Sales is one of the important pillars of business success. We all know that its not an easy task. It includes many challenging tasks including sales planning, strategy, team management training, and reporting.
If not done properly, it can eat up a lot of time for sales managers and can reduce sales productivity and revenue.
Whether you are a new sales manager or an experienced sales executive who wants to upgrade their knowledge, this guide is for you.
What is Sales Management?
Simply put, sales management is the process of managing a sales team, handling sales operations, and implementing sales strategies for achieving business goals. Sales managers are the backbone of every sales team as they lead sales reps and improve their productivity by adopting best practices.
Why is Sales Management Important?
By running haphazardly, you cannot win a race. Similarly, trying to sell your products without a good strategy and planning cannot help you achieve your sales goal.
A sales management plan shows you the way to reach your sales goal without wasting time on unnecessary things.
It helps you set clear goals for your sales reps and team which gives direction to your sales team.
A proper sales management plan not only helps sales managers and sales teams but also helps customers.
When you have a good sales management plan, you offer a better customer experience. This ultimately benefits the company to create a good brand image.
Sales Management Process
There are three main elements of the sales management process: Sales operation, sales strategy, and sales analysis and reporting. Before we jump into discussing these elements in detail, we need to understand what sales managers are and their responsibilities.
The sales managers are responsible for taking care of:
- Hiring and onboarding the sales team
- Training and mentoring the team
- Setting sales targets and quotas
- Handling day-to-day sales activities
- Developing sales strategies
- Sales pipeline management and CRM handling
- Establishing proper coordination between sales and marketing teams
- Preparing sales reports and modifying strategies as per targets
A sales manager handles many business activities on a day-to-day basis to smoothly implement sales strategies and achieve business goals.
It all starts with hiring the right sales team. Your sales team is a direct touch point between your product and customers. So, hiring the sales reps with the right mindset and onboarding them by giving proper training is the first task of a sales manager.
Once sales reps are onboarded, your sales manager has to create a system for the team to follow to run it in sync. Then, set up achievable individual and team targets, and assign territories, and quotas.
Furthermore, managers have to develop a reward system for sales reps who meet the targets and training sessions for those who need guidance.
The sales manager has to set up a clear strategy aligning with the business goals.
It starts with setting up the department budget and making a clear list of resources required to efficiently execute the strategy.
- How much money does the sales department need to run efficiently?
- How many sales reps are needed?
- How many inside sales reps and outside sales reps are needed?
- Setting up sales reps goals and quota
- Which sales tools are needed?
- What metrics need to be monitored?
When it comes to department budget, sales managers calculate the budget based on the following expenses:
- Sales reps compensation
- Travel expenses
- Monthly recurring expenses
- Training related expenses
- CRM or Sales tools expenses, etc.
A strategy is not just about developing and handling a sales team, but, it is about starting the conversation with customers and making them buy the product while passing through different phases of the sales pipeline or sales funnel.
Sales pipeline is a visual representation of actions sales reps take to close the deals. This helps salespeople have full control of their sales activities from contacting the customer to closing the deal.
Sales pipeline helps to define sales activities and responsibilities sales representatives have to handle such as lead generation, lead qualification, outreach activities, schedule demos, market research, etc.
Sales Analysis and Reporting
Sales analysis and reporting help you measure the result of your sales strategy. It helps you take a data-driven approach to your business.
Some of the important sales metrics that help sales managers with sales forecasting and planning are:
- Win rate
- Outstanding deals
- Close ratios
- Average deal size
- Sales velocity
- Lifetime value of customer
- Net promoter score
- Total revenue
Analyzing sales insights help sales managers modify sales strategies, close deals quickly, and train sales reps.
A good CRM tool helps you collect these sales data correctly and make reports for stakeholders.
Sales Management Tools for Sales Managers
A sales manager uses multiple types of tools as per the activity they want to handle. Some of the sales management software that is must-have for every sales manager are:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools
CRM software helps sales managers to manage relationships with their customers. It helps you track new leads, existing ones and enhance customer retention.
As per a study by LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2021, 68% of sales managers believe that CRM is very useful in closing deals.
Now CRMs are more advanced than ever. They offer real-time updates that help sales managers and reps to take quick action to save deals.
Most of the CRM software work on user-based or month-based plans, making them easy to add to sales management strategy.
Sales acceleration tools help shorten the sales cycle by automating sales administrative tasks. It helps you achieve accuracy with speed for better customer engagement.
Email tracking and management software, and sales engagement software are types of sales acceleration tools.
Sales intelligence tools help sales managers understand more about prospects and existing customers. These tools make your conversation with customers productive by providing relevant information about customers like purchase history, digital footprints, etc.
It helps sales managers comprehend what to talk about, when to talk, and whom they are talking with.
A LinkedIn survey says 62% of sales professionals consider sales intelligence tools helpful in closing deals.
Sales Analytics Software
Sales analytics tools help sales managers to track and evaluate the sales activities’ performance while collecting useful insights for improving the sales strategy. These tools make it easy to create sales reports.
It helps you gather sales data into your existing system which helps your sales teams. Using these insights, you can calculate customer lifetime value and predict sales revenue.
Sales Productivity Tools
Sales productivity tools focus on helping you improve productivity of your sales team. There are many types of sales productivity tools such as lead generation tools, call making, proposal writing, report creating, etc.
You can automate repetitive tasks using these tools and let the sales team focus on important sales activities.
These were just the top five types of Sales management software that are used by most sales managers. There are many different types of sales management systems present in the market such as:
- Email management
- Sales gamification
- Sale leadership
- Sales enablement
- Video conferencing
- Customer service
- Marketing automation
- Data connectors and integration
- Document tracking
There is no set rule for which tool to use for sales growth. Sales managers select tools based on their team's needs and experience.
For effective sales management, sales managers have to handle a variety of tasks. From hiring and onboarding talents to coaching the sales team, creating sales strategy to implementing it throughout the sales process, collecting sales data to analyze, and creating the report.