The secret to successful sales management
What really drives sales success?
Experience, professionalism, and expertise about the product or service you’re selling are obvious musts. But there’s something else that empowers stellar sales teams to crush their goals every quarter.
The difference between a good sales team and a killer sales team is effective systems management.
Having the right systems in place to manage the pipeline, monitor progress and goals, and stay organized throughout the sales cycle is integral to effective sales management. Without access to clear, organized, and up-to-date information, your team will be bogged down by process inefficiencies, data errors, and communication mishaps that ultimately limit your success.
What is sales management?
Before we can really grasp the necessity of effective systems management for sales, we must first understand what sales management is all about.
Sales management is the process of developing a sales force, creating sales processes, and implementing sales techniques to achieve the goal of reaching or surpassing sales targets.
Even with the most experienced and outgoing sales reps, a solid approach to sales management is integral to closing new deals, upselling, and keeping abreast of industry changes.
Specifically, sales management is what helps you build the right team and achieve standardization across all processes required for prospecting, tracking leads, following up, updating the CRM, and closing deals. Without it, disorganization and miscommunications will create daily problems and friction completing basic tasks, and sales reps will become frustrated and disengaged.
What is the first decision made in sales force management?
There are three components of effective sales management:
- Sales operations
- Sales strategy
- Sales analysis
Within each of these, you will need to make decisions about how to structure your team, how to reach your goals, how to differentiate your product from your competitors, and how to measure success. All of this can feel like a lot, but by breaking each component down into a series of steps, building a strong sales management foundation will be much easier.
Here’s an overview of each component of sales management.
Sales operations encompasses everything from the size of your team to the types of roles, technologies, and processes used to close deals.
Whether you’re creating a new sales department or simply trying to add more order to your business, the first step to effective sales operations is building a strong team, which will be led by the Sales Operations Manager. Two important duties of the Sales Operations Manager include hiring the right talent and providing effective training and onboarding. Sales Operations also involves choosing the right sales software (such as the CRM), and creating processes that will enable your frontlines salespeople to sell more, faster.
Your sales strategy is your plan for positioning and selling your product or service to qualified buyers. It answers the “how” in your goal to convert prospects into customers.
An effective sales management strategy helps clarify your business objectives and provides guidance to your sales team on how to communicate with prospects, which deals to pursue, and how to promote growth. They also include specific information such as regional and team goals, KPIs, buyer personas, selling techniques, and competitive analysis.
One of the most important aspects of your sales strategy is defining how your sales reps should differentiate your solution from those of your competitors in order to capture a greater share of the market.
Another is account management strategy, which provides guidance to sales reps on how to work with specific prospects and customers.
The process of sales analysis involves reviewing the performance of your sales team to identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as customer data and incoming revenue. While building sales analysis reports, you’ll want to monitor the volume and value of deals from current and past sales as well as individual sales reps and team performance.
Sales analysis is essential to monitoring progress so you can meet your sales targets. Without tracking your performance, it will be next to impossible to identify areas of improvement or new opportunities to try new tactics.
How your sales systems impact the entire sales management process
Sales management is a broad topic that encompasses many parts, as we outlined above. The key to keeping your operations running smoothly, fulfilling your strategy, and performing analytics with accuracy is effective systems management.
In other words, all of the technologies and processes your sales department depends on must be highly usable and fulfill your employees’ needs. Ideally, each system will make your sales reps’ lives easier by enabling new levels of speed, efficiency, organization, and communication.
Unfortunately, the scale and complexity of many enterprise sales systems introduces additional friction and confusion into employees’ workflow.
Pipeline CRM management adds complexity to employees’ workflow
Arguably the most important platform in a sales team’s digital ecosystem is the CRM. This system houses all of the information about every single lead, prospect, and customer at every stage of the sales funnel.
Maintaining a standardized and current CRM system is essential to maintaining accurate pipeline management, which involves overseeing and directing sales in various stages. Pipeline management enables sales leaders to predict future revenues, analyze performance, and understand the time it takes to turn new leads into customers.
Unless your sales team can easily input, manage, and analyze data in the CRM, it will be extremely difficult to ensure the information it stores is accurate and up-to-date. However, CRMs are notoriously complex. They are chock-full of data, include hundreds of features and capabilities, and often have complicated user interfaces. For many salespeople, learning to use the platform and incorporate it into their daily workflow introduces new layers of complexity and frustration.
The CRM is not the only tool salespeople must learn to work with effectively. There are a host of other tools in the sales toolbox that are integral to daily processes and workflows, including tools for social selling, web conferencing, document analytics, competitive analysis, predictive dialers, and more. When nearly every sales process occurs on and across these platforms, complexity and a challenging user experience adds up to lost time, errors, and ultimately, lost opportunities.
Poor systems management can undermine sales success
Despite the prevalence of complexity in the sales technology arena, effective and efficient use of these tools is integral to success. Two sales teams with equally qualified sales reps, experienced managers, and solid strategies can experience very different outcomes depending on how effectively they use and manage the platforms that guide their work.
Teams that struggle to organize data, consistently make errors when inputting information, or lack an infrastructure for communication and collaboration will find it difficult to achieve the levels of speed required to meet sales targets.
How winning teams do pipeline management
Here’s the secret winning sales teams already know: the way data and progress is visualized can have a significant impact on speed and efficiency.
By centralizing all important information in one organized, visually engaging place, individual sales team members will find it much easier to stay on track of their personal duties, track their KPIs, identify weaknesses, and communicate with one another.
The secret sauce to effective sales pipeline management is providing your team with a clear and intuitive system that connects all of the data, updates, and information required for sailing through the sales funnel. Teams that can turn complex digital processes into effective systems management find it easier to stay organized and maintain control over their deals.
Say goodbye to sales management complexity
Effective systems management enables salespeople to focus their time and energy on closing deals and bringing in more revenue instead of wasting time parsing through complex screens on the CRM or other tools in their workflow.
Sales management software like monday.com allows you to create customizable, easy-to-use boards to manage the entire sales cycle — from lead to closed-won — so every process is organized, accounted for, clear, and up-to-date.
monday.com integrates completely with all tools in your sales technology ecosystem, so all necessary fields relating to deal size, forecast value, progress, and more remain consistent and accurate across your systems. When you take the complexity out of the hands of your reps, you empower them to use their talent and experience to do what they’re here to do: sell.
This is the difference between good teams and killer teams. This is the difference between just meeting your targets and completely crushing them.
Try this sales process template today to see how better systems management can completely transform your sales team.