Introduction

Introduction: If your sales leader doesn’t know how to sell, work creatively within a process, recruit top talent and develop them further, you don’t have a sales leader. At best, you have an expensive babysitter.

So, how do you evaluate a sales leader? Founders and business leaders can systematically assess a team leader by breaking down their sales organization into three key performance indicators: their sales abilities, their ability to use creative measures to drive results, and their ability to attract and retain top talent.

The importance of assessing whether you have the right sales leader cannot be understated, but it can be challenging without guidance in today’s evolving talent market.

Key insights in this guide include:

  • Understanding A Sales Leader Role
  • Measuring Sales Leaders Success
  • Assessing Sales Leaders Sales Abilities
  • Creative Measures & Processes to Drive Sales Success
  • Talent Management: Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

 

What is a sales leader?

 

A sales leader is your sales team’s visionary that guides the team members toward meeting or exceeding their sales goals by demanding excellence and inspiring the team.

Business leaders and founders are essential to the sales organization and overall sales strategy and management.

Sales leaders create effective sales strategies that align with a company’s revenue goals and create a sales culture that fosters success.

Several vital traits make sales leaders stand out among other sales professionals, including:

  • Strategic thinking
  • Sales leadership
  • Creative thinking
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Strong communication skills
  • Having a powerful vision for achievement

 

How your sales leader impacts your sales team

 

sales leader collaborating with sales team

Read: How to hire the best sales leader

While many sales leaders share these traits above, you must apply contexts to assess sales leaders’ performance accurately.

There is no person more influential to the health of the sales organization than the sales leader—their sales activities and behaviors will actively build a strong sales culture or unknowingly destroy it.

Understanding how the sales leader impacts the sales team provides you with the necessary context to conduct meaningful performance reviews.

Know this:

  • Sales leaders should align their sales team with the company’s purpose. Mediocre sales managers will unwillingly create a disconnect;
  • High-performing sales leaders play an active daily role in creating and nurturing the culture through modeling ideal sales behaviors. Mediocre sales managers let a sales culture happen organically;
  • A quality sales leader enables coaching for the sales team and sales reps, rather than being distracted by sales metric inspections;
  • High-performing sales leaders spend less time analyzing results and more time coaching and looking for opportunities for guidance that drives results;
  • Finally, top sales leaders can hire and retain top performers, whereas mediocre sales managers spend time finding salespeople replacements for their sales team;
  • Having clear expectations for the sales organization ensures that you have a measurable standard that your sales leader should actively pursue through their daily actions and behaviors.

How do I measure the success of my sales leader?

When I hear founders describe their sales leader’s current abilities as strong, my first question is always, “how do we know that to be true”? Especially when they admit the company is not maximizing the revenue potential.

So, the obvious question becomes: “Are you sure?” Are you sure the sales leader can sell, be strategic, and lead?

How do you know that to be true?

Many CEOs and founders deny reality. They answer my questions to spare a leader’s feelings or project their own cognitive biases that prevent them from admitting they made the wrong decision.

“So, the obvious question becomes: “Are you sure?” Are you sure the sales leader can sell, be strategic, and lead?  How do you know that to be true?

Ali Mirza, Founder & CEO

Rose Garden

When I ask these business leaders to prove the point, they are usually taken back because it’s the first time they have consciously thought about it.

Founders and business leaders need to systematically assess your team leader’s performance against a set of key performance indicators. And, those three key indicators are their sales abilities, their ability to use creative measures to drive results, and their ability to attract and retain top talent.

So, how do you truly know for a fact whether or not you have the right sales leader? Or, how do you know when it’s time to invest in some executive measures?

We recommend using a systematic evaluation template that categorically unroots imminent challenges with your sales leader and what those challenges may be.

Using tools like assessment rubrics and templates for performance reviews ensures that you assess all the critical components of success and then some.

Rose Garden’s Sales Leader Evaluation Template

Systematically assess your sales leader against measurable sales leader traits and expectations. Ensure your organization’s growth.

Sales leaders are top performers

 

We’ve all heard it before: sales leaders do not need to be the best salespeople. That’s not entirely an outright lie, but it should be seen as the exception to the rule!

The sales leader needs to inspire respect from every salesperson on the sales team, and they do this with their ability to walk into a deal and close it.

Without an excellent sales ability, a team leader will never truly inspire their salespeople to reach their full potential, nor feel confident in their abilities and training.

sales team meeting with VP of sales

Always remember, sales teams with high achievers want nothing to do with low achievers, so they project success and high achievement. How can a sales leader attract top talent when they are a low achiever?

So, you need to be sure your sales leader can garner the team’s respect by showcasing their ability to sell.

Evaluating the sales performance of your leader

It is essential that you determine if your sales leader can even sell. Sales leaders should undergo regular sales assessments and performance reviews as any member of the sales team.

Evaluate your leader’s sales performance considering their sales activities, skills, and right metrics for the whole picture.

It is essential that you determine if your sales leader can even sell. Sales leaders should undergo regular sales assessments and performance reviews as any member of the sales team.

