Managing a sales team is no easy task, there’s no shame in admitting that.
For those who like a challenge, however, managing a sales team is one of the most rewarding, satisfying, and profitable roles in most organizations.
And frankly speaking, there has never been a better time to manage a sales team.
The technology available now makes identifying and reaching the right customers easier than it’s ever been.
As does the sales management software that enables managers to get detailed insights into customer behaviors and sales rep performance.
If you have the right mindset, leadership skills, and are willing to embrace the right software and sales intelligence, there’s nothing stopping you from continually improving on KPIs, closing sales, and making more profit.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at effective sales team managing strategies. As well as why it’s so important to manage sales teams in the right way, and how the right software can be the difference between skyrocketing sales and a deflated, underperforming sales team.
Why It’s Important to Manage a Sales Team the Right Way
This might sound obvious – and it really is – but the performance of a sales team has a direct impact on how successful a business is as a whole.
If the sales department isn’t bringing in revenue, any business is going to fold eventually.
Ultimately, the responsibility of bringing in sales doesn’t lie with the individual sales reps – it’s on the manager to bring the best out of them.
The more effective a sales manager is, the better a sales team is going to perform. It’s that simple.
Challenges Most Sales Teams Face
Here are some of the challenges most sales teams face that fall under the responsibility of a sales manager to solve:
Finding qualified leads – Finding new leads is the lifeblood of any sales team. Without a constant flow of new leads, sales are going to dry up.
Not just any leads either, it’s important to identify “warm” or qualified leads. These are leads that are likely to convert into sales with the right strategy.
Spending time on bad leads is a huge time dump. This is where sales intelligence and outreach tools come into play.
Communication – Good communication is essential in sales, both internally and externally. If reps have out-of-date information or don’t understand the selling points of their products and services, they can’t do their job properly.
Likewise, if reps aren’t able to communicate efficiently with customers in a timely fashion, they’re going to lose sales.
Motivation – Motivation is a huge productivity and performance killer in sales. This is where the outstanding managers separate themselves from the average.
Being able to motivate reps is vital to the success of any sales team. This typically means providing excellent working conditions, setting realistic goals, and using performance-related bonuses.
Automating repetitive tasks – There are always repetitive tasks where administration and clerical work are involved. Sales are no different.
Sales reps want nothing more than to spend all of their time selling and communicating with customers. Yet, a large part of their time is taken up on administrative tasks.
Something all of these challenges have in common is that they can be solved with the right sales tracking software.
If you’re looking for a software solution to streamline your sales team’s workflows, automate repetitive tasks, provide data-driven insights into customer behaviors, and find more leads, we recommend booking a demo today with SetSail.
How to Manage A Sales Team in 2021: The Ultimate Guide to Sales Management
Ready to take your sales team’s performance to the next level? Here are a handful of strategies to help you better manage and measure the performance of your sales team:
Invest in Your Sales Team and Hire the Right Reps
Building an effective sales team is no different from building a physical structure, you have to start with solid foundations.
This means hiring smart from the offset. Let’s get straight to the point, sales isn’t for everyone.
In fact, it’s not for many – and it’s really not a role someone can dip their toe into to test the water.
You need to hire people with the right personality traits to be a salesperson, the experience to enter and be part of a team, and a detailed understanding of your industry.
Training can go a long way to molding a salesperson and improving their skills and product-specific knowledge, but without the right core values, it’s going to be an uphill challenge.
Identifying the right traits and skills in someone to ensure they’re going to be a good fit for the role you’re trying to fill is an in-depth topic in itself.
It’s something to explore and invest time and money into as it’ll pay off in multiples when you make a great hire.
Invest in the Right Tech and Processes
Optimizing sales systems and processes are the backbone of any successful team or organization. And there are few departments where it’s more important than in sales.
A sales rep’s time is best spent making contact with leads, building relationships, nurturing leads, and converting customers into sales.
In an ideal world, your sales reps would be free to spend all their time working with customers and selling.
But that’s rarely the case.
In fact, it’s estimated that on average sales reps spend nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of their time on non revenue-generating activities.
This includes things like data entry, repetitive tasks, searching for information, wasting time on leads that are never going to go anywhere, and so on.
The answer to increasing productivity and freeing up more time for reps to focus on selling is introducing software, tech, and processes to take some of those tasks off their hands.
This is where software like SetSail pays for itself multiple times over. SetSail collects every interaction between sales reps and customers and turns that data into actionable insights.
