Chandresh Shah

Definition of a True Sales Leader

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If you Google the definition of a sales leader, you will find so many scholarly articles, books, and other pieces of advice. But it all came together to me the other day.

I was speaking with a vice president of sales at a software company. It was Friday morning and he had a meeting with the CEO of the company at 8 AM. He allowed me to listen into the phone conversation.

One of the most important things that struck me was that he was able to dive into the details of every individual prospect in the pipeline as if he was in charge of that sale. In fact, these were not his direct prospects. He had a team of 5 individuals reporting to him.

At the end of the call I asked him how does he collect the sales pipeline data and prepare a report for the CEO?

He told me that he did not have to “collect” the data. The data was in the CRM and his brain all the time, as if these were his own prospects. He was able to do this because he works intimately and closely with every salesperson at every step of the sales process coach them, guide them, and monitor the CRM system for activities.

I have seen so many sales leaders where they scramble on a Thursday evening shooting out an email to his sales staff asking for the status of their pipeline and emphasizing which ones are hot, which ones can they close this week or this month. They would not be in a position to give any granular detail about these prospects. Just ask them when was the last time they spoke with each salesperson, how many times in a week, and what was the nature of the conversation.

So what is the difference between these two individuals? The first one is a true sales leader in my opinion because he leads the team in the true sense. The 2nd individual is a manager. The title might say vice president, but he is simply managing the process, collecting data and reporting it. He is just a statistician. Statistics do not always give insights.

So there you have it: definition of a sales leader.

Are you the owner or CEO of your company? You know what to do now.