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There have been several leadership theories that have been developed at different points of time. Sales and sales management has been a subject of many discussion, especially in the contemporary corporate world. Sales management has become increasingly complex as the dimension in the competitive environment increases daily.
InsideView is a sales management solution that empowers the sales force with information about the prospects. One of the key philosophies of this solution is to ensure higher engagement with existing and identified clients working on the principle of “why the customer would like to do business with a company?” This philosophy has been engrained into the solution which it aims to locate contacts with the company. It goes beyond just introductions it looks at meaningful contact creation.
Locating the right contact information is again juxtaposed with the developments in the prospect organization that ensures the sales rep calls the prospect at an appropriate time that gives a feeling of just-right approach to the prospect. The InsideView solution looks at a number of sources and culls the required strategic knowledge for the sales rep and feeds just the relevant information unlike a search engine that would throw up a few thousand results. It reduces the information overload and aims at giving the just right and crucial engagement information.
Three of the important classical leadership theories have been applied to the 21st century sales management. The three theories applied are: a. The trait theory, b. Contingency theories and, c. Behavioral styles theory.
The Trait theory focusses on the traits of leaders like how they influence the leadership style and the followers. The same has been extended to the sales management function and points to traits like courage, thinking, ethics, risk taking, moral, positive etc. Behavioral theory focuses on task vs. People orientation applied to sales management function drawing several parallels. Among the parallels that are drawn important ones are behavior with new hires, management of high performing sales reps, managing work in unfamiliar and hostile environments, as well as high performing and proven sales reps. Path – Goal Theory explores the leadership style of the sales manager with sales environment, effectiveness and other contingency factors.
The presentation also explores situations when the leadership theories fail and enumerates its. For example, situations like where leadership is not required due to formal company policies. This is where management by exception can be applied and leadership substitutes like professional orientation, task-provided feedback etc. can be used.
Transactional leadership style when applied to sales management, goals like meeting sales volumes, customer retention etc. can be achieved. As in the classical leadership application this is short term oriented, but generates favorable results from the sales force. Pygmalion leadership style of applying positive thinking to get positive results. This looks more like self-fulfilling prophecy and sometimes gets positive results. The Pygmalion style of leaders sets high performance expectations and increase their self-confidence.
Like in other organizational situations sales leaders also need to challenge their processes and inspire a shared vision. They need to enable others to act while being a role model. This is exactly what great sales managers do to enable their teams in achieving the sales goals. Classic leadership theories have been applied to modern sales management and have brought out interesting perspectives. Application of the classical theories also paves way for innovative and out of the box approach to 21st century sales leadership.