If you are in sales, you are naturally aware of the factors that can help your company thrive and your revenues soar. Expanding your product line, increasing brand awareness through targeted campaigns and inventing new ways to reach out to the customers are great efficiency and profit boosters.
What ultimately determines the success of your business is people: both those who sell and, more importantly, those who supervise selling activities. Sales managers do not just control the reps’ daily communications with the customers. The objectives of sales management are to magnify the company’s profit and to provide your clients with the best possible value.
Sales Management: What Is It?
Sale process management is a necessary prerequisite of successful business performance. In an increasingly competitive market, it is a key to turn your company from a precariously surviving to a flourishing one. It covers a range of activities, strategies, and decisions aimed at developing an efficient sales team. Similar to any managerial work, sales management involves observation to get a clear picture of the ongoing processes within the staff, predicting and pinpointing problems that may arise, decision making as to the steps to be taken, coaching your personnel and making expedient adjustments.
Utilizing sales management resources and putting into effect sales management techniques, the manager is supposed to bring together all elements of the sales engine and help it to become a top impact player in your field by achieving or even surpassing sales targets set for the company.
Beneficiaries of Sales Management
Now that we have answered the question “What is sales management?” let us see who benefits from it. As it turns out, an effective sales management ushers a win-win situation for everyone, since all major stakeholders involved in sales profit from it:
- Sales managers. Being responsible for talent development and leadership among the personnel, they can propel their company forward via successful sales management strategies. Thus, they are better able to gauge their position among other players in their niche of the market and plan their tactics to outrun the rivals.
- Salespeople. Since they are the people in direct contact with the customers (both current and potential), salespeople’s confidence, performance and efficiency are boosted if their sales manager takes adequate sales management process steps.
- Customers. For them, proficient sales management spells better service and more likelihood to stay with the company. Moreover, there is a chance that the satisfied client will spread the word about the excellence of your approach to customers, which will attract yet more clients and consequently bring the revenue increase.
Sales management processes may vary depending on the type of business involved, yet all of them basically boil down to three aspects.
Sales Management Aspects
Sales operations, sales strategies, and sales analysis are the focal points a successful sales manager must bear in mind to advance their company to the next level.
Sales operations are all about building a team. The perfect team is the one whose members are on the same wavelength, working as a single unity and feeling they are a part of a bigger gang. Making them into great sellers is not quite what a manager must be wanting to achieve.
Instead, they should be superb at selling the company’s products, becoming the people customers want to work with. The prerequisites of a great team are careful selection and skillful training, but once that is accomplished, there is no reason for the managers to think their job is done. They are to keep a watchful eye on how the staff are doing, counsel them and motivate if necessary. It will eventually result in fewer mistakes and greater performance.
Sales strategy essentially defines the sales process. As managers can’t always control everything that a salesperson does, they must make sure employees know the sales pipeline. The latter is understood as a sequence of steps taken to complete a sales cycle (starting with initial lead and finishing with closing the deal) symptomatic of your particular business.
This is achieved through drawing a road map which will serve as a guideline for the reps so that they could be aware of what comes at each stage of the sale. The same tool will help managers to track the personnel performance and discover what sectors need support.
Sales analysis is called to let you see how effective each step of your sales process is, giving you insight into the prospective measures to be taken to correct the situation if necessary. Typically, several metrics are used to gauge the win rate, the average sales cycle, the sales velocity, the close-ratio, etc. It is expedient to create a special format for the personnel to follow so that the employees should be aware that they are being assessed.
Whatever type of sales business you are involved in, the stages of the sales management process are common to all of them.
Sales Management Process
The sales management process comprises the following steps:
- Defining the task. It should include the product specification, the target audience, the selling tactics, and arranging a feedback method with the team.
- Securing sales talent. A good manager should be able to realize the need for new employees, search for them in most likely places (industry meetings and conferences), and attract prospective candidates by sustaining a good reputation as well as by offering appealing compensation packages.
- Providing sales training. Managers must realize that the team consists of different people with various levels of proficiency and character traits. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure they all are on the same page and know the nuts and bolts of the sales pipeline. If you feel your training skills are not up to the mark, consider hiring a professional sales coach.
- Motivating your staff. Motivation is ensured and promoted by building trust within the organization, handing out rewards and adopting a customized approach to every person on the team. Don’t forget about treating people fairly, creating a winning environment and promoting the growth of your reps.
- Defining sales territories and quotas. This is about who will be selling where and how much everyone is to sell. When assigning territories, it is important to cut them into equal parts in terms of their sales potential. Quotas should specify annual sales goals for every rep. Remember to finetune or even drastically alter your initial apportionments, since the number of customers, as well as the performance of your salespeople, tends to change.
- Providing a rewarding compensation system. Make sure that employees get not only a flat salary: introduce a flexible bonus scheme based on the quantity of generated sales.
- Gauging performance. Conversions are the most important item to measure how effective the salespeople are. Don’t go by raw numbers alone since they may be quite misleading, ratios will give you a more accurate picture.
The last step involves data analysis, which is often time-consuming if you opt for excel spreadsheets and sticky notes. However, modern CRM technologies allow to radically step up this process.
CRM Tools to Use
Novel sales management software is an excellent instrument to ensure you get a full picture of the company’s current assets and identify crucial factors of your success to come. CRM (or customer relationship management) tools are called to address this challenge, yet selecting the right software may be tricky. The perfect CRM should be foolproof and simple to use, it should integrate well with other platforms and be easily customized to suit your needs.
To crown it all, being mobile-friendly and accessible from anywhere is a must in the modern gadget-ridden world. Nimble can provide all these and more to help your reps increase rapport within the team as well as to faster find your customers and consequently serve them quicker.
Whatever tools you may use, they should be coupled with effective sales management strategies.
Sales Management Strategies
If evaluation metrics tell you that your salespeople are underperforming, the first thing you should do is to apply one (or several) of the sales management strategies listed below:
- Routinize the procedure. Although the sales process can’t be a universal treadmill, it is important to provide your personnel with comprehensive tools and information to be used in typical cases. Arranged in the form of a playbook, this collection of tactics and tips will ensure a consistent and efficient sales process across the whole team.
- Establish company culture. Flexibility, professional growth, and reputation are pivotal factors that guarantee employee satisfaction and boost their morale.
- Promote competition. It should have a clear-cut and simple goal and a reward for the winner. However, it is important to keep it fun and friendly and not turn it into a life-or-death issue.
- Identify obstacles to success. The top three barriers that hamper sales teams’ progress are fear of being rejected, inadequate communication and lack of media marketing. Whether your personnel’s problems are one of those or not, pinpointing the potential barriers is the first step to surmounting them.
- Celebrate success. Since sales are oftentimes stressful, keeping the atmosphere positive is what any employee needs. Commending both individual and team wins will increase job satisfaction, efficiency, and motivation.
The importance of sales management is explained by its crucial role in unlocking huge returns of your business. It is not that simple because of numerous intricacies and potential pitfalls, but choosing the right strategies and techniques to fulfill them, a successful sales manager will have their team sell more and build strong relationships both within the staff and with the customers as well.