Leadership in the Sales Management Process4 Aug, 2005 By: Nick Warnock imageSource
Leadership in the Sales Management Process
“Salesmanship is an American specialty. It typifies the competitive spirit of
our economy. Nowhere else in the world have so many executives come up through
the selling ranks.” - Robert A Whitney, Circa 1963
If I had a dollar for every book, seminar or meeting that I have read, attended
or sat through regarding the topic of leadership, I would probably have the down
payment on a home.
The topic of leadership is likely one that has prompted discussion since the
beginning of organized civilization. You can rest assured that even the earliest
societies possessed leaders among them, and their styles varied depending on the
people they were responsible for leading.
After much thought and probably far too much discussion on this topic, I have
concluded that there is no “right way” or “correct formula” for great
leadership. Looking at the careers of the men celebrated in the media or in
history for their leadership, I can draw certain parallels and underlying
qualities that they share.
However, it is just as important to note that each style is uniquely different.
It is, in fact, the circumstances or time of the dilemma that prompts the man in
charge to make decisions a certain way.
Of all the qualities great leaders possess, the ability to motivate is the
single most important. This is especially true when you are talking about
leadership in the sales world.
There are tactics that can be employed as you lead your team to exceeding set
goals; however, the challenge lies in keeping those motivating tactics fresh.
The pectoral muscle, after three sets of ten reps for weeks on end will cease to
In the same way, the manager who delivers the same motivational speech every
Monday morning to his team will cease to see increased results. The troops will
just get tired of it and they will stop improving or growing as sales
Techniques that I have found to be successful include:
• Talks by Veteran Salespeople. One very effective way to keep the message fresh
is to have different sales team veterans deliver a talk based on their own
experiences. Their knowledge and wisdom will inspire hope as well as carry more
meaning to the cynical rep who may question a manager’s experience. This
practice is also beneficial in keeping morale up as the veteran team members
asked to speak will feel honored and put in an even greater effort towards the
team and its goals. It also gives some of the lesser-experienced members of the
team something to work or aim for.
• Outside Speakers. Another technique that I find helpful is to bring in
performers from another office or team to speak. Using their successes as
something to work for will get the teams competitive juices flowing and
certainly up your sales quota.
• Senior Management. Bringing in a senior management individual will also mix
things up and get the troops going when things slow down a bit.
Remember, as a leader in sales, your main job is to motivate your team. Keep
them hungry and working hard for the group goal and everything else will fall