Develop Great Sales & Marketing Leadership Skills & Qualities
We all know the ingredients of great sales and marketing: breakthroughs in consumer/customer understanding, powerful brands that people love, thumb-stopping creative, customer experiences that people can’t help but talk about, optimal portfolios, commercial acumen, the list goes on.
What are the Characteristics of a Good Leader?
It takes great technical skill to deliver great work and while technical skills are critical, what we’ve learnt working with some of the top CMOs and CCOs in the world is that this is just one side of what it takes to be a great sales or marketing leader. You absolutely need to set the vision for teams in what they do, and coach them to do it brilliantly. But it’s the mastery of being that sets apart those able to achieve greatness.
Ken Blanchard says “it’s only when you realise that it’s not about you that you begin to lead at a higher level”. Of course, this is true in one sense, but in another sense, we believe it’s all about you! Greatness doesn’t just happen, it takes investment and the place to start that investment is you. Invest in yourself in order to get the best out of others.
Top Leadership Qualities & Traits
So what does being a leader mean? It means:
1. Being in touch with what you care about.
How can you lead in such an intense business environment if you don’t genuinely, hand on heart care about what you’re doing? This takes insight – insight into yourself, your organisation and your customers.
2. Having a sense of purpose.
If you can’t articulate what you’re up to, how can you expect to engage others? What we see in the great leaders we work with is a clear sense of purpose that is connected to what they care about, what their organisations care about and what their customers care about. Put these things together and it gives you a powerful license to lead not only within your function but across your organisation because you become the voice of your customer.
3. Building big partnerships.
Partnerships that get results are built on relationships and the energy that goes into them. Are you conscious every day of the relationships that you need to be building? Are they big enough to deliver the results you need? Who is growing these relationships and who is shrinking them? What role are you playing personally?
4. Delivering performance.
Delivering performance through others starts with you. You’re a role model and if you’re not at your best, the likelihood is that your team and those that look to you for inspiration and guidance won’t be at their best either. How in touch are you with who you are when you’re at your best? How are you ensuring that you’re at your best more of the time?
5. Prioritise your Goals & Objectives
A clear set of goals is the best way to communicate to your team exactly what you are trying to achieve. Without a list of objectives, the purpose and reason for the work that will be carried out can be hard to understand, leading to a lack of motivation and clarity of purpose. Leaders should also be able to use their experience and expertise to prioritise these objectives, according to what the business needs and when it needs it.
6. Act and think strategically
It can be very easy to become swamped by the day-to-day responsibilities that all senior roles entail. However, it is very important to think strategically when leading a team. Indeed, the skill of thinking ahead and planning for future issues and problems will elevate you above your competitors. By taking note of patterns and trends with strategic thinking, you'll be able to act upon those observations way ahead of time.
7. Communicate effectively
Great communication is a core leadership skill and those is positions of authority need to ensure that they have more than just the basic ability to chat with subordinates, as well as other team members. Indeed, effective leadership is entwined with effective communication because you need to be able to explain exactly what you need and expect from your team members. Furthermore, it is vital that you maintain an open channel for other people to communicate back to you, ensuring that they feel comfortable to raise any potential issues immediately.
8. Be accountable and responsible
Responsibility is something that can be shared amongst an entire team or department, with each task making up a portion of that responsibility, with the team member who carried out that task. However, in order to be a good leader, taking accountability of the entirety of those tasks if crucial, if you want to be considered as someone who takes ownership in order to ensure that responsibilities are fulfilled. Accountability is a great way to build trust in leaders because it shows team members that you are willing to take the blame, should your instructions not lead to fruition.
9. Encourage teamwork
There is no way that you can expect to be an effective leader if you do not make it one of your priorities to ensure that teamwork is not only appreciated, it is actively supported and encouraged. If your team is not encouraged and allowed time to work together, their productivity and quality of work will drop sharply. Teamwork is also a great way to motivate a workforce, so the this skill is vitally important for anyone hoping to become an effective leader.
8. Encourage creativity and innovation
Encouraging creativity amongst your team members is the best way to ensure that your business is constantly innovating and staying ahead of the competition. People in leadership positions who do not encourage the space for creative thinking and the ability to share new ideas, will actively prevent a business from benefiting from the wealth of experience and ability that the team members offer. Creative thinking can lead to new processes that improve efficiency, or highlight potential problems before they become large issues.
Being a great marketing or sales leader means investing in yourself. You can have the greatest team around you but if you’re not at your best, you won’t be getting the best out of them.
We’re going to be sharing more of what we’ve learnt from working with some of the greatest sales and marketing leaders in the world over the next few weeks through a series of blogs, however in the meantime we've put together a quick questionnaire so you can see how you stack up and get some practical tips on what you can be doing right now to lift your performance.