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Managing a sales team can be a challenging task for any sales manager, regardless of experience. Not only do you have to handle the day-to-today tasks of the job, but you also need to ensure that your team is delivering their best by staying on track with their performance. In this blog, we will discuss some important things you need to implement in order to ensure your sales team’s success.
The Three Pillars of Sales Management
The hiring process is a crucial first step toward creating a success-driven sales team. Hiring the wrong candidate can impact your organization’s reputation and sales performance negatively and lead you right back to where you started. When hiring a sales rep, you should not only look at their experience or talent, but you should also look at their understanding of your product or service and of your customer behavior. You want to hire someone who will help you drive business growth, and a good candidate will do just that.
2. Training and Mentoring
Basic knowledge of your product or service is usually not enough to get your sales rep to the level they need to be to confidently sell your product. Therefore, It is important to give your sales team the tools they need to succeed. You have to know your sales team’s strengths and weaknesses first in order to implement a training format that works for them. You can do this by experimenting with different training methods and comparing the respective outcomes of sales performance.
Mentoring is taking one extra step in the training of your sales team. Unlike other training methods, it offers a more one-on-one approach and involves sharing unique experiences. As a sales manager, you can share your experiences with your sales reps about some of the challenges you’ve faced and how you managed to overcome them, along with customer success stories that they can learn from. You can do this by developing a Mentor Program for your team to help them level up their skill set.
3. Performance Review and Coaching
Performance reviews give you the perfect opportunity to understand how your sales team meets their expectations and achieves their goals. You can then offer them positive criticism and suggest ways to improve or praise their performance. With coaching, you take that information and use it to help your sales reps reach their full potential by making each sales rep feel supported and provided with the necessary tools for success. Here are a few ways to effectively achieve that:
- Sales Call Quality: To help your sales team improve the quality of their calls, you have to start by setting a clear goal for them, then provide them with a strategy. You need to encourage your sales reps to plan accordingly for each call, and that involves researching the prospect and leveraging the information they find on them to tailor the call to them. They should keep a similar structure on all their sales calls but make slight differences that reflect their knowledge of the prospect.
- Pipeline management: A pipeline gives a representation of where your prospects are in the sales process and shows how many deals your sales reps are expected to close in a given time frame. It is a tool that you need to constantly review in order to encourage your sales team to drop dead leads and focus their efforts on the most promising ones.
- Territory Management: This involves creating and assigning territories for your sales reps. You can monitor these territories to see your team’s performance and make adjustments where necessary to ensure that they are as efficient and effective as possible. You have to constantly review these territories to get a good understanding of who your best performers are and get an idea of what you need to do to help your sales reps better their performance and achieve their sales goals.
Top Five Sales Management Strategies for New and Established Sales Managers
Management strategies are a good way to get your sales team to work at their full potential and achieve their goals in the most effective ways. Let’s have a look at five management strategies that you can use:
1. Set SMART sales goals
Sales goals are the targets that you set for your sales team in order to improve performance, but in order for goals to be effective, they need to be SMART goals, which basically means that you use the five criteria of the acronym when setting a goal.
- Specific: Explain exactly how you plan to achieve the goal you set. For example, you can’t just say, “The goal is to grow our customer base.” you need to give your team a plan or strategy on how they should achieve that goal.
- Measurable: Give your sales team an exact number that you want them to aim for so they can have a standard reference point for their performance. For instance, you could ask them to grow your customer base by 15%.
- Achievable: While the object is to push your sales team to improve performance, it is important that you set a goal that you know they are capable of achieving. You cannot ask them to grow your customer base by 50% when you know that in the previous year, they only grew it by 7%.
- Realistic: Context matters. You should set a goal that is within your business’s current strategies. You should not expect your sales team to generate new leads or increase revenue using a method of sales they are unfamiliar with.
- Time-based: When setting a goal, there needs to be a destination. You should structure your plan in a way that sets yearly or quarterly markers for your sales team, which will be easier for them to follow.
2. Measure performance and address gaps
There is no perfect way to measure performance; sales are complex and encompass numerous factors. The best you can do is create an effective system to measure performance. You can use key sales metrics to monitor the performance of an individual sales rep or the whole team. Sales teams use a metric known as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), which provide you with insights about your team’s performance and help you make informed management decisions.
