What makes a good sales leader in tech?
By Lillie Maffei. Lillie is a Senior Consultant at Zeren, and leads our Tech Sales Practice in the US.
Great sales leadership in SaaS and software-based businesses can make or break the success of a high-growth startup. It is a strong sales organization that builds the business case for the next series round for investors. At the helm of the commercial teams should be a leader who develops the people and processes to drive revenue.
What then can the scrappy and tenacious leaders use as basic tenants and rules in order to be successful? Keep in mind the following on what good looks like in sales leadership in the tech space. Make it your own to find your way to what great looks like!
A data-driven approach to the sales process leads to optimal results. For example, many successful clients we have worked with have made use of a practical assessment of account plans and strategy during the interviewing process. Establishing KPIs can result in identifying early what methods are working, which ones need improvement or even stopping quickly what isn’t fruitful. Use the data collected to determine action plans for your business goals or for clear insights and reporting of the state of the business for sponsors.
A strong sales leader is not the highest performer of their team. They develop the highest performers. We have seen in founder-led, VC-backed companies how impactful a leader’s guidance and knowledge sharing can be. In building out the team, our clients have used a sales pitch round during hiring to give leadership a sense of how candidates are going to supplement their sales organization or what gaps are existing. With a coach-like mindset, leaders generate not only results but beget the next leaders in the business. A focused leader also builds relationships with their managers to take on increasing responsibilities and drive the vision of the organization down to individual contributors.
Excellent motivator and delegator
Once you’ve developed strong performers, bear in mind what the great philosophers like Aristotle gave to us: “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” The peaks of a strong sales quarter are higher when you have a motivated team behind you. Conversely, the valleys of a weak sales period are less low when you have a committed team who trusts in their leader. With good delegation and motivation, excellent sellers also feel empowered and equipped to make changes to the business.
Keep the sales pipeline full
When you work every day with the CROs of today and tomorrow, you start to accumulate a lot of advice, particularly on the talent landscape during economic trying times. Even if a recession looms, sales leaders advise keeping your eyes and ears open for good sales talent. Sales leaders look for A-players not just by their credentials, but for their determination to learn and improve. The right sales leadership brings in the team they can guide to success.
Zeren exists to empower the world’s change-makers. We do this by building high-performing teams in the world’s most innovative businesses, to accelerate growth by connecting visionary leaders and ambitious talent.
We are a leading global Executive Search & Recruitment firm with teams and offices in San Francisco, Houston, New York, London, Berlin and Frankfurt.
We partner with both high-growth, VC/PE-backed businesses and ambitious Corporate brands placing senior leaders, building exceptional teams, or providing critical interim and consulting talent.