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Sales Leadership
Dec 22, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

In this episode of the CPSA SalesProTips show, we will investigate the qualities and qualifications associated with the very best in sales. Join us as we discuss sales leadership strategy and top tips.

Our guest on this episode of the CPSA’s SalesProTips podcast is Mark Hunter, a prominent sales influencer recognized for his cutting-edge thought leadership, entertaining value and actionable strategies.

Listen to this episode of the CPSA SalesProTips Podcast and discover:

* What are the academic qualifications needed to rise to the top of medium and large corporations?

* What is a typical salary of a sales leader in a larger organization?

* In what situations should a leader keep their distance from their sales team?

* How do the best sales leaders handle high churn?

Want to hear more? Check out these bonus soundbites:

* Are the best sales-focused leaders typically extraverted?

* How important is EQ?

* What is the difference between someone who manages, and someone who leads?

Read the edited transcription here:

Kristen Harcourt: Welcome to the CPSA Sales Tips for the Pros series. In this episode, Mark Hunter will be joining us to have a discussion on the qualities of the best leaders. Mark Hunter the Sales Hunter is recognized as one of the top 50 influential sales and marketing leaders in the world. He is the author of High-Profit Prospecting and High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price. Mark helps companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. He is known for his energetic presentation style and ability to engage sales leaders. He also has received the distinguished Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. Not only does Mark have expertise in sales, but he also knows how to communicate it to others. This is seen by over 50 speaking events he does each year throughout the US and Canada, and around the world. Welcome, Mark. It's great to have you here today.

Mark Hunter: Thanks for having me on. Looking forward to it. Let's get into it.

Kristen Harcourt: Awesome. Sounds good. So, the first question I'd love to ask you, Mark, is what are the academic qualifications needed to rise to the top of medium and large corporations?

Mark Hunter: Wow. You know, I would love to say none, because really, what should academic requirements be in terms of what your job is. But hey, we know that in the corporate world in which we live, academic qualifications really do come into play because it gives a little bit of that security blanket. And I think what academic qualifications does is, does it provide you with the ability to know how to think, how to process, and how to communicate? And if you think about it, those are three critical traits any best leader has really got to be able to master. So, really, academic qualifications ... You could be an engineer. You could have any number of degrees, but if you know how to think, process, and communicate, to me that's the academic qualification.

Kristen Harcourt: So I'm curious what is a typical salary of a sales leader in a larger organization?

Mark Hunter: We are seeing salaries skyrocket, and I think they're going to continue to skyrocket over the next three to four years. I am seeing not unusual salaries of three, 400 thousand dollars for a sales leader of a large one, and I'm seeing total compensation getting to six and 700 thousand. And that may seem astronomical, but when we stop and think about it, what is sales really doing? Nothing happens 'til something's sold, and the value ... Because really, there are really very few really good sales leaders out there, so when companies find 'em, they are willing to pay for them.

Kristen Harcourt: What situations should a leader keep their distance from their sales team?

Mark Hunter: Oh, wow. That's a tough question because there are times when you want to, and again, we have seen such an evolution of what does it take to be a manager? What does it take to be a leader? I mean, as we see millennials rise up, and millennials are looking for transparency, they're looking for authenticity, and they're really looking for integrity and trust. And think about that. And I think in the old school of leadership, well, "You do this, or you're fired," da, da, da, da. You know, this hard and fast and militaristic approach. Now it's much more emotionally driven, but the challenge you have is that do you become too emotionally attached to the person. 'Cause at the end of the day, you still have to deliver on the outcome.

You still have to deliver on the outcome of whatever the business is, and so I think we're allowed to get more personally connected, but then too personally connected, and that raises all kinds of HR issues. And boy, you know, is that a Pandora's box. So it is. It's a little bit of a delicate phase.

If I'm leading somebody, I want to know personally what their goals are. I want to know personally what are they doing. How's their home life doing? How's their life outside? Because I also don't believe that you can separate work from home. If things are not going well for you at home, guess what. It's gonna be messed up at work. And if things are messed up at work, guess what. You're gonna be paying the price on people you are with at home. So I think the good leader does really have to understand and be prepared to help that person with both. It's just a fine balance because each person's gonna interpret that a little bit differently.

Kristen Harcourt: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I'm a big believer in what you're saying around the whole person, because absolutely what happens outside of work impacts what happens inside of work. And as well, what happens inside of work impacts what happens outside of work. But what I'm hearing, and I think this is an important skill for everyone to develop, again, as the whole person, is creating healthy boundaries as well.

