Why businesses struggle to find strong sales leadership


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Exceptional sales leaders are in extremely high demand – there just don’t seem to be enough to go around.

What makes a good sales leader and why is it so difficult to find star performer? More importantly, what steps can you take to attract top talent?

Here are three reasons why businesses struggle to find good sales leaders, and how you can separate the average from the exceptional.

1. Mistaking sales management for sales leadership

There’s a chance you could be recruiting for the wrong skills. Sales management and sales leadership are not one and the same, and many businesses overlook the key differences between each role.

Sales managers are responsible for overseeing teams and high-end administrative tasks, such as coordinating sales training, assessing KPIs or monitoring sales data.

Sales leaders are responsible for inspiring and influencing sales performance. They lead by example and motivate their teams to achieve ambitious goals.

Not all sales managers make great leaders, and vice versa. If possible, recruit for two separate roles; a sales manager and sales leader can work together as a team and balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

If you need one person to be both sales manager and leader, then recruit for both of these qualities: make sure candidates can wear both hats.

2. Promoting sales stars too quickly

When you discover a sales star, it’s natural to want to move them up the ranks as soon as possible. After all, you want them to stay in the company, and to show them how much you appreciate their performance.

However, sales stars are stars because they excel at selling – not leading.

If you promote them too quickly, and without the proper training and support, they might flounder in a sales leadership role. Plus, they will no longer be as valuable to the company as they were when they were making large sales.

Being a top sales performer doesn’t automatically make someone a top leader. Sales managers on average have 20 per cent of the skills necessary to motivate their team, and 45 per cent of the skills to run effective sales meetings. Make sure you invest in sales training to bring your managers up to speed.

3. Giving sales leaders too much space

Sales leaders need to have a certain level of autonomy, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing.

Although your leaders should be at the top of their game, they can always climb higher. Give them opportunities to learn, grow and refine their skills. Invest plenty of time and energy into their professional development.

The more engaged and passionate your sales leaders, the less likely they are to become bored or complacent. Give them plenty of reasons to stay within your company so they don’t begin to look for new opportunities – after all, it’s a tough market out there.

If you’re looking to increase your sales, your sales team should start embracing a consultative selling strategy. Download our FREE eBook: Stop Selling, Start Consulting. 


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