Once you know your team’s performance, you can easily identify any skill gaps that need to be addressed. The most common skill gaps that you are likely to encounter as a sales manager are;
- Sales reps skipping certain steps of the sales process
- Sales reps being underprepared for a call
- Lack of active listening skills
- Sales reps jumping into pricing too early in the conversation
- Sales reps that are unable to work their questions naturally into the conversation
There are plenty of other gaps that you may encounter; some are easy to address and just need a bit of coaching and repetition. Others are more complex and will need consistent training. Skill gaps can affect anyone on your team, even your high-performing reps. You have to be on the lookout for them and be prepared to upskill your sales reps, or even the whole team.
3. Provide Relevant and Timely Feedback
It is important to provide feedback when there is still time for your sales reps to act on it and for you to monitor and adjust their performance. For your sales team to be successful, you need to be able to provide feedback to help your team improve while also remaining positive. Your feedback has to come with specific pointers so they know exactly what they need to work on and how. Don’t forget your high-performing sales reps, they need feedback too. You should encourage them by praising their work and enabling them to do even better.
4. Incentive Healthy Competition
You can use healthy competition to motivate your sales team to increase their sales. It is a great way to fuel your sales team to continuously reach new levels. You can use it to increase your team’s willingness to excel in their role by giving rewards to the sales reps with the most sales. This will encourage them to work more productively and achieve loftier goals. You can also do sales competitions that require them to work in teams; this will generate collaboration and build trust within your sales team. Healthy competition can help boost morale in the workplace when you give your team recognition and rewards for their achievements.
5. Develop A Culture of Transparent Communication
A culture of transparent communication can have a huge positive impact on the workplace. Encouraging transparent communication can help you build trust between you and your team. This will make it easy for your sales reps to share ideas that could potentially solve an existing problem and ultimately improve your sales performance.
First of all, you need to make communication a priority. You have to make your sales rep feel like you trust them to perform well in their roles. Another way to ensure transparency is by defining clear roles that will allow everyone in your team to know their key responsibilities and make sure everyone is working towards the same goal. Getting to know everyone in your team is a guaranteed way of getting them to communicate openly and honestly.
How to Manage A Remote Sales Team
Since the pandemic, we have seen a significant rise in remote work in almost every industry, and sales is no exception. It is challenging enough to manage a team of sales reps that you come into contact with every day; managing a remote sales team adds its own unique challenges. However challenging it may be, it is not impossible. Here are a few things you can incorporate into your management strategy that will ease the process:
Invest in Remote-Friendly Tools
There are a number of tools you can use to ensure that your team is able to access your business’s information from their devices. They can also allow them to update any information on leads at any time. You can use cloud software to make sure that everyone in your remote sales team has access to information from anywhere in real time. There are other tools you can use, like a CRM that employs a dashboard where each sales rep can see the activities and performance of the whole team.
Focus on Communication and Collaboration
Communication is key. You won’t have direct contact with your remote team, so it is important to put measures in place that will allow for communication and ultimately build trust. If you have teams working across different time zones, you have to ensure that there is an overlap in some of the hours to allow them some amount of real-time communication.
You should also encourage communication between members of the team. You can do this through having meetings where they can brainstorm ideas and help each other with certain challenges. Encourage them to interact with each other as often as possible in order to build healthy relationships.
Set Clear Intentions
It’s important to make your remote team understand your intentions and what you expect from them. This will give them a clear picture of the standard they need to maintain and the amount of work they need to put in. Working with a remote team adds an extra layer of adherence to online procedures, ensuring they understand them and are always willing to give them any tips or guidance.
The success of your sales team starts with the hiring process; that is where you can pick out the best candidates that will work to meet your goals. It doesn’t stop there, of course. Effectively managing your team will involve a level of consistency from you to keep them motivated and equipped to deliver consistently high performance. You can do this through training, coaching and mentoring your team, and ensuring that you address any skill gaps they may have. Implementing the management strategies covered here can help you drive your team to success and increase your revenue. And if you are running a remote team of sales reps there are managing strategies you can put in place and tools you can use to ensure the same level of success.
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