What separates a sales leader from a sales manager?
The two terms are often used interchangeably, but understanding the difference could be the key to taking your sales team and business to the next level.
Sales leaders and managers aren’t cut from the same cloth. They have different skills and ways of influencing their team’s performance.
Getting a handle on these distinctions isn’t just about titles but unlocking your potential as a top-notch sales professional and a standout leader.
In this article, you will learn:
- What is a sales leader, and what is a sales manager
- How to identify if you are a leader or a manager
- How to develop your sales leadership skills effectively
What is the Big Difference?
A sales manager is the go-to person for the nitty-gritty of daily sales operations. They’re all about setting targets, dishing out tasks, keeping an eye on activities, crunching numbers, and giving feedback.
Their world revolves around managing the process and ensuring everything ticks like clockwork.
On the flip side, a sales leader lights a fire under the team and steers them towards a vision they’ve helped shape. They craft the strategy, nurture a winning culture, offer coaching, and celebrate successes.
Their focus? Leading the people and propelling performance forward.
Here’s a key point: While a sales leader can juggle the responsibilities of a sales manager, not every manager naturally steps into the empowering role of a leader. A sales leader might not have a fancy title, but they can still wield significant influence and rally a loyal following within their organization.
In a nutshell:
- A sales manager tells their team what to do; a sales leader shows them how.
- A sales manager controls their team; a sales leader trusts their team.
- A sales manager focuses on numbers; a sales leader focuses on value.
- A sales manager reacts to problems; a sales leader anticipates opportunities.
- A sales manager enforces rules; a sales leader sets standards.
- A sales manager criticizes mistakes; a sales leader celebrates successes.
How to Develop Your Sales Leadership Skills Effectively
Becoming a sales leader requires more than just a title change.
It demands a fundamental shift in your approach – moving from management to the art of leadership. You must hone skills and nurture qualities that set you apart from a conventional sales manager.
It’s about altering your focus from management to authentic leadership, from process-driven to people-centric, and from fixating on numbers to creating real value. This transformation is not just about what you do but how you think and interact with your team and your organization’s broader goals.
- Define your vision and share it with your team. They should understand why they are doing what they are doing and how it contributes to the bigger picture.
- Communicate with your team regularly and effectively. Use different channels and methods to convey your message clearly and persuasively. Encourage dialogue and feedback from your team members.
- Recognize and appreciate your team’s strengths and contributions. Give them recognition and rewards for their efforts and achievements. Show them that you care about them as people, not just as employees.
- Delegate and trust your team. Give them autonomy and responsibility for their tasks and decisions. Avoid micromanaging and interfering with their work. Support them when they need help, but let them learn from their mistakes.
- Coach and mentor your team. Please provide them with guidance, feedback, and resources to help them improve their skills and performance. Challenge them to set higher goals and overcome obstacles. Help them grow as professionals and as individuals.
The D2D Experts’ Business Bootcamp
The transformation from a sales manager to a sales leader is a personal and professional growth journey. It’s about igniting the spark within your team and guiding them toward a shared goal — a skill set that’s cultivated, not just acquired.
Our Business Bootcamp is the perfect first step for those ready to embark on this transformative path.
Over two intensive days, you’ll explore strategies to help you forge top talent, create compelling training systems, and establish a culture that retains and magnifies your team’s success.
Reserve Your Seat and transform how you drive sales and inspire greatness by learning how to:
- Find and recruit top talent for your solar sales team
- Train your team the right way using the D2D Experts’ system
- Motivate and retain your team using incentives and culture
- Track and measure your team’s performance using data and analytics
- Scale and grow your business operating systems and processes
Watch and Learn: Tanner Hale on Leading with Ownership in Sales
Check out Tanner Hale’s engaging talk from SolarCon 6 on the D2D Podcast:
He talks about ‘extreme ownership’ — a concept that any aspiring leader should live by to lift their team to greater heights.
Tanner’s talk about taking full responsibility in your role echoes what we believe makes a leader stand out. It’s not just about strategy; it’s about mindset.
Watch and see how it resonates with your approach to sales leadership.
Let’s get one thing straight: While management is crucial in maintaining performance levels, it fails to lead to growth in the long run. Embrace sales leadership with the
D2D Experts’ Business Bootcamp can help you in your quest to become a leader.
Reserve your spot now and gear up for an enriching learning journey.