Sales management plays a critical role in every organization.
Your sales leaders drive your revenue process by creating a sales strategy and empowering reps to execute it (through both training and technology). But a study of 515 sales managers found that average sales management results in less than 50 percent of reps achieving quota. So sales management needs to step it up. We’re here to help.
2016 was the year of the sales stack, but 2017 will be the year of inside sales management. Here’s what you need to strengthen your strategy.
The top 4 things inside sales management needs
1. Defined key selling activities
Every organization’s sales process is unique to their offering and go-to-market strategy. Your key selling activities define the 3-4 most important steps of that process. For an inside sales team, those steps could be ROI discussions, VP-level meetings, proposals and deals won. But a sales development team, on the other hand, would likely identify calls, conversations, meetings scheduled and sales qualified opportunities as their most important activities.
When the key steps of your sales process aren’t defined, reps are left to determine their own path from new opportunity to closed won. The sales process is nonexistent. In addition, your team won’t know how much time they should spend prospecting leads, hosting meetings or drafting proposals. Use an activity-based selling methodology to define your key selling activities. For expert recommendations based on your type of team, grab a copy of the Complete KPI Guide.
2. Real-time activity data
You can’t manage sales teams around business results like revenue or market share. But what you can manage are the day-to-day activities of your reps. And the only way to manage activities is to measure them.
Reverse-engineer your sales process to calculate activity levels needed to hit quota, then find a way to record them. Tracking sales activities allows you to ensure your team stays on pace to hit those activity goals and, as a result, achieve quota. But you can’t do this with yesterday’s reports and dashboards. Activity data must be real time and recorded instantly to ensure you can monitor and course-correct performance. Use a sales scorecard to track activities manually, or a sales activity management system to track them automatically within your CRM.
3. Proactive sales coaching sessions
Sales coaching is the best productivity investment you can make for your team. But how much time are you really spending on it? The average sales leader dedicates less than 20 percent of his time on proactive sales coaching.
Research shows that the best sales coaching happens frequently and is data-driven. Set a regular schedule for one-on-one coaching sessions either weekly or every other week. Use your real-time activity data to determine where reps are struggling and coach them accordingly. Make sure your sessions are more than just pipeline review (five topics to cover at every coaching session here).
4. Streamlined sales stack
Many sales leaders think that more technology means more revenue. But that’s a dangerous assumption. Too much sales technology can actually distract your sales team. Your sales stack must help them perform key selling activities, not create more work.
Building a sales stack this year? Take some advice from top influencers. Remember that sales software should augment your sales process, not define it. If you already have a sales stack, take some time to reevaluate which tools you actually need.
There are plenty of areas sales management can focus on this year. These four parts will help you build a strong foundation that you can add on to in the future.