Mark Hunter: Yeah, because when you create healthy balance, it's amazing how much smoother everything goes. If you're got so distorted where you are just totally stressed out at work, I mean, you're gonna pay the price at home. And same token, if you're ... And again, if I'm going to keep this in balance, my objective as a leader is to also ensure that each one of my people know that as important as their job is ... As important as their job is, that's not the most important thing in their life. Because they go home to do the most important part of their job. It's at home.

Kristen Harcourt: Yeah, I really...

Mark Hunter: And I think we really struggle with that one. People say, "Our company, we put family first. Oh, can you work 'til midnight tonight? Oh, can you come in on the weekend and ... ?" You know, that's not…and you know, again, that's a slippery slope. I get it. I totally get it 'cause there's always gonna be compromises. There's always gonna be challenges, but I look at it this way. If I have helped you create personal and professional growth - personal growth because of your home, and professional growth because of what you get to do at work - then I'm succeeding at my job.

Kristen Harcourt: You're gonna have much more fulfilled people who are going to be able to do their best work.

Mark Hunter: Oh, yeah. Yeah, and you're gonna have lower turnover. I mean, there's no doubt about it. You're gonna have lower turnover. And as we continue to reach this full employment ... I see a lot of industries right now that are really straining to fill positions, and we haven't seen anything compared to what it's gonna be like 10 or 15 years from now. We just look at the aging demographics, and what is the average birthrate and so forth, and the average age. I mean, we are gonna see so many industries challenged to fill positions, so employee retention is gonna be absolutely, absolutely critical.

Kristen Harcourt: So you've touched on a couple of them, Mark, but what would you say if you were really gonna say these are the top two to three qualities of the best leaders in sales, what would you say those qualities are?

Mark Hunter: I'll tell you what, it's personal integrity. I think without a doubt, that is where all leadership starts. It's personal integrity. If you can't lead yourself, what makes you think you can lead anybody else? And a question I love to ask when I'm out working with companies, and I'll ask a sales manager, "So, tell me a little bit," and they go, "Oh, I'm a great sales manager. I'm a great sales manager." The person who says they're a great sales manager is not a great sales manager. Because if they're a great sales manager, shouldn't the results be seen in their people? Hmm. That's a little ...

Kristen Harcourt: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Mark Hunter: So the person who barks up this storm, "Oh, I'm so great. I'm so wonderful." Liar, liar, pants on fire. You are not even close. So I really look for this level of integrity, and if I can display a level of integrity ... Because the piece that gets underplayed so much is what I call the sales culture, because so much of what the sales person does out in the field - and this is the case is any job - is really, how does that employee emotionally respond? How does that employee emotionally connect? And it comes back to that culture. It comes back to that culture.

Even the pilot of a plane. Sure, they got all these checklists and all these procedures, but there's still the culture of the airline that they're working for. And that's going to determine how they communicate with the passengers, how they communicate with the flight attendants, how they communicate with ground personnel, how they carry out their job amongst themselves. So believe me, we need to find a way to quantify culture, 'cause I really think it's a much bigger factor on both the top line, in terms of total sales, and the bottom line, profit, than we really realize.

Kristen Harcourt: Yeah, I agree completely about that one, and I love what you said too around the leaders, 'cause I think self-awareness is critical, and a lot of times the ones who think they are the fantastic sales managers, that's part of the self-awareness issue we're talking about there. So ...

Mark Hunter: It is, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, because one side note, the mark I look for in a leader, a sales leader, is how do they manage their people? And if they jump in to save the deal at the last minute with all their sales people, then guess what. You're just playing captain sales agent. That's all you're playing. Your objective is not to manage the account. Your objective is to lead your people, and let your people manage their account.

Kristen Harcourt: Absolutely.

Mark Hunter: So you really gotta keep your focus on the people. Focus on your people, not on the business, and wow, that's really hard come week 12 and 13 of every quarter.

Kristen Harcourt: Yes. Yes, and we could continue to talk, but I think that's what I'd love to leave with our listeners. Focus on the people. So as we wrap up the podcast, Mark, I'd love for you to let our listeners know how they can find you.

Mark Hunter: Yeah. Well, my name is Mark Hunter, and that is my real last name. So guess what. The name of my business is The Sales Hunter, and that's the website. That's the best way to reach out, and of course, I'm all over social media, but pretty much you just go in and type into your search "the sales hunter," and I pop up.

Kristen Harcourt: Awesome. Well, it was so great talking with you today. Thank you for being here, Mark.

Mark Hunter: Thank you.

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