December 4, 2019 Comments Closed

Top Seven Mistakes Every Sales Leader Should Avoid

Posted by:CLIFTON WARREN onDecember 4, 2019

A team is only as strong as its weakest link”

Mark Gray

Do you remember The Weakest Link?

It was a television quiz show featuring a team of nine contestants. They would take turns to answer general knowledge questions, within a time limit, to create a ‘chain’ of nine correct answers in a row. At the end of each round, the players would vote one contestant – ‘the weakest link’ – out of the game.

For many firms, the weakest link is often the producer who makes the least contribution. This individual can be difficult to weed out unless the firm has a strong culture of accountability.

Sales leaders often make mistakes that stall growth results. Here are the seven most common:

Mistake #1: Not taking ownership

A common key to success is to have someone who is fully empowered to take responsibility for addressing the key components of effective sales leadership, including: providing the right tools; providing quality support; developing and retaining talent.

Mistake #2: Not knowing what to measure

Top leaders measure results with a level of detail that allows them to understand exactly what is happening. They also track their successes and the reasons for any failures, such as accounts won, not won, or lost.

Mistake #3: Failure to manage what you measure

The best leaders hold everyone accountable for results. What is measured should be managed. If results are not being achieved, accountability should be ratcheted up. This can be done in a number of different ways – for example, meeting with producers weekly, or bi-weekly, to review and discuss results and performance. The best leaders also tailor the frequency and means to the individual person.

Mistake #4: Failure to provide necessary help

When someone is falling short, a leader should step in to find out why, and then provide the help that’s needed. Sometimes this involves education and training; other times it might require a change in sales strategy and focus.

Mistake #5: Not having the courage to act

For many who are not achieving their desired results, tolerating poor performance is frequently their Achilles’ Heel. Treating the best and worst performers in the same way is a formula for mediocrity.

Mistake #6: Failure to elevate expectations

Top leaders continually raise the bar on performance. Complacency, comfort and acceptance of poor results are common problems for many average performers. Great sales leadership frequently involves raising the bar on the definition of acceptable behaviour and results.

Mistake #7: Not having everyone going in the same direction

It is essential to have buy-in, from the whole team, to the need to be a real sales organisation and to create a genuine culture of accountability. The best leaders must also be totally committed to these goals.

Firms that don’t have a strong culture of accountability wind up treating their best and worst performers in the same way. This is a sure recipe for producing mediocre results.


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