Undoubtedly, sales management is one of the toughest business disciplines to effectively master and execute.
A good sales management system will be able to inspire and motivate your sales force. The best sales managers are able to grasp the latest sales techniques and leverage their best practices to help their teams close more deals and drive up your sales revenue.
Ready to join these exciting professionals? Here’s a complete overview of sales management.
What Is Sales Management?
This term refers to the application of sales management techniques for effectively managing sales operations.
While the exact definition of sales management varies from one organization to the next, the following tasks often fall under the umbrella of sales management:
Hire and train new employees.
You can’t do any sales management if there’s no sales force to manage. Sales teams boast a wide range of profiles, including development representatives, salespeople, business development managers, and more. Sales managers are responsible for hiring and training of these sales reps.
Establish sales goals and quotas.
The sales manager responsible for setting the sales goals that the sales force aspires to achieve. These quotas must make sense to each team member and strike a balance between being challenging and attainable.
Manage and adapt sales processes.
Sales managers must also determine the sales processes that the sales force will follow. In order to steer the team in the right direction, these protocols have to be well-planned and based on experience.
Motivate the team.
Sales can be a demanding field. So to succeed, sales teams need the right type and amount of motivation. Therefore, successful sales management must identify what works and what doesn’t.
Perform sales reporting
To guide the decision-making of sales teams and achieve success, they must use a diverse, accurate range of data. So sales managers must be able to put together accurate reports that outline performances and identify areas for improvement.
What Are the Objectives of Sales Management?
Sales managers should instill an appropriate level of engagement in their teams. Then your business can achieve these critical objectives.
Achieve a desired sales volume.
Around the world, sales teams work hard to make sure their businesses can reach their desired sales volumes. Since a higher volume is indicative of optimal penetration in a given market, this concept is very important. The more customers your company has, the more secure it will be.
Contribute to company profits.
The duties of sales managers should be executed as effectively as possible. Then your sales department can close more deals and boost the turnover rate of your business. You should sell each product at the right price, and you should use the appropriate strategies to maximize sales.
Play a role in achieving growth.
Companies must grow to satisfy shareholders and make a bigger impact. It’s important for a sales department to play a role in this growth. A sales department should constantly evolve, so you should try to close more deals while you provide useful feedback to the rest of the business.
Effectively manage the cost of sales.
Sales costs can quickly spiral out of control. If a business incurs significant costs, its net profits will decrease. So to ensure that a business is financially viable, it’s very important for sales managers to control the costs associated with sales.
Important Sales Management Skills You Must Master
If you’re going to become the best sales manager you can be, you simply have to master these important sales management skills.
Valuable, effective sales managers have to develop business acumen. You must be able to understand the complex business challenges you’ll face, as well as the role that sales plays in a well-oiled financial machine. This skill will help you to earn your place on a management team.
Sales managers spend the majority of their time interacting with different types of information from a variety of sources. If you’re going to succeed, you’ll have to be able to interpret anecdotal insight from your salespeople, comprehend complex reports as quickly as possible, organize this information, and use it to find the best path forward.
Coaching and mentoring
Perhaps more than any other team, sales departments need a strong, inspiring leader who can mentor the various personalities onboard. Since sales professionals need to learn a wide range of skills, they need someone to keep them motivated. So sales managers should be able to provide this motivation while they’re handling their other responsibilities.
Planning and organizing
Sales managers have to diligently keep an eye on all of their resources. They have to use their planning and organizational skills to manage the sales pipeline, get the most from their sales management process, assign tasks, keep everybody busy, and drive the department forward.
Great communication skills
In the world of sales, things are always changing. Sales managers must be able to roll with the punches and provide informative, accurate updates to various stakeholders. And they should use their communication skills (written and verbal) to guide their teams and share progress reports with senior staff members.
Sales Management Strategies that Will Build a Great Sales Team
Great sales teams don’t just come together without any direction. They’re intentionally built by talented minds. Here’s a look at the strategies you can use to build a performant team.
1. Understand your needs.
The first step in building a strong sales team is investing the appropriate amount of time into assessing and understanding your needs. You can determine your needs according to your sales goals and overall sales strategy.
You should understand your needs in these areas:
- The quotas you need to achieve
- The types of profiles you’ll require
- The ways your profiles will help you achieve success
- The abilities you’ll need on your team
If you have a clear understanding in these areas, you’ll understand what you need your new hires to achieve. Then you’ll be able to pinpoint the skills you need them to have and give them a timetable for their workload.
