Having an effective sales management process in place is crucial for any business that wants to maximize its sales potential. In this guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about effective sales management, including the role of a sales manager, key skills, sales forecasting, team structure, performance metrics, coaching, and technology.
By the end of this guide, you will have a better understanding of how to manage your sales team effectively and maximize your sales potential.
Introduction to sales management
Sales management is, essentially, the process of managing a team of sales reps and ensuring that they are meeting their targets and contributing to the growth of the company. The most important person in executing a sales management strategy is, understandably, the sales manager.
The role of a sales manager
A sales manager is responsible for setting goals, developing strategies to achieve set goals, and monitoring the progress of the sales team. Additionally, a sales manager is responsible for coaching and mentoring the sales team and helping them to develop their skills and improve their performance.
The importance of effective sales management
Effective sales management is important for several reasons. First, it helps to ensure that the sales team is working towards the same goals and objectives. Second, it helps to improve the performance of the sales team by identifying areas for improvement and providing coaching and mentoring. Finally, effective sales management helps to ensure that the company is meeting its sales targets and contributing to its overall growth.
Key skills of a successful sales manager
Good management can’t be defined in a short list. Depending on the specifics of your team and the strengths of the manager this will look different in each case. However, here are a few key skills that can be imperative to a sales manager’s success:
A successful sales manager needs to be a strong leader who can motivate and inspire the sales team to achieve their goals. They should be able to lead by example and be willing to roll up their sleeves and get involved in the sales process when necessary. They shouldn’t be afraid of a cold call or two to show the team how it’s done every now and then.
Effective communication is crucial for sales management. A sales manager needs to be able to communicate effectively with the sales team, other departments within the company, and external stakeholders, such as customers and suppliers.
A successful manager needs to be able to think strategically. They should be able to develop strategies to achieve the company’s sales goals and be able to adapt those strategies as necessary. It’s not simply about everyday activities, but working towards what you’re looking to achieve long term.
The sales management process
The sales management process involves several key steps, including:
Sales forecasting and goal setting
Sales forecasting and goal setting are essential for effective sales management. Sales forecasting involves predicting future sales based on past performance and market trends. Goal setting involves setting challenging (but achievable) sales targets for the sales team.
Sales team structure and organization
The structure and organization of the sales team are also crucial for effective sales management. The sales team should be organized in a way that supports the company’s sales goals and objectives. This might include how Account Executives and SDRs work in tandem or structuring teams based on industries and other criteria.
Sales performance metrics and analysis
In order to ascertain the progress of the sales team, it’s essential to analyze regularly and ensure you’re monitoring relevant sales performance metrics. Sales managers should be able to track key performance indicators (KPIs), such as sales revenue, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs, and use that data to identify areas that are working and those that need improvement.
Motivating and coaching sales teams
If members of your team don’t feel motivated or are struggling with an area of their role, they are never going to perform to the best of their abilities. Sales managers should be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of individual team members and provide coaching and mentoring to help them grow. Development should always be a key focus.
Technology and tools for sales management
Having a great sales tech stack in place can be a great way to streamline the sales management process and support your team. Sales managers should be familiar with the latest sales management software and tools and use them to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales team.
Adopting the right blend of tools such as CRM systems, prospecting tools and contract management platforms will have a huge impact on your teams’ ability to do their jobs well.
Common sales management challenges and how to overcome them
It isn’t always smooth sailing and there will inevitably be challenges along the way. Here are some common ones you may come across:
Lack of motivation
Even with the best intentions you can sometimes discover that your team has hit a rough patch and is lacking in motivation, which can lead to poor performance. It’s therefore important for sales managers to schedule regular 1:1s, provide feedback and coaching to the sales team and create a positive work environment that fosters motivation.
Furthermore, it’s good to adopt a more personal approach and check in with the team on how they’re doing generally, outside of the job, and if there’s any way you or the company can support them if needed.
Sales management challenges: Poor communication
Effective communication is crucial for sales management. To overcome poor communication, sales managers should establish clear communication channels and ensure that the sales team is aware of the company’s goals and objectives. Whether it’s Slack, Teams, Google Docs or whatever it may be, ensure that everyone on the team knows where to receive information and that they are regularly updated.
Lack of sales training
You can’t expect sales reps who have just joined your team to be able to instantly hit the ground running, especially if they are fairly junior. Sales training is essential for improving the performance of the sales team.
To overcome the lack of sales training, sales managers should provide regular training and coaching to the sales team to help them develop their skills and improve their performance. Naturally, this shouldn’t just be confined to sales technique, but also sessions on the product so the team have an intimate knowledge and can sell with a full knowledge of your offering.
Regardless of the talent within your sales team, without an effective sales manager at the helm to guide them and implement a proper strategy, it will be nearly impossible for them to realize their full potential.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can improve the performance of your sales team and achieve your targets. Remember to set clear goals and objectives, provide regular feedback and coaching, and use technology and tools to streamline the sales management process. By doing so, you can become a successful sales manager and maximize your sales potential.
How Oneflow can help
A particular aspect of the sales process that can really slow down getting a deal across the line is how contracts are managed. Traditional methods of signing on paper or PDFs are incredibly time consuming and provide a poor user experience for all involved. With Oneflow, you can manage all aspects of the contract management process in one platform – from creating, to signing, managing and storing.
With truly digital contracts, all parties can work from the same version, without the need for endless email threads, and can even see edits in real time. By removing the friction from the signing process, and enabling counterparties to sign wherever they are in the world, you’ll find that documents are approved in a fraction of the time.