Sales leadership is the ability to motivate a sales team to achieve results through empowering each salesperson. It involves understanding each member of your team and fostering their professional growth.

7 Traits of Sales leaders and Managers

Sales leadership vs. sales management

Both sales management and sales leadership frequently involve managing a variety of managerial responsibilities as well as overseeing sales teams. However, sales leadership reflects a person’s commitment to developing each member of their team, whereas sales management reflects a person’s role, rank, or seniority within an organization. While leaders put more emphasis on the success of the team as a whole than managers do, managers may concentrate on the team’s overall success. It’s crucial to keep in mind, though, that sales managers can progress to become sales leaders by honing their coaching and leadership abilities.

Here are some differences between sales leaders and sales managers:


When giving instructions, managers play a reactive role while leaders take a proactive approach. Sales managers frequently follow instructions given by higher management. However, sales managers frequently come up with new concepts and strategies on their own and support their implementation.


Both sales leaders and managers deal with workplace change. Sales managers frequently assist their team in adjusting to or embracing change. However, sales executives enable their teams to be the ones driving workplace change.


Managers and leaders both set goals for their teams. Sales managers frequently concentrate on short-term objectives and handling ongoing issues or concerns. The long-term goals of sales leaders are to look to the future and the bigger picture of success.

Working with salespeople

Sales managers and sales leaders both oversee sales teams. Managers prioritize directing salespeople and advising them on how to develop their skills. However, leaders coach the salespeople on their team. They comprehend and have an impact on salespeople’s attitudes and motivations, and they empower and inspire them to succeed, advance professionally, and surpass their objectives.

What is sales leadership?

Sales leadership is the capacity to inspire a sales team to produce results by giving each salesperson autonomy. It entails getting to know each team member and supporting their development as a professional. Instead of being told what to do, effective sales leadership motivates salespeople to achieve results out of a desire to do a good job.

As a sales leader, you must assess the sales team’s and company’s present performance and decide what you hope to accomplish. Making decisions, creating plans and strategies, and inspiring salespeople to contribute to the success are all possible aspects of success. This often requires using human-focused leadership and various personal abilities.

Ways to improve your sales leadership skills

Here are some ways to improve your sales leadership skills:

Give feedback

Sales leaders give immediate, effective feedback to salespeople. This criticism aids them in raising their performance, and it frequently relates to competencies in selling. However, sales managers must give feedback on all facets of a salesperson’s performance, though the appropriate moment may change.

Consider using the BIG method to provide feedback. The BIG method stands for:

Sales leaders also welcome feedback from their team. Feedback on a team’s overall state or a leader’s performance may be given to a leader. They make use of this criticism to update procedures or enhance their own performance.

Hold weekly one-on-one meetings

One-on-one meetings are an effective tool for coaching salespeople. These meetings give the team’s leaders the chance to connect and establish relationships with each individual. A salesperson’s one-on-one meeting with you gives them the opportunity to speak with you about anything they want, whether those topics are personal or work-related. They could talk about previous criticism they’ve gotten, ask queries, offer suggestions, or share personal information.

Develop emotional intelligence

Its important for sales leaders to develop emotional intelligence. They will be able to better understand the motivations of each salesperson on their team and forge stronger relationships with them as a result. A sales manager can better motivate the team to develop, advance, and succeed when they are aware of each salesperson on the team.

Have coaching conversations

Coaching is an essential aspect of being a sales leader. Have coaching discussions with every salesperson to assist them in refining their abilities and maximizing their potential. Think about utilizing the GROW model as a guide for coaching and achievement. The GROW model involves:

Leverage strengths

Make the most of each employee’s strengths and aid in their skill development. Employees may feel more engaged as a result, which could enhance performance in general. Keep an eye on employee performance, and think about conducting assessments of each team member’s strengths. Identify each salesperson’s strengths and work with them to develop them.

Show that you care

Show your team you honestly care about them. This could increase team spirit and your team’s confidence in your leadership skills. When people arrive in the morning, try to say hello to them by name and make an effort to get to know more about their interests, goals, and personal lives.

Be transparent and authentic

Its important for sales leaders to be transparent and authentic. Salespeople frequently seek out leaders who stand out and uphold a clear set of values. For your team to like and respect you, it’s crucial that your actions reflect your morals.

Transparency and authenticity require you to understand yourself. It’s critical to be aware of your values and behavior. To improve how you deal with others, become more aware of your own personal leadership style.

Focus on target goals

Sales leaders are target and deadline-driven. This calls for inspiring your team to achieve their objectives in any situation. This might entail assisting your team in avoiding interruptions or processing information that might hinder their success.

Hold your team accountable

Sales leaders hold their team members accountable. For salespeople, this frequently entails establishing individual objectives and quotas and rewarding those who meet or surpass them. Salespeople benefit frequently from feeling proud of their work, which inspires them to work hard and succeed.

Speak up for your team

As a sales manager, it’s crucial to inspire or give your team members the confidence they need to handle problems on their own. But it’s also crucial that you support your team when they ask for your assistance. Pay attention to their worries and, if necessary, speak up for them. This may help your team appreciate and respect you more.

Build your communication skills

Strong communication skills are critical for any successful sales organization. Recognize how you communicate best with others, and become more aware of how you give and receive information from them. Request feedback from your team regarding the current communication process, and look for areas for improvement.

Learn how to recruit talent

Sales leaders often assist with recruiting talent. Its important to have a clear process in place. This could aid in finding and hiring the top salespeople that people want to work with.

Model a positive mindset

Sales managers frequently set the tone for their team and sometimes the entire company. It’s crucial that you have positive attitudes about your efforts and routines. This might cause your coworkers and the sales team to think and behave in a similar manner.


How do you develop sales leadership?

These attributes are described below in order of priority.
  • Target fixation. The best sales leaders are target and deadline driven.
  • Command instinct. …
  • Hiring ability. …
  • Sales intuition. …
  • Control orientation. …
  • Coaching adaptability. …
  • Strategic leadership.

Why is sales leadership important?

Sales Leader Qualities
  • Standing. Being able to put your words into action is one of a sales leader’s most crucial traits.
  • Empathy. …
  • Knows Numbers. …
  • Concentration and Focus. …
  • Emotional IQ. …
  • Ability to Motivate. …
  • Change Management. …
  • Knows Their Team.

What is the best leadership style for sales manager?

Here are five specific tactics that CEOs, like yourself, can adopt in the coming months to improve sales leadership and grow your company’s revenue.
  1. Emphasize Objective Data. …
  2. Realize the Cost of a Bad Hire. …
  3. Demand Accurate Forecasting. …
  4. Research and Adopt the Right Tools. …
  5. Develop Leaders at Every Level.

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