Evaluate your leader’s sales performance considering their sales activities, skills, and right metrics for the whole picture.

Firstly, determine your sales leader’s pitch. Ask yourself:

  • What is their demeanor on sales calls or in-person meetings?
  • Are they confident, or are they nervous?
  • Do they stutter, or are they fluid and smooth?
  • What does their discovery process look like?
  • Do they ask tailored sales questions, or are they asking the standard sales questions?

sales leader and sales rep

Then you need to assess your sales leader’s pitch. Ask yourself:

  • Can they pitch?
  • Do they inspire confidence?
  • Can they move the new customers forward, or are they just reading a list of features and benefits?

Next, we look at their ability to close deals – sales is a numbers game. A salesperson’s job starts when the potential customer says no. Ask yourself:

  • Can they turn that “no” into a “yes”?
  • Can they get that client to commit to moving forward?

Finally, their job is to bring revenue in the door and ensure that it stays there. As every business owner knows: having clients leads to difficulties. Ask yourself:

  • Does my sales leader speak directly to the client in difficult situations?
  • Are situations handled and handled correctly?
  • Do you have to jump in and fix the issue to keep the business?

Understanding the nuances of all of these skill sets will tell you whether or not your sales leader can not only sell but sell well.

Read | When to fire your sales leader

Creative measures to drive sales success

 

sales leader in office make a call to client

Your sales leaders are battlefield commanders tasked with devising your sales strategy and sales process to defeat the competition.

A sales leader’s processes must be strategically driven by sales metrics analysis, domain experience, and creative & calculative decision making.

Sales leaders execute a predictable sales process for the entire sales team to follow while having enough domain experience to know when to change sales strategies.

Annie Duke uses the term “Resulting” in her book Thinking in Bets: When you don’t have all the facts. The concept is that individuals, like sales leaders, determine the quality of a decision solely based on the outcome of that decision.

Sales leaders who use this practice are not good long-term decision-makers.

Evaluating team leads creative measures & processes

You want to make sure that your sales leader is not a “resultist.” They need to make decisions based on domain experience, statistically significant insights, and the pulse of the deal, not just blindly off data and historical results.

Ask yourself:

  • Is there a sales strategy obvious?
  • How does your sales leader make decisions? Is it based on a mixture of sales experience, statistically significant insights, and the pulse of the deal?
  • Does their decision rely solely only on data and historical results?

 

Attracting and retaining top talent

 

Above all else in the sales organization, the sales leader needs to be the best at culture control and sales team development.

Research indicates that high-performing sales cultures are characterized by aligning and gaining clarity on mission or purpose, vision, strategy, and shared sales rep behavior.

The annual CEO speech to the company (no matter how motivating) will not install behaviors and attitudes of all in the sales team —that’s up to the sales leader.

Therefore, the sales leader must set clear expectations for everyone responsible within the sales team and hold the entire team accountable to those expectations every day.

Man and woman engaged in thought-provoking discussion at the office

Sales leaders have uncanny intuition when to intervene with course correction conversations versus implementing forcing functions to keep the team in line —all while refraining from constant hand-holding.

Sales leaders implement intervention methods before a sales rep’s performance review, adapting their coaching approach to suit each individual.

Sales leaders that foster a high-performing sales culture prioritize the hiring process. They devote considerable time and energy to recruiting and selecting the right salespeople for open positions.

Always remember, sales teams with high achievers want nothing to do with low achievers. Therefore, your sales leader needs to be vigilant in growing the right team. Otherwise, you will lose your best people.

Above all else in the sales organization, the sales leader needs to be the best at culture control and sales team development.

Evaluating sales leaders’ team management

Sales leaders build and scale a team of the right people and retain highly accountable, professional salespeople while weeding out unimproved low performers.

Ask yourself:

  • Does your sales leader attract top talent?
  • What is their demeanor in recruitment meetings? Are they confident, or are they nervous?
  • What does their hiring process look like?
  • Do they ask meaningful questions, or are they asking the standard recruitment questions?
  • Do you retain your top performers? What is your sales rep retention rate?
  • How does your sales manager actively support the business’s mission and vision?
  • Do they look for coaching and guidance opportunities, or is support limited to sales rep performance review?
  • Are they hand-holding their sales team?

 

Read: How to Pay your Salespeople: VP Sales & Sales Team

Conclusion

The importance of attracting the best sales leader cannot be understated, but in today’s evolving talent market, it can be challenging without guidance.

The Rose Garden’s Sales Leader Evaluation Template categorically unroots current challenges with your sales leader – essentially threats to your revenue. Our Template also identifies imminent challenges specifically.

We systematically guide you through a rubric of grading your sales leader on all the key components of success and then some.

You can’t afford to leave anything up to chance. To evaluate your sales leader, and ensure your organization’s growth, download the template now or visit Rose Garden.

 

Rose Garden’s Sales Leader Evaluation Template

Systematically assess your sales leader against measurable sales leader traits and expectations. Ensure your organization’s growth.

Are you ready?

We only work with the most determined and passionate leaders. If you want to close more deals, multiply your revenue, and scale your business, we’re ready to take action.