The Head of Sales can be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, roles in a company. This position comes with a lot of pressure because you are in charge of growing the company's revenue so the business can be successful. However, the rewards can be great (otherwise, why would anyone do it?). Rewards can come from both well-earned financial compensation and career opportunities, and you can get the personal satisfaction that comes with steering the success of your team.

To what do top sales leaders attribute their success? We have compiled some of their "secrets to success." Keep them in mind as you travel your own path to sales leadership. 

Set goals and track progress

Setting goals at beginning of the year, quarter or month is a critical first step for a sales leader. Goals become the foundation that each individual sales rep uses to measure success. This should not just be the monetary value of deals closed, but rather it should also include metrics such as number of leads called, meetings set, quotes generated and any other relevant metrics that indicate progress toward the final sales goals. Once these metrics are set, review them regularly at group sales meetings and one-on-ones, for example, to track progress and discuss strategies to ensure each team member hits the goals. 

Communicate regularly

Ongoing communication with your team is key. Hold regular meetings with your entire team, and also set aside time for each rep individually. The individual meetings are great opportunities to discuss the progress of current deals and provide support and recommendations the reps may need. Communication does not need to be just over the phone or in person either; periodic friendly reminder emails, such as, "update your lead status by the end of the day," can be helpful to remind team members and keep them focused during their busy days.

Be involved in the sales process

As a sales leader, you need to make yourself available to each member of the team. Be sure they know that you are available, don't just assume that they know. You need to be aware of where all important deals are in their cycles and offer assistance where needed. That could include helping reps with deal strategies, or offering to meet with the prospect's executive team. Either way, letting your team know you are always available and WANT to be involved in deals can help them feel supported and lead to better results.

Equip your team with knowledge and tools

As a sales leader you need to be sure your team has the proper knowledge and tools to best sell your product or service. If your company offers training for your product, your team should attend the training so they have a better idea what they are selling and understand it from the customer's perspective. Also, you may learn about new product features and product road map directions before your sales reps know about them, so be sure to share these with your team. Not only will it help them better answer questions for customers and prospects, it also helps them feel more included in the company direction and builds a sense of trust.

Be sure your team has the tools in place to hit the goals you have set for them. For instance, if you have a goal for your reps to get 10 new quotes out a week, yet it takes two hours to create each quote with your current quoting process, this may not be a reasonable goal. Invest in the tools that can make your sales team more effective and efficient. It will help them sell more, and you'll know that you, as a leader, have invested in them to succeed.

Provide motivation

Sales reps' salaries are largely determined by their commissions, so they have a clear incentive to achieve their goals. As a sales leader, you can also use smaller, intermediate goals as a way to motivate your team. For example, if reps meet with a target number of prospects in a week they can be rewarded with a gift certificate to a local restaurant, or you offer the rep who builds the most pipeline this quarter to a bigger reward, like a weekend getaway package. Be creative and offer milestone rewards often. Sales reps are typically competitive by nature and will strive to achieve their goals and win, so it is a great opportunity for you as a sales leader to provide the needed motivation to drive the right behaviors.

Lead by example

This may be the most important item on the list. Your team will respond much better to the goals you put in front of them and the ideas you share if they see you lead by example. If you ask your team to send follow up emails or to record their activities Salesforce, you need to be doing the same. By practicing what you preach, you will be showing your team you really do believe in what you say.