As a business owner or sales manager, the success of your company lays in your hands. Your sales force, no matter the size, is your responsibility, and should always be your first priority. The success of your company, its future and the security of its employees depend on competent sales leadership. It’s important that you let your expectations be known, and more importantly make your expectations part of your sales process. When we talk about expectations, this isn’t just about making a monthly or annual sales quota, this is about following a variety of daily, weekly and even monthly disciplines that will help you, the sales manager, have clarity into your team’s sales activity, at all times.
Getting your sales reps to follow your instruction and include your processes as part of their sales routine will strengthen your sales force, ensure consistency with your sales data, and make analyzing your sales data an intuitive and more accurate process. You can make adjustments to your process from time to time to accommodate evolving markets and new technologies, but always be consistent. Your expectations should apply to everyone and everyone should meet your expectations.
Of the thousands of companies that we’ve served and worked with since 2009, those who have been successful and grew in annual revenue were the ones who were disciplined in their sales management processes and had consistent expectations of their sales teams throughout their organizations. Those companies that saw either zero or negative growth had no centralized sales processes at all and were managed by undisciplined sales leaders. In the end, they paid the price.
If you’re looking to build a solid foundation to nurture a world-class sales team, then the following are best practices consistently used by successful sales organizations.
Be a leader, not a friend
One of the most important responsibilities of a sales manager is the ability and willingness to assist their sales team whenever asked or whenever you feel is necessary. Whether you’re assisting with pricing, participating on a sales call, discussing strategy, helping reps get back on track during tougher months, the sales manager is a leader, and successful leaders support their teams. While it’s natural to form relationships with your reps, their first duty is to produce for the company and the sales manager’s priority is always keeping that top-of-mind. Everyone deserves help, so be a mentor, and support them when they need it. Don’t let friendship get in the way of making tough decisions. Be a leader first.
Set goals for your sales team
We’ve all heard you can’t manage what you can’t measure. This begins with establishing reasonable and precise sales goals for your sales reps to achieve on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis. Setting goals gives something everyone can work towards. Sales reps have a target to meet and sales managers know when to step in and help their reps when they spot any struggles or shortcomings within their team. Establishing sales goals is a key component of your sales matrix, and regardless of if they are being met consistently, it’s the number one criteria every sales leader should pay attention to.
Have weekly sales meetings
Hold a sales meeting every Monday morning. This will help you accomplish a few important things. First, it will add discipline, structure, and accountability to your sales process. Having a sales meeting consistently reminds your reps of their responsibilities and is helpful for keeping them in tune with their own sales activity. By simply talking about their activity with their sales manager on a weekly basis, the likelihood of opportunities falling through the cracks becomes fewer, resulting in a more natural flow within your company’s sales funnel. Second, the discipline and consistency of a regular sales meeting will ensure that your sales rep’s activity will remain current and up to date. Get your reps in the habit of updating their opportunities in their CRM prior to your sales meeting. This will make your meetings more efficient and productive. Good opportunity management is a key component to successful sales management.
Run Reports – Weekly!
Pay attention! Just like paying attention while driving can prevent a fatality, you need to stay on top of your sales activity and forecast accordingly so you can make the necessary adjustments or take action. Whether you’re looking at KPI Dashboards or running reports, stay on top of your data. Running reports regularly can help you spot trends, gains, and losses in different areas. A good sales manager can use this data to tap into new territories or quickly shift from failing ones. Include all or some of your reports in your weekly sales meetings. This will help your reps understand the information that’s more vital to your analytics and decision-making processes, so they can be more disciplined in keeping this data accurate and current.
Routinely review sales activity
Whether at a glance or in a report, stay on top of your team’s sales activity to make sure everyone has consistent momentum or updates with each opportunity. A CRM will offer a centralized location that makes staying on top of sales easy and practical. CRMs can include event notes, calendar appointments, emails, next follow-ups and so much more. Having sales reps keep their opportunity records up to date with the latest activity will not only help them remember where they last left off when interacting with their prospects (which is especially useful when dealing with a high volume of opportunities or longer sales cycles), but it will also give sales managers real-time insights. Regularly reviewing your team’s activity will also help you prepare for your upcoming weekly sales meeting, yet another way you can optimize your meeting time.
A well-organized sales process and sales team require discipline. But like every sustainable regimen the results can be rewarding and in this case, profitable. Adding structure and discipline (in the right areas) can provide you with a healthy foundation for sales success. If you’re looking for a CRM that can help you achieve your sales management goals, check out Mothernode CRM and request a demo.