No respectable contractor would start construction on a building without first having a blueprint. Your sales leadership framework is similar to a blueprint: It will dictate how you build your team and create the foundation for how your team works together.
To carry the construction metaphor a bit further, consider the importance of a foundation on a building. Without a strong foundation, a building can’t stand. It will start to crack and crumble. Your team is the same. Without a strong framework, you won’t have the foundations for sales leadership to build and motivate your team.
What makes up a successful sales leadership framework? Let me walk you through the things you need to consider when deciding what type of leader you want to be.
Developing a Sales Leadership Framework with Success In Mind
If you want to lead your sales team to success, you need a sales leadership framework. What is an ideal sales leadership framework?
Your sales leadership framework should start with your mission, vision, and values. Leaders need to begin with a solid base in these three areas if they want to lead successfully. After this base, you must explore components like competencies, leadership style, decision-making style, and more.
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Use your framework to establish strategies to bring your vision to life and set priorities for your team.
Your framework should also cover how you plan to function as a team. What kind of leader do you want to be? A core competency every leader must master is communication. Much of your time as a leader will be spent communicating. Invest in your reps and learn to engage with and inspire them.
Finally, your framework should help you identify what success looks like for your team. Remember: your sales force reflects who you are as a leader. Work on yourself and your sales management style and framework to contribute directly to your team’s success.
Leadership and Communication Style
The first element of your sales leadership framework is your leadership and communication style. Your decisions in these areas will dictate how your team communicates with you and interact with one another.
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Some elements to consider:
- Meeting Cadences: How often do you want to host meetings? Will you have regular one-on-ones with team members, or meet with the group as a whole?
- Hands-off vs. Hands-on: How available will you be to help your team? Do you prefer they remain more autonomous or consult you on decisions?
You can also choose whether you plan to be more of an authoritarian leader, a coach-style leader, or a laissez-faire leader (or any number of other leadership styles). You will need to adopt your leadership style to the outcome and what an individual needs from you. Your leadership style will impact your metrics and competencies.
Try several tactics to see what works best for your team in your industry.
Sales Training and Coaching
Another important question to answer when setting up your personal sales leadership framework is, how much sales training do you need to provide your team?
Some sales leaders regularly coach their reps, whereas others avoid direct coaching (though I’d argue you don’t have time not to coach). Do you intend to offer training sessions to your staff often? If so, you’ll need to establish a culture of continuous learning through the following avenues:
- Hiring: It’s possible to train the right attitude for continuous improvement, but it’s simpler to bring in strong workers who already want to grow within your organization.
- Reinforcement: The easiest way to ensure sales training is ineffective is to fail on the follow-up. Take steps to reinforce all sales training initiatives, allowing reps to test new skills and receive regular feedback.
- Setting the Example: Finally, practice what you preach. If you encourage your staff to embrace new methodologies and sales techniques, then balk at the idea of adjusting your own processes, you will have a hard time building the right culture in your team.
If you’re dedicated to bettering your team through sales training, take the time to develop training resources. Alternatively, you can utilize a resource like my Sales Accelerator, which offers customizable online learning paths for any sales team.
Sometimes, leadership is about setting rules and processes and maintaining discipline. Other times, however, being a leader is all about celebrating wins. How do you want to reward your team’s successes?
I once asked a client how they would celebrate winning a meeting with the largest client he was pursuing. He said, "Thank you for doing your job."
Then, we reversed our roles. I grabbed him, hugged him and praised him for getting the meeting. Which type of leader do you think the average sales rep would rather work with?
People respond to recognition and gratitude. It is free, and you have an endless amount to dole out to your team. You don’t have to celebrate every single successful call, but you should consider taking steps to celebrate noteworthy wins that contribute to your team’s success.
Not a hugger? Don’t worry, there are other ways to celebrate milestone victories. Here are a few to consider:
- Quarterly bonuses for top performers
- Monthly team lunches
- Personalized rewards for milestone-based leaders each quarter
- Shout-outs in the company newsletter
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Holding your team accountable is important, but equally important to your leadership framework is how you reward your team for exceptional performance.
Beyond the Sales Leadership Framework: Paving the Way for Success
Nobody wants to construct a building that’s designed to crack and fall apart the second it’s finished, and nobody wants to build or lead a sales team that isn’t optimized for success. Spending time creating a sales leadership framework can help set you on the right path, ultimately creating alignment, direction, and purpose for your entire sales organization.
Following these three examples of sales leadership framework elements, you can build a solid foundation for your leadership style, communication patterns, reward style, and more. However, building a sales leadership framework is only the beginning of your journey to becoming an incredible sales leader.
You need to be able to make tough decisions, hold yourself and your team accountable, and build a legacy to become a great sales leader. You can learn all this and more in my free resource, the How To Lead eBook. Download the eBook today to take the next step toward becoming a sales leader worth following.