25 July 2023 |

We’re In The People Business

By Alex Alleyne

As SaaS Sales Leaders, we’re conditioned to prioritise the interests of the business first and foremost. The trap of this way of thinking is it can reshape the mind to think linearly.

Ultimately, we’re in the people business. If you don’t understand the dynamics of the individuals on your team to get the best out of them, results will wane and targets will be missed.

You need to appreciate the fact that your people are your success. Becoming a best-in-class leader starts and ends with coaching, enabling and bettering each member of your team on a daily basis.

How do you do it?You need to become acutely aware of your team members’ mindstates and the tactics at your disposal to enable each of them to outperform themselves.

First, let’s look to the science — and the four foundational levels of emotional intelligence.

The Four Pillars

These four levels of emotional intelligence set the foundation for effective SaaS Sales leadership: 

  • emotional perception reasoning with emotions
  • understanding emotions
  • managing emotions

These four branches are mapped out from simple to complex. The more advanced areas don’t always come naturally; rather, they often require our conscious consideration.

  1. Emotional perception: The first step is to accurately perceive emotions. This means understanding verbal cues, tone of voice, body language, and even written communication from members of your team (and customers, but that’s a topic for another day). Visualise a recent 1:1 with a team member and think through what communication approaches you observed and witnessed.
  1. Reasoning with emotions: Emotions often dictate what we pay attention to and how we respond. In a sales context, it’s important to use these emotional cues to guide thinking and decision-making. For example, a low-performing, inconsistent team member expressing urgency or frustration may require immediate attention and a different approach compared to a high-performing, strong potential team member expressing the same set of emotions.
  1. Understanding emotions: Emotions carry various meanings behind them. Ask more, assume less. For instance, if a team member is frustrated, rather than assuming the reason, it’s important to understand whether their frustration stems from a recent company change or simply an occurrence in their personal life.
  1. Managing emotions: The highest level of EQ involves managing emotions effectively. In sales leadership, this means controlling your own emotions when you’re behind target and responding empathetically to the emotions of team members through challenging times, thus fostering stronger relationships.

So, how do these EQ areas translate into sales leadership competencies?

EQ = Impact

Building best-in-class emotional intelligence doesn’t just sound compelling to say, it delivers results. Emotionally intelligent sales leaders and teams excel in these key areas:

Thinking before reacting: Emotionally intelligent sales leaders understand that emotions, while powerful, are temporary. In high-pressure situations, they take time to calm down and reason with themselves before responding, enabling a more rational and effective response.

Greater self-awareness: Emotionally intelligent sales leaders are in tune with their own emotions. They’re aware of how stress, personal bias, or enthusiasm can affect their interactions with customers and teammates. This self-awareness guides them in modulating their reactions for better outcomes.

Empathy for others: Empathy is a key part of EQ. Being able to put oneself in a team members’ shoes, to understand their needs, concerns, and feelings, is crucial in building trust and fostering strong internal relationships, leading to more successful results over time.

Harnessing the power of Emotional Intelligence can create a significant upside in your teamwide performance. Not only does it contribute at a field level, but it also plays a key role in team dynamics, customer satisfaction, and the overall health of your sales organization.

Next Week: Cultivating Emotional Intelligence for SaaS Leadership Excellence

Next week, we’ll delve into the practical aspects of developing Emotional Intelligence. We’ll explore various techniques to boost self-awareness and self-management, along with strategies to amplify social awareness and relationship management.