Why the Right Leader can Transform a Sales Department

Every experienced businessperson understands the extent to which the sales department can make or break a company.

Without dedicated individuals reaching out to new clients, expanding the customer base, and making sure that the people who keep you in business are happy with the goods and services you provide, it can be nearly impossible to maintain stable growth. And this is exactly why an underperforming sales department can be cause for such frustration in the corporate world.

Sales underperformance happens for many reasons, and not all of them are under your control (as the coronavirus proved earlier this year). But one crucial indicator that something is going wrong on your sales team is when reps who usually deliver strong numbers have had consistently bad returns for months.

The truth is that salespeople need guidance, support, and motivation from their leaders if they are going to consistently crush targets and exceed expectations. Great organizations need great leadership and if management is on autopilot, this will affect the productivity of the entire team.

If you’re not happy with your sales team’s performance, making changes at the top may be the most effective way to get back on track. Here are just three examples of how new and better leadership can improve the entire department’s performance.

1. A New Leader Shakes Up the Department

Most of the time, stability in the sales department is a good thing. When people know what to expect from each other, it frees them up to focus on the task at hand. But sometimes stability drifts into stagnation, and comfort turns into apathy.

Hiring a dynamic leader who is hungry for results can help jolt a team out of complacency and give them a renewed sense of vigor, pushing them to be more competitive and results-oriented. Ambition is contagious, and bringing in new blood at the leadership level can have a knock-on effect on the morale of the entire department.

2. New Leaders Bring New Ideas

When leadership at the top has been in place for a long time, it can be hard for new ideas to penetrate. Sales executives have their favorite techniques and philosophies of how sales work, and may not be open to exploring new technologies or theories for how to sell more effectively.

This is especially true for those who work in an industry that targets specific age groups. The market for big-ticket purchases like homes and automobiles have changed drastically over the past decade as Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers to become the largest living generation of consumers in the market today.

Older executives certainly can and have responded to the needs of this new generation, but if you’re concerned that your sales team simply isn’t reaching younger people, bringing on sales executives who more closely reflect your target demographics can bring new ideas into your department.

3. Leadership Style Matters

One of the most common tensions in any workplace is simply differing views about how the relationship between employees and management should work. High-powered salespeople are often very independent and prefer to use their own techniques and methods to get results. Such employees tend not to respond well when they’re asked to follow a more rigid set of procedures.

Conversely, if your department has a lot of inexperienced reps, a laissez-faire approach can create problems, and hands-on leadership may be what you need.

Hiring a sales executive who knows how much pressure to exert on their team can be a proactive way of addressing this problem. Taking the time to figure out what is at the root of interpersonal problems on your sales team and then finding executives who be more responsive to your employee’s needs can alleviate workplace tensions so everyone can get back to closing deals.

Employees take their cues from the people above them, and chances are that if a sales department’s performance is lackluster and morale is down, the cause of this can be found at the management level. While it is possible to revitalize a sales department without changing the current leadership, it’s much easier to bring in new management with a fresh vision for success.

If your company is looking for ways to turn sales around in the new year, executive sales recruiters can help you identify the talented, driven individuals who can set a new tone and deliver real results. Whether you’re looking for someone better suited to reaching your ideal customers, better able to lead your team, or who will simply shake up your department, recruiters can help you connect with the executives who get results.

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