Sales managers play a vital role in the success of their team. It is the duty of the sales manager to set the tone and culture of the sales organization. Successful sales management can make or break a company’s fortunes. A high performing, the well-managed sales team is worth millions of dollars to their company. On the other hand, a sales manager that does not get the best out of their team will be shown the exit door sooner rather than later.
It can be difficult to define what makes a sales manager great. Many sales managers have taken completely different routes to success. There is, however, a number of sales management best practices worth remembering as you try to cajole your team towards that next win. If you are an experienced manager with an impressive track record or have just made the transition from successful rep to sales manager, it is worth taking the time to assess the state of your sales force and your own performance. We have put together a list of 11 sales management tips to help you on your way. These tips will help you get them most out of yourself and your team.
1. BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR TIME
The same characteristics that made you a great sales rep, unfortunately, do not transfer over to sales management. High performing sales reps are impressively self-centered when it comes to time management. The top sellers often focus solely on their goals and guard their calendars closely. They focus on selling, everything else is secondary.
When successful sales reps make the transition to sales management, the transition can be a bit of a shock to the system. Your time is no longer your own. An initial step on the way to succeeding as a sales manager is simply acceptance. A sales management tip worth remembering is that success will be brought about by investing your time in those who will bring you results.
2. GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT’S DUE
Some sales manager’s focus on the negative too much. Don’t fall into this trap, morale will suffer. The most successful manager in soccer history Sir Alex Ferguson once said “well done” was the most important phrase in the English language. Follow Sir Alex’s lead with your sales team and congratulate reps when things are going well to help boost their confidence.
3. IDENTIFY SALES ROADBLOCKS
Take the time to identify roadblocks in your company’s sales processes. While this tip might seem straightforward, it is important to take time to figure out the most pressing issues and plan accordingly. Incorporating sales management software which provides detailed analytics of where deals are breaking down can help you here. You should also assess how your reps are spending their time. Time, after all, is the most precious resource of all. If for example, your sales team is wasting valuable time searching for sales content as a recent study suggests, then you must think about introducing sales enablement tools to help your reps increase their effectiveness.
4. LEVERAGE EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES
Just because you lead a high-performance sales unit does not mean you should stop looking for ways to improve. The best sales managers are constantly looking to get the most out of themselves and their team. Keep a close eye on new and emerging technologies that can quickly add ROI and value to your sales force.
5. IMPLEMENT SALES ENABLEMENT SOFTWARE
The personal touch might be important to successful sales management but equipping your team with software that increases their efficiency and effectiveness is now vital. Value-adding content has become vital to the sales call. Case studies and data-driven reports can quickly demonstrate a company’s value to a prospect. Unfortunately, many sales reps struggle to locate the most relevant and up to date content.
A recent study showed that 65% of companies said the ability to quickly find content was a major sales pain point. Incorporate sales enablement software that ensures your team are equipped with the most important content when and where they need it.
6. MAKE INTEGRATION A PRIORITY
Selecting the software you implement within your sales organization has become key. When choosing between vendors one important sales management tip to consider is how well the chosen software will integrate with your current enterprise tools. If for example, your sales reps spend a high percentage of their time logged into salesforce.com, you should prioritize tools that fully integrate with salesforce.
7. FOSTER A CULTURE OF ACCOUNTABILITY
In poorly managed sales teams, an all too regular complaint is that marketing supplies sales with low quality leads. Marketing, on the other hand, complains that sales does not pursue the leads they supply with enough enthusiasm. Eradicate the blame game and watch as results improve.
8. PUT MARKETING ON A QUOTA
One innovative way to move away from the blame culture involves elements of sales lead management and sales pipeline management and will require cooperation with the marketing chief at your company. Assess the close rates associated with the type of lead marketing generates. For example, if a lead generated by a demo request closes 5% of the time while a whitepaper only closes 1% of the time, you should be able to attach a dollar value to each lead. You can then set a quota that marketing must reach each month eliminating subjectivity in the process.
9. ACCEPT FEEDBACK
Another sales management tip worth remembering is that if you want your sales team to accept your constructive criticism, you should be willing to accept feedback from them. To create an open and honest working culture, you should even request feedback on occasion.
10. SHARE SUCCESS STORIES
Another tip to remember is that after big wins you should take the time to share with the team the things that made the deal work. Openly assess what the sales rep did well, what didn’t work and what could be done differently in future.
11. FOCUS ON YOUR SALES PROCESS
One of the most important sales management tips is to honor your sales process, not your goals. Some sales managers become so preoccupied with hitting that number that they lose focus on the things they do have control of. The best selling author on sales and marketing Tony Alessandra puts it best when he says, “It’s amazing how many times success can be assured by attending to the basics of the job.” While it is important to keep track of how many calls your team are making don’t lose track of the “How”.
These tips can help you as you plan out your roadmap to sales management success.