How Sales Leaders Should Approach 2021

December 15, 2020    Comment off


In HubSpot’s 2021 Sales Enablement Report, 46% of sales leader respondents revealed they missed their sales targets in 2020. With businesses striving to do more with less and facing an uncertain economic climate, achieving their targets in 2021 is going to be harder than ever, so what can sales leaders do to make sure 2021 is a profitable and successful year? Here’s our insights into how sales leaders can take their business to the next level.

Work out where your business is right now, today

If there was one message for sales leaders, it’d be to clearly define where your business is right now, today, compared to years gone by. Then, take a look at the performance metrics that have been tracked and measured and determine if they are the right metrics to look at moving forward.

Doing this will help create a recipe for success in the future and set the expectations for your sales team. It’ll also help inform your team what has worked previously and what is required to be successful.

How to adapt to remote selling?

Remote selling is here to stay, but it doesn’t come without challenges. One of which is maintaining sales motivation.

The HubSpot report also revealed that two-thirds of sales leaders have made adjustments to enable remote selling. But changing the physical location of work isn’t the only change created. Motivation is critical to remote selling success, and you can’t continue to motivate your team if you don’t understand them.

Spend some time with your team to understand them. You need to understand your team to know how to motivate them, change a team culture, and become and effective leader. It’s vital to keep in constant contact with your workforce – video meetings, regular 1-1s and so on. Realign changes to each salesperson. Work out what drives them and use it.

You also need to think about territory and sales plans. As a leader, you need to develop a team structure and put planning and processes in place. Things change when working remotely, including working hours and targeting. The key is adapting to those changes, rather than ploughing on with what worked before.

Where should you focus your training on in 2021?

If you look at the various elements of being a sales leader, you’ll come up with things like recruiting, mentoring, motivating, managing and coaching. While many believe managing to be the main element of the role, it shouldn’t be. If you have a motivated team, then they can manage themselves pretty well. Instead, the focus should be on training and coaching. Your team want a leader who can get behind them and improve their skills. Salespeople want to be developed and coached, and it’s your duty to make them better, which in turn will make both your business and them more money.

You need to be a great listener to be a great coach. Don’t tell people what to do. Nobody wants that. Instead, use questions to empower self discovery and self ownership over what they need to do. This approach encourages a much more holistic outcome. Developing yourself as a leader will help develop the people in your team.

How to move from an excellent salesperson to an excellent sales leader?

The best sales reps aren’t always the best sales leaders. The best sales reps have plenty of skills to offer, but the skills required to be a great sales leader is different. To move from a high-performing sales rep to a leader, a more rounded set of core competencies is required. It’s a constant cycle of progression, evaluation and development, and it begins with changing mindset. Reps generally focus on themselves. Leaders put the team and wider business goals before themselves. When you feel like you’ve trained and coached your team to cope with you not being there, you know you’ve lead well. If you think your team and performance will fall apart if you go on holiday, there remains work to be done.

Move on from an unprecedented year

Nobody would have written a playbook for 2020. It was unforeseen. Unprecedented. Unrivalled. No matter how good your team, or how good your leadership, it took everyone by surprise. For many businesses, it was about survival.

While nothing is certain about 2021, take the learnings from 2020 and apply them as soon as possible. Where can things be improved? How can things be done differently? What worked well? What didn’t? What processes need replacing? What systems need replacing? How productive is the team? Do a sales team audit and use the results to guide you towards better behaviours and processes. 2020 may just be unrivaled in difficulty, but the lessons will have only made you stronger.