This step will help you make sure your sales representatives are as effective as possible after they join the team. Moreover, this structure will help them feel more secure and fulfilled.
2. Put together an attractive compensation plan.
Now that you have a good understanding of the profiles you’re hoping to acquire, it’s time to think about how you’re going to compensate them for their time and effort.
When it comes to compensation, sales is a complicated field, given that there are often lots of sales-performance bonuses to take into consideration. If you’re going to attract the best talent, it’s critical for you to try to put together an attractive, fair compensation plan.
The compensation plan you create should inspire your team to perform. If you hit a sweet spot, you can make sure they buy in, and you’ll motivate them to pursue amazing results.
3. Try to compile a harmonious team.
Sales departments are often have big personalities who love the thrill of chasing down a prospect and closing a sale. As much as possible, you’ll want to make sure your team is filled with these hungry, talented personalities.
Along these lines, you want your team to be harmonious. If you don’t find the right people during the hiring process, you may accidentally hire someone who will brings the energy level of your team down.
You should work alongside HR to make sure you identify the right candidates, based on their soft skills and motivations. This tactic will help you put together a team that overflows with energy and moves forward as a unit.
4. Have a plan for training and motivating your team.
Before you identify and acquire the right profiles, it’s important for you to have a strategy for training and motivating your team.
You should think about this critical area of your sales management process before you start interviewing your candidates. Then you can make sure you have a strategy in place that you reveal to your candidates.
During this step, you could have some interesting conversations that will help you identify the right candidates. A strong training program will also ensure that your new sales hires hit the ground running and drive value to your company.
5. Develop a smooth, repeatable hiring process.
All too often, hiring processes are thrown together. So the wrong candidates are chosen for poorly defined roles. This nightmare situation can result in poor experiences for both your business and your candidate.
If you’re going to find the best candidates every single time you hire, you have to develop a smooth, repeatable hiring process. Every great sales manager should work alongside HR to outline his or her ideal hiring process, then stick to it.
Due to this emphasis on repeatability, you can find a process that works. So you’ll be able to easily replicate it and achieve predictable results.
A Sales Management Process You Should Follow
If you’re going to achieve success as a sales manager, you have to identify what works and improve on it time and again. You can’t move from one strategy to another at breakneck speed.
This predictability will help your team work in confidence, and it will give you the power to iterate your strategies. Then you can get the best results possible.
Here’s a closer look at how you can go about creating a performant sales management process:
1. Put together the right team
Without the right team members, you don’t have a sales team. Your first priority should be to put together a great sales force using the strategies outlined above. Once you have the right people, anything is possible.
Be sure to rely on your HR department for support and really take the time to find the right profiles – hiring the wrong person can be a costly and disruptive error.
Once you have put your team together, it needs to receive constant training and coaching. As a sales manager who leads from the front, you have to provide that training and become a role model.
You should work hard to develop quality training programs that inspire your sales force to grow. Over time, you should adjust and refine these programs. Then you can keep aiming higher and higher.
2. Develop your sales funnel
A great sales funnel is another essential component to any successful sales force. You should use your sales experience and your knowledge of the business to put together a sales funnel that reflects the reality of your customer journey.
You should divide your sales funnel into various stages and move your leads through them at the appropriate time. This segmentation helps you to target your leads with the appropriate marketing and make contact at the right time.
You can automate this sales process with lead scoring activities, too, so that your sales team can focus on sales-ready prospects.
3. Collaborate with marketing to source leads
Sales and marketing teams must work hand-in-hand. If you’re going to fuel your sales pipeline with quality marketing-generated leads, you have to develop a close relationship with your marketing department.
To make the collaboration as seamless as possible, you have to work together. Your marketing manager should be able to qualify the leads they generate, then seamlessly feed them into your CRM. Then they’ll be ready to increase your qualification and engagement.
Likewise, your sales team should have an established method for sharing feedback about the marketing-generated leads they have been given. To elevate your results, it’s very important for you to be able to achieve a strong level of collaboration between your sales and marketing teams.
4. Perfect your prospecting
There are lots of potential prospecting techniques to identify which leads are right for your business.
It’s important for you to be able to understand the various prospecting techniques. Then you can pinpoint the best fit for your business, based on your niche and the customers you’re targeting.
