Social Selling Tips of the Week: Sales Leaders vs. So-so Managers

Learn the leadership secrets that separate today’s top sales leaders from the rest.

September 16, 2016

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“Leaders are born, not made.”


Leadership is a difficult thing to master, but the traits that separate an inspiring sales leader from standard sales manager are attainable for practically everyone.

Effective management requires skill, experience, and vision. However, the best seem to have something else. What is it that makes a manager great, and how can you become an effective leader right out of the gate?

To help demystify the process, we’ll outline the qualities of leadership and explore ways to create a culture that inspires your sales team. Let’s dive in.

The Difference Between Workers and Leaders

“When we tell people to do their jobs, we get workers. When we trust people to get the job done, we get leaders,” says author and optimist Simon Sinek. This week’s first post is an excerpt Sinek’s book, Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration. In it, Sinek highlights the subtle yet essential difference between what separates great sales leaders from good sales managers.

“Leadership is hard work. Not the hard work of doing the job—it’s the hard work of learning to let go.” Sinek continues, “It’s the hard work of training people, coaching people, believing in people and trusting people.” Sometimes the hardest part of leadership is letting your team succeed—and fail—without your input.

How Sales Leaders Should Spend Their First 30 Days

Our second article from Colin Nanka, Senior Director of Commercial Sales Enablement at Salesforce, breaks down the five things every sales leader should do in their first 30 days on the job.

“Often new sales leader underestimates how hard it can be to build a culture,” Nanka writes. “…But people don’t follow a title (sales manager or “boss”), they follow a leader.”

The five steps every new sales leader should embark on include defining your team’s strengths and goals; asking permission to hold them accountable; leading by example; having uncomfortable conversations; and—most importantly—thanking your team.

Three Ways to Build Your Brand as a Leader

The final article this week, from Lori Richardson at Score More Sales, addresses how to craft your brand itself into an industry leader.

“Strong leaders put their stake in the ground and let others around them know what they believe and encourage others to follow them,” Richardson writes. “In a sales team, the leader sets the tone.”

Richardson goes on to layout the three core principles of sales leadership:

1.   Stand for Something

2.   Lead By Example

3.   Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

“All good leaders take risks,” Richardson notes, “and sometimes risks don’t pan out favorably. It is not only OK to fail, but a necessary part of success.”

Real Leaders Are Made, Not Born

Real leadership goes beyond skillful management. Experienced sales leaders leverage their years of experience in junior, then senior roles—finally mastering the skills to put them at the top of the industry. However, the best don’t just provide know-how, they train and inspire their teams to succeed (and fail) on their own.

It’s easy to get lost in the mountains of metrics and data, but today’s top sales leaders get standout results by creating a culture that continually inspires their sales team to excellence.

For more insights and exploration about how you can lead your team to success, subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solution blog for the best tips and tricks from today’s sales leaders.