Why leadership is important in a sales environment

DSM Digital School of Marketing - leadership

Sales leadership is about the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours which are used to influence people in order to achieve a desired mission. Leadership can have a formal or an informal aspect. Speaking of “leadership” as opposed to”leading” usually implies that the entities doing the leading have some “leadership skills” or competencies.

From an sales organisational viewpoint, leadership is vital because it has such a powerful influence on individual as well as group behaviour(s). Good leaders in the sales department develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience.

What is situational leadership?

The term ’situational leadership’ refers to  a leadership style that has been developed and studied by Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey. This type of leadership refers to when the leader or sales manager of an organisation must adjust his or her leadership style in order to fit the development level of the followers who he is attempting to influence.

With situational leadership, it is the task of the leader to change his leadership style, and not the follower’s task to adapt to the leader’s style. In situational leadership, the style may change constantly in order to meet the needs of others in the organisation according to the situation.

What are organisational goals in the sales environment?

Goals in the sales environment are general statements of what the organisation wants to achieve whereas objectives in the same environment are the specific steps or actions that will be taken to reach these goals.

Both goals as well as objectives should be specific and measurable. Goals can include areas such as profitability, growth and customer service, with a range of objectives that can be used to meet those goals.

Strategic goals and objectives are created to bridge the gap between current capability as well as the mission. They are aligned to the mission. In addition, strategic goals and objectives form the foundation for the action plans. Objectives are often referred to as performance goals.

Sales long-term objectives

Generally, organisations have long-term objectives for such things as return on investment, earnings per share, or size. In addition, they establish minimum acceptable standards or common-sense minimums. Certain limitations, either explicit or implicit (such as “must provide jobs for existing employees”), may also exist.

Objectives give details on the mission statement and constitute a specific set of policy or management objectives for the programmes and operations which are covered in the strategic plan. They are expressed in a manner which allows a future assessment of whether an objective has been achieved.

How to set sales objectives

A sales goal is an end that the organisation strives to reach. However, the sales manager cannot “do” a goal. As a sales manager, you need to break down processes, analyse them, set objectives and then drive hard to achieve them. Doing the same thing, and anticipating different results, doesn’t work.

The sales manager must write an objective for what he or she is attempting to accomplish. Thus, an objective is the aim of an action. It suggests an explicit direction for the action to take and a particular quality of work to be achieved within a given period of time.

Objectives reflect the desired outcomes for individuals, groups, and organisations. These provide direction for decision-making and a criterion against which outcomes are measured. Thus, objectives are the foundation of planning.

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DSM Digital School of Marketing - Sales management