This understanding will help you provide your team with the guidance they need. If you have a well-defined process, you can simply share it with your team. Then they can start achieving your goals.
Without a well-defined prospecting process, you might find that your team operates randomly and fails to get the right results.
5. Use accurate sales forecasting and reports
Now that your sales management and your sales process are in place, you’ve got to use the appropriate tools and techniques to gauge your success.
You should familiarize yourself with the key forecasting methods so that your sales department can drive real value within your business. The right tools can also help you to generate insightful reports for your sales management process that reveal who your top performers from your sales force are. Those insights can also help you to adjust your sales process to improve sales performance.
Best Sales Management Software
Theory and understanding are only two parts of the story. You also have to equip yourself and your team with the best tools. Here’s a look at some of the best sales management software for executing your sales strategy.
UpLead gives sales managers the ability to drive growth on their teams by providing them with targeted sales leads. This lead generation platform differentiates itself from other options on the market by offering these standout features.
Build Targeted Lists.
As a sales manager, you have to facilitate contact with businesses all over the world. UpLead gives you access to a database of over 108 million business contacts, which you can filter by using a range of criteria.
Use Verified Data.
Lots of lead generation platforms offer poor-quality data that you can’t trust. But UpLead offers built-in real-time email verification. This feature cleans and verifies data that will boost your conversion rates.
Search Contacts and Companies.
UpLead gives you the ability to strategically target and engage with the right contacts. Our platform makes it easy for you to search via a range of firmographic data points.
Enrich Your Proprietary Data
UpLead empowers you to append a range of fields. Then you can enrich and enhance your own data.
Pipedrive is sales CRM with the goal of making sales success inevitable. This platform prides itself on being CRM designed for salespeople—by salespeople.
This platform offers all of the typical functionality you’d expect from this kind of CRM. Pipedrive allows you to manage your leads and deals while you’re tracking your communications and automating administrative tasks.
This CRM puts a host of insights and reports at your fingertips, which make it easy for you to measure your key performance indicators. Meanwhile, your CRM is secure, and it can be accessed from a host of mobile devices.
Salesforce is the world’s largest CRM. It gives managers the ability to connect with their customers in a whole new way.
The reach of this platform extends far beyond sales, and it helps bring marketing, commerce, service, and IT together. Given that Salesforce has such a huge reach, you might want to consider learning the basics of this platform now.
Thanks to its vast functionality, limitless integrations, and advanced sales analytics, Salesforce is a standout option.
Resources: Best Sales Management Books
Willing to put in the time to become the best sales manager you can be? Here are five sales management books that will give you the depth of understanding you need to become a top performer and an inspiration to your team.
Sales Management, Simplified: The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team by Mike Weinberg
Over the course of his career, Mike Weinberg has worked with sales teams around the world to help get them in peak condition.
In this book, he talks directly to managers and offers them a leadership framework you can use to push your team to perform at its highest standards. You’ll find that this book tackles a spectrum of the aspects range of sales management (both specific and broad).
Nuts and Bolts of Sales Management: How to Build a High Velocity Sales Organization by John Treace
John Treace owns his own sales and marketing consulting firm. In this book, he lets you into his world and explains how he thrived as a sales manager for over 30 years. If you feel like you’re in over your head from time to time, this book can really help you get a handle on ways to achieve stability.
Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives by Keith Rosen
Keith Rosen has his own sales training and coaching academy. In this book, you can get an inside perspective on ways to motivate your sales team.
This book is based on the LEADS systems that Rosen developed. This system will help your sales team perform well in the shortest amount of time possible.
The Sales Manager Survival Guide: Lessons from Sales’ Front Lines by David A. Brock
David Brock is a sales consultant and author who understands that sales management is a delicate balancing act.
In this book, he offers you the tools and insight you need to thrive in sales management. He walks you through ways to get the maximum level of performance from all of your sales force.
Race to Amazing: Your Fast Track to Sales Leadership by Krista Moore
Krista Moore’s coaching firm for sales leadership serves a host of Fortune 500 companies.
This book helps new managers get up-to-speed in their new roles. It offers a range of practical advice that empowers people to become the best sales managers they can be.
Feeling like sales management success is within your grasp? A big part of this success involves providing your team with a steady stream of high-quality, targeted sales leads. UpLead can help.