This eliminates repetitive tasks and data entry. But beyond that, SetSail provides reps with insights into customer behaviors they would otherwise have never known.
Meaning not only can they spend more time selling – they’re equipped with data-driven insights to make better decisions.
Implement Strong Onboarding and Training Processes
Another part of implementing systems and processes is putting robust onboarding and training processes in place.
The numbers to back up how important these two things are speak for themselves:
- 69% of employees who receive a good onboarding experience are more likely to remain with the company for three years.
- Companies providing sales training are more likely to exceed expectations. Data show increases in sales reps achieving quotas, lower sales rep turnover, decreased ramp time, better customer experiences, and more.
The benefits far exceed the sales numbers. You’ll have happier reps that are able to share knowledge with one another, improved morale, and develop a culture based on improvement and continual development.
Motivate Your Team With Goals and Rewards
Setting goals and motivational rewards have been effective sales tactics for almost as long as selling has existed.
The psychology behind each is simple:
- Goals lay the foundation for taking action. It gives reps something to aim for, sets up small ‘wins’, and gives them a sense of achievement.
- Rewards are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It places something a rep wants that should be obtainable, but at the same time encourage them to exceed expectations.
We know how important goals and rewards are to improving sales numbers. This is why we’ve developed one of the most comprehensive leaderboards of any sales software into SetSail.
You and your reps can see exactly how many sales (or points) they’ve made in a period in real-time. As well as where they rank amongst the team, and if they’re on target to hit their goals.
You can also set monetary rewards and incentives for certain goals, or to be awarded to your top performers.
This encourages stronger individual performances and builds inter-team relationships. Reps can also communicate with each other through the platform and send words of encouragement – or whatever else comes to mind!
Be a Good Leader and Set a Good Example
There are various styles of leadership and management. Exactly how you choose to manage and lead your team will depend, for the most part, on your individual circumstances.
One thing this is consistent across almost all management styles, however, is that setting a good example and being a good leader encourages a more productive team.
As a manager, it’s your responsibility to “manage” a team under your control. There are a number of characteristics and qualities that make up a good manager but generally speaking, you need to:
- Be a good communicator
- Be a good leader
- Set a good example
It’s also important to understand the difference between managing your team and empowering them to manage themselves.
No one wants to be micromanaged. If you empower your reps through good onboarding, ongoing training, and using systems and processes as we’ve already covered, they will not need micromanaging.
Analyze Performance With Real Data
Sales intelligence and performance data play an important role in continually identifying areas where you can improve your numbers.
However, your insights and actions can only be as good as the data you’re working with. This is where SetSail gives sales teams a competitive edge with its innovative sales intelligence applications.
SetSail is the first signal-based sales software to use AI and behavioral science to turn sales data into better sales behaviors.
We provide a true end-to-end solution that enables a data-driven approach to managing sales teams.
By automatically capturing, cleansing, and pushing data in your CRM, you can gain detailed insights into how your reps are performing, and build a better picture of your customers’ behaviors.
Promote Communication and Provide Regular Feedback
Sales can feel like a lonely pursuit at times. After all, sales reps have their own leads to work with, targets to meet, and they’re doing this to provide for their families.
The truth is, however, that good communication helps everyone improve. And it starts from the top down.
There are a few layers to communication that need to be fluid:
Inter-team communication – It’s important for morale and shared knowledge that your team is able to communicate freely.
If you manage remote teams, set up a central communication platform and regular conference calls.
Manager to rep communication – Employees need to know that they can approach their manager at any time. Likewise, managers need to be able to talk to their reps about anything.
Set up regular meetings, monthly appraisals, and check-in with your reps on a regular basis. Sometimes employees need a nudge to speak up when something is bothering them, make it as easy as possible for them.
Sales rep to customer communication – A clear line of communication with customers is going to be the difference between losing and closing a deal in most industries.
SetSail helps bridge the communication gaps, both internally and externally. The key to selling is establishing a rapport with customers, identifying their needs, and presenting a solution.
SetSail tracks every detail and engagement between sales reps and customers. This gives sales reps insights into how their customers are behaving, what they’re looking for, and helps formulate personalized communications that improve relationships.
One thing we can all agree on is that running a sales team is not easy.
But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a fun and rewarding experience for everyone.
If you focus on the strategies covered in this article, you’re going to build a culture of learning, continual development, good communication, and manage a team of motivated and productive sales reps.
There may be some ups and downs along the way. But at the end of the day, this is what successful sales teams are built on – and should be the goal for all sales teams.
With a combination of the right software and a human touch, selling becomes a lot easier.