Sales management sounds simple enough. It seems like it should just be taking care of sales and making sure the customer is happy, but in fact, it is a lot more than that.
The actual functions of sales management include overseeing what the sales team is doing, making plans and setting targets. It also includes generally ensuring the efficiency of the sales process to get the best result for the business.
What is sales management?
Before, anything else you need to know what sales management is and how it works. There are two main parts to managing your sales team. The first is the person-management, making sure everyone knows what they are doing and what is expected of them. The second is keeping track of sales that have been made.
To keep everyone on track, you need to set goals and targets, that the team can aim for. In addition, a to-do list or diary should be used to make sure each team member does what is needed at the right time.
This might be making calls, sending messages, or attending meetings in person. Sales meetings are often one of the most difficult aspects to manage as they can take place at the customer’s location. The salesperson must get there on time, have all the information they need with them, and potentially get away in time to get to their next meeting.
Comparatively, it is quite straightforward to keep track of sales. This is because sales will be recorded on a centralized system with the option of easily running reports. If the sales are too low in a particular period, you can offer encouragement and solutions as necessary.
Functions of sales management
There are various ways in which sales management helps a business to streamline their sales process and increase their ROI. You can refer to these ways as individual functions of sales management. Let us take a look at how this works.
Previous Performance and Setting Targets
One of the functions of sales management is to ensure that targets are reached, but targets that are set too high will never be reached. By running reports on sales figures over a period of time, especially those produced by current members of the sales team, you’ll be able to calculate the most sensible and achievable target for individuals and the team as a whole.
Of course, previous performance does not always indicate how anyone will currently perform. There may have been changes in the products that are available or the locations that your sales team serve. You need to factor in those differences when you are setting targets.
Managing the Sales Process
At any given time, there could be a large number of potential customers working their way through your company’s sales process. Another function of sales management is to make sure that each lead is dealt with promptly and correctly.
Identifying the best leads is a key factor in increasing the sales figures for the business. Converting those who are ready to buy into full paying customers is easier than getting the person who only has a passing interest to part with their cash.
Improving process efficiency
This leads to improving the efficiency of the sales process. Finding the best leads is a step that is near the end of the process. But, optimizing and improving the process as a whole will bring more good leads through more quickly.
The flow through the sales process should be constant. From newly interested people to fully qualified leads that are ready to buy, and the more you can automate it, the better.
Instead of having to worry about every little detail, using a software solution to automate particular tasks will make everything run much more smoothly. Say, a customer lands on your website and has shown an interest in a particular product. Ideally, you might have a whole team (or a certain salesperson) dedicated to that one product. By assigning the care of that customer to the right team or salesperson, their needs will be better met. And, the likelihood of a sale increases dramatically.
In the same way, sending out an automated email with similar or related products on will help build a relationship and create interest for the customer. To do this manually may take some time. But once configured, such a system does not need to be interacted with again by the sales team.
But, what if the customer does not purchase through the automated nurturing? Then, you can assign tasks to the sales team for manual follow-up.
Monitor salespeople’s performance
As mentioned earlier, the production of reports is essential to see how the business has progressed over time. An aspect of sales management that should not be overlooked is team leadership. Basing your actions on the cold hard facts presented by current and historical reports will enable you to get the best out of your team.
Congratulate those who deserve it and encourage and re-train those who are struggling. If there’s still no hope for the underperformers after giving them a fair chance, it may be that sales is not the field they will excel in.
Get detailed reports on a dashboard
Remember, working as a sales manager is not the top position in the company, and you will have to present reports and justify decisions to people higher in the chain than you. When you can back up everything you say with evidence, it will make the information much easier to present.
Always use the full information available to you. The geographic location of salespeople, the products being sold, even the time of year can have an effect on the sales figures. Imagine how poorly a salesperson might perform selling Christmas decorations in a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas…in the middle of summer. Take that same salesperson selling the same items in December and place them in Illinois, and they will probably sell a lot more!
To be clear, sales management is not just about telling people what is expected and trying to get them to hit targets. It’s using the information at your disposal to find the reasons that things happen and using that information to your advantage to get the best out of your sales team.
This might involve making many changes to the way the team operates, but that’s what management is all about – using what you already have in the best way possible.