Sales management can be a difficult business discipline to master. It involves not only understanding and applying the latest sales techniques, but also helping sales teams work at optimum capacity.
Managing a sales team is demanding enough under usual circumstances, however the recent trend towards remote work has added additional layers of complexity. Sales managers now not only have to oversee a shift in working practices – but deal with the fact that many potential clients and customers are working from home.
This has resulted in a necessity to adopt the best sales apps and maintain extra flexibility to keep teams productive and motivated.
What is Sales Management?
According to Pipedrive, sales management is the process of
“ Developing a sales force, coordinating sales operations and implementing sales techniques”.
Using these strategies, the sales manager aims to help a business hit or surpass their sales targets. Which makes sales management a crucial element of any operation, large or small. And, as well as helping companies reach their sales objectives, the sales management process enables organizations to stay competitive throughout testing times.
With a clear view of which processes to monitor and how to keep track of them, sales managers should be able to pinpoint issues before they become problems. They’re also responsible for training staff so they know what they need to be doing to increase sales quotas.
Sales Management Strategies
Sales managers will have differing roles and responsibilities depending on their business. However, there are certain key strategies that tend to underpin the sales management process.
In this post we’ll outline some of these key approaches and offer some tips on how to maximize their potential:
1. Building the Sales Team
Sales teams often contain numerous types of employees from varying backgrounds. These include account executives, sales and business development reps, sales specialists, customer success reps, and more. It’s the job of a sales manager to hire, onboard, and train all team members.
Without a robust sales hiring strategy a company is at risk of ending up in a costly cycle of consistent turnover. Recruiting wrongly and losing an employee means having to hire someone else to fill that position – and that’s expensive.
But great sales teams don’t come about by accident. Finding the right people with the right qualities – those that display the highest levels of sales engagement – isn’t easy. That’s why the expertise and experience of a sales manager is crucial in order to identify and recruit the most talented individuals.
Tips on optimizing your sales management hiring strategy
To help you in advance of the selection process, create a hiring profile for your sales team so you can identify the types of reps you want.
Create a list of attributes you would ideally like in an employee to help you develop your profile. Then, during the selection process, look out for candidates who exhibit these types of behaviors and traits.
The following characteristics indicate that a candidate could potentially be an asset for your team:
- Curiosity: Are candidates able to identify, question, and pursue answers?
- Feedback: Are they able to receive and process feedback effectively?
- Motivation: Do they understand what motivates them?
- Listening: Are they capable of listening in order to absorb information?
- Empathy: Do they have the ability to truly identify with prospective customers and give them the best customer experience possible?
- Closure: Are they aware of when to hang on and when to let go?
- Timing: Do they understand when to be patient?
In order to identify the above characteristics, use well-constructed screening questions. For example, if they have worked in a customer services environment ask them to talk about a time they had to exhibit patience with a customer. Alternatively, create situations where candidates have the chance to demonstrate these attributes.
Make sure your job descriptions are clear and concise and place your ads in the right places, such as on LinkedIn.
Using a CRM can help you organize your list of candidates and track their progress throughout the recruitment process.
Once you’ve decided on the right person, make your offer appealing. Highlight why this is the right position for them. Good sales managers understand that talented reps often demand higher compensation and the promise of career progression ,so factor this into your hiring process. It’s also generally the case that employees who are paid commensurably are more likely to stay longer.
Once you’ve recruited a new member of the sales team, offer them a strong onboarding process that doesn’t throw them in at the deep end. Have systems in place so that employees can work from home. Then help them get started with their new technology by offering them one-to-one training or a demo on how to use their new equipment.
Once you have a good team in place, it’s time to make sure they have the right ongoing training.
2. Training the Sales Team
Sales is a highly demanding area, so in order to succeed the team needs to be highly motivated. Coaching and mentoring play an important role in this. In fact, coaching a sales team is listed as a top practice when it comes to higher quota attainment. This makes it an important aspect of sales management strategy.
Sales leaders need to have strong personalities in order to inspire their team to achieve. They also need to have a wide range of sales skills and working knowledge of the latest sales performance boosting tools, like a predictive dialer system.
Unfortunately, however, this scenario often falls short. Fewer than a quarter of organizations cited sales coaching as a strength. Many overloaded sales managers say they struggle to find the time.
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