader. But what else can you do to take your sales leadership to the next level?

Here are a few items to remember:

  • Be transparent with your team. Sales leaders who are open and honest with their team members earn respect and trust.
  • Encourage creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Sales reps who are free to experiment are more likely to come up with innovative ideas.
  • Create a positive working environment. Sales reps who enjoy coming to work are more productive and successful.
  • Give your team the resources they need to be successful. Sales reps equipped with the right tools and training are more likely to close deals.

The sales leader’s role constantly evolves, and your company’s sales leadership must adapt to the ever-changing landscape. 

Sales Training and Coaching - Predictable Profits

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