Sales Management Training & the Importance of Leadership Style Agility
What happens when a high-level sports team is doing badly? When their losses outnumber their wins? When they face relegation?
Do all the players get fired?
Of course not. Instead, the person responsible for the team’s success pays the price – usually with his job. That’s right. It’s the manager who takes the fall.
You might be thinking, “That doesn’t seem fair. If the team isn’t performing, it’s the players who should face consequences!”
It’s true that a few new star players never hurt a team’s performance. But who’s in charge of hiring?
If it seems cutthroat, it’s because it is. But leadership has always been serious business.
So as a manager, how do you make sure your team gets results? And what’s the key to being not only a successful manager but a great leader?
JFK once said,
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
If that’s not a great case for sales management training, then we don’t know what is!
What is sales management training?
Sales management training is exactly what it sounds like – training that focuses on the ‘management’ part of sales management. However, a whopping 73% of sales managers don’t currently get the training they need to coach a high-performing sales team.
That means the vast majority of managers out there are missing vital tools from their leadership toolbox. They’re either not receiving training at all, or receiving training that doesn’t cover the topics they need to succeed.
Sales management training topics include:
- Recruiting and hiring the best candidates
- Communicating with the sales force
- Goal setting
- Time management and delegation
- Coaching and mentoring
- Conflict management
- Sales planning
- Sales pipeline evaluation
- Analyzing and tracking KPIs
If you’ve come from the world of sales, and find yourself in a management position, it’s most likely because you excelled at selling. Your hard work was recognized and you received a promotion.
While sales expertise and a deep understanding of the industry is a great place to start, you may be surprised to learn that it’s not those qualities that will enable you to become a great sales manager.
Why is sales management training so important?
As we just mentioned, being a great salesperson does not make a great sales manager. And being a great sales manager is essential.
It can be argued that sales managers are the most important members of the sales team.
Sales managers, like all managers, carry immense responsibility. Not only must they answer to the board, satisfy stakeholders, and lead a sales force by example, they’re also responsible for meeting the company’s goals and targets.
Whether you’re leading a sports team or a sales force, success lies on your shoulders, and your shoulders alone. You answer for your KPIs, and you report on results to the board.
Sales management training through the 6 styles of leadership
Strong leaders come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, but did you know that nearly every manager falls into one of six styles of leadership?
Understanding the most common approaches to management can help you recognize and hone your preferred style of leadership. It’s also the first step in knowing how, when, and where to adapt your leadership style – something we’ll explore a little later.
1. Directive leadership
The directive leadership style demands immediate compliance. Its commanding and controlling approach is most effective in a crisis when immediate results are needed.
It’s not uncommon for directive leaders to use threats as a way to force desired behavior. However, this is unlikely to be effective in the long-term for obvious reasons!
A directive leader will say, “Do as I tell you.”
2. Visionary leadership
Visionary leaders have a clear idea of what the future should look like. They bring their vision to life by:
- Setting concrete goals
- Mobilizing their team towards that vision
Visionary leadership is overwhelmingly positive and most effective when direction is required. Leaders who adhere to this style are empathetic, big-picture thinkers who communicate well.
A visionary leader will say, “Come with me.”
3. Connected leadership
Connected leadership favors a people-first approach that focuses on harmony and shies away from confrontation. Connected leaders are good at forming bonds and communicating feedback which:
- Boosts morale
- Builds emotional bonds
- Gives team members a sense of belonging
However, the connected leader’s relentlessly supportive approach can prove detrimental to less driven team members, who would benefit from a style that applies more pressure.
A connected leader will say, “People come first.”
4. Democratic leadership
Democratic leadership takes an open, communicative approach that, like connected leadership, creates an open environment and fosters high morale. Democratic leaders empower their team and create buy-in by working collaboratively to make decisions.
However, this collective type of decision-making can be inefficient. This style tends to work best with team members who are more experienced.
A democratic leader will say, “What do you propose?”
5. Pacesetting leadership
Pacesetting leaders set high standards and lead by example. They focus on goals and the speed at which they are achieved.
Pacesetting leadership is a style that garners quick results in a mature team. However, it risks overwhelming less experienced team members who might be tempted to sacrifice the quality of their work to meet a deadline.
A pacesetting leader will say, “Do as I do now.”
6. Coaching leadership
Coaching leaders are committed to developing people for the future. They are nurturers – adept at mentoring and bringing out the best in people.
A coaching leadership style is especially beneficial to less experienced team members but does require time and patience. If you’re looking for immediate results, then a different style of leadership may be more effective.
A coaching leader says things like, “What are the options? Which one will work for you?”
Sales management training can help you identify your leadership style
Did you recognize your preferred leadership style in the list above? Your preferred leadership style will be the one that resonates with you on a core level and the one that comes to you most naturally.
Being able to identify your preferred leadership style shows introspection, emotional intelligence, and a knowledge of who you are as a leader. It’s also a valuable skill and a great first step in becoming a manager with a diverse leadership style.
The real power comes in not only having a hold on your preferred leadership style but also mastering the others – and having the ability to switch between them depending on the situation.
This is leadership agility.
Why your sales management training should include leadership agility
Would you use a screwdriver to put a nail in a wall? No, you’d use a hammer. Of the tools in your box, you know that a hammer will get the job done effectively and efficiently.
Relying on your preferred leadership style is like using just one tool in your toolbox. This is why, as a manager, it’s extremely hard to succeed if you’re only employing one style of leadership.
Back in the day, leadership style was subconscious. You were whatever type of leader you were predisposed to be. But we’ve evolved as humans, and as leaders. Now, the leadership style we choose to show can be a conscious one.
You can determine which leadership style to apply to a given situation by asking yourself two simple questions:
- What is my mindset?
- What is my goal?
Once you’ve checked that your mindset is in line with your goal, you can then choose the leadership style most suited to the situation or the person you’re interacting with – the style most likely to help you achieve your goal effectively and efficiently.
Take directive leadership. Sure, it’s not the most positive leadership style, but it can be highly effective in the event of a crisis, for example, if a sales rep on your team is using the same sleazy closing technique over and over again.
Each style of leadership has its place in your managerial toolbelt. The key to leadership success is being able to adapt from one style to the next as the situation demands.
How Krauthammer training transforms you into an agile leader
Do you remember your last training?
How much of it are you still applying today?
If you’re drawing a blank, don’t feel bad because you’re not alone. Studies have shown that after six days, people forget 75% of the information they learn in training!
That’s why Krauthammer training programs focus on changing your behavior instead of simply telling you what to do.
Changing your behavior can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to adjust behavior that comes innately, like for instance, your leadership style.
Leadership style agility is the crux of Krauthammer’s Engaging Leadership program.
The program trains managers to develop leadership diversity by showing them how to take charge of their preferred leadership style, instead of being a victim to it.
At the end of the program, participants will have mastered the craft of applying different leadership styles with ease and intuition and will be ready to take their leadership journey to the next level.
Krauthammer training has a proven impact.
Our unique methodology provides participants with a set of processes that can be applied in any situation. This is how ongoing behavior change and true transformation take place.
Statistics prove that devising a long-term growth and development plan for your team is a critical part of your job as a sales manager. Companies that invest in formal, ongoing training processes can yield up to 50% higher net sales per sales rep.
So while you’re taking the time to invest in your own development, make sure to don your coaching leader hat, and devise a training plan for your team members as well!