Your Sales Management Process and Why it Should be Prioritized
Does it ever seem like your job is just a list of never-ending processes?
- Sales process
- Sales forecasting process
- Communication process
- Data entry management process
- Budgeting process
- Sales recruitment process
- Performance evaluation process
- Sales management process
That’s a lot of processes to process!
You might even wonder if you’re wasting time, effort, and precious resources on creating processes that might not even affect your bottom line. And let’s face it. We’re in sales.
At the end of the day, it’s all about revenue.
Do yourself a favor and, for now, forget about all the other processes you’ve ever heard of.
Today, we’re talking about the sales management process – and why it’s the one you should be focussing on.
What is a sales management process?
A sales management process is the framework by which a company drives revenue by meeting its goals, targets, and objectives.
Forget dogs and diamonds! If your ambition is to be a successful sales manager who drives results, your sales management process is your best friend.
A sales management process provides a clear, coherent system that allows you to:
- Monitor and measure your team’s activities
- Maintain a level of control
- Be able to predict the future by forecasting accurately
- Provide scalability
- Increase sales efficiency and effectiveness
- Increase sales productivity
- Shorten the sales cycle (more on that later)
To put it simply, a sales management process enables the sales manager to do their job – effectively and efficiently. Sales management is an elaborate role that comes with a long list of responsibilities that can be simplified as:
- recruiting a sales team,
- coordinating sales operations,
- implementing sales techniques and strategies,
- and last but not least, measuring, analyzing, and reporting on your sales results.
Why is a sales management process so important?
Having a systematic approach to hiring, planning, strategizing, and reporting is critical to your success as a sales manager. A sales management process gives you this structure – enabling you to align your sales team, meet your targets, and increase your revenue.
You might be wondering if your sales management process is more important than your sales process, and if so, why?
After all, your sales process – a series of steps that takes your team through every stage of the selling journey – is what will result in actual sales.
How can anything be more important than sales? It is, as we mentioned earlier, the ultimate end goal.
The two are intrinsically linked. One of your jobs as a sales manager is to set up the said sales process. But did you know that improving your sales management process can result in a 17% increase in sales?
It’s during the sales management process that you bring out your team’s potential and determine what kind of manager you want to be. How you manage your team can make or break their success and be the difference between you meeting your goals, or not.
Setting sales management goals
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or where you’re located in the world. If you have a product, service, or solution to sell, your number one goal is to generate revenue.
But there are other goals you can set to help bring out the best in you and your team that can be broken up into five categories:
- Salesforce cultivation
- Personal development
- Big picture thinking
- Customer satisfaction
- Process improvement
Setting a goal doesn’t automatically mean you’ll succeed.
You need to set the right goals. Then, you need to make sure you have the right mindset. One that will pave the way for your success.
Push data and metrics to the back of your brain. The goals you need to set will focus on managing, coaching, motivating, and bringing out the best in your sales team. In a world where machines are replacing people at lightning speed, do not underestimate the power of human behavior.
But don’t spend so much time investing in your team that you neglect your personal development! Studies show that businesses that allocate more than 50% of the overall sales training budget toward management training outperform their goal by 15%.
Determining your sales management goals will help you focus on what’s important, enabling you to strategize with a clear direction and become the kind of sales manager you strive to be.
Sales management strategies
A sales management strategy is a documented plan for how you’ll carry out your sales management process and meet your goals.
An effective sales management strategy will be multifaceted and when implemented, boosts revenue. But it’s not all about systems, metrics, and progress tracking. Here are our top five human-centric, future-friendly strategies:
1. Build a formidable salesforce
Replacing a sales rep takes an average of six months and costs an average of $110,000. You literally can’t afford to make the wrong hires! Develop a well-thought-out recruitment and hiring strategy. Take the time to build a team of passionate, hard-working, out-of-the-box thinkers. Then retain them by equipping them with the tools to succeed.
2. Coaching and mentoring
87% of new skills are lost within a month of sales training. If that’s not an argument for a coaching and mentoring program that consists of regular, ongoing training, then we don’t know what is! Build a strategy that gives equal attention to sales reps of every level. After all, coaching even your very best salespeople will encourage the rest of the team to meet a higher standard.
3. Prioritize your team
If you’re in sales management you most likely started as a salesperson, but you and your targets are no longer front and center. You need to make sure you’re putting your precious time and resources where they’ll be best utilized. You’re managing a team now, and helping them succeed and reach their quotas needs to be your top priority. Come up with a plan for how you’ll put them first.
4. Embrace innovation
Develop a strategy for how you’ll keep your finger on the pulse of a rapidly evolving industry. Make sure you’re aware of the latest sales tracking software and any other technical innovations that will help you stay in the game. Innovations don’t have to be technical. In a time where a Zoom call is the new power coffee and elbow bumps are replacing handshakes, it’s crucial to be flexible when it comes to new ways of working.
5. Focus on your sales cycle
Develop a plan for how to shorten your sales cycle, so you can:
- grow your business,
- generate more leads,
- improve your bottom line,
- help your salesforce to work more efficiently.
What is a sales cycle?
A sales cycle is the set of steps your sales force takes to turn a lead into a happy customer.
Each company’s sales cycle is unique but most follow a similar sequence:
- Handling objectives
Why is sales cycle management important?
You might think having a standardized sales cycle isn’t necessary. After all, you’ve got a team made up of diverse, talented people skilled in their respective ways. If what they’re doing is working, why change it?
Because a documented sales cycle will:
- Increase transparency
- Let your team know what to prioritize
- Make onboarding faster and more efficient
- Make it easier for you to forecast sales
- Simplify handovers if necessary
Not to mention that it’s nearly impossible to identify where and how to shorten your sales cycle if you’ve not even identified the current steps!
Sales management techniques
What kind of sales manager do you want to be?
It’s important to remember that you’re a human, managing humans.
Management is nuanced. The techniques you adopt and the qualities you commit to embodying can make as big a difference as the quotas you set or the strategies you implement.
Now is the time to examine your current habits and determine what needs to change. Could a shift in your managerial behavior create a ripple effect moving forward?
Here are some sales management techniques that we believe will help you get far in this day and age:1. Accountability
There’s nothing like a double standard to breed resentment, so:
- Create a standard set of rules
- Define them clearly
- Make sure your sales team understand them
- Consistently hold everyone to the same standard
- Treat everybody equally
Accountability applies to you too, so practice what you preach!
Communicate honestly and in plain terms.
Salespeople in particular have a good radar for disingenuous drivel! Make sure criticism is constructive, provide solutions when discussing a problem, and don’t be stingy when it comes to giving praise!
It’s your responsibility to bring out the best in your team members. In addition to supporting them emotionally, you can ensure their success by:
- Committing to regular coaching
- Making yourself available as a mentor
- Giving them resources that enable them to do their job better
- Implementing a regular training program
- Setting achievable goals
- Putting relevant processes into place
Completing the puzzle
By now you should have a clear understanding of what a sales management process entails, why it’s so important to your business, and how factors such as
- sales management goals,
- sales management strategies,
- sales management techniques, and
- sales cycle management
are all small pieces of the bigger puzzle that make up a winning sales management process.
And with a winning sales management process — and the right attitude – you’re bound to be a winner.