Join Drew Boyd for an in-depth discussion in this video What is sales management?, part of Sales Management Fundamentals.
- Sales management is a comprehensive set of activities to create and manage a sales team. Think of sales management as a cyclical process. It starts by understanding the commercial marketing strategy of the firm or business unit. Marketing strategy answers key questions like: Who is our target audience? What products or services are we selling? And what must we do to convince a customer to buy? A sales manager must understand marketing strategy to be successful.
Perhaps the single most important role of the sales manager is to translate the marketing strategy into a concise, well defined sales strategy or what we'll call in this course, the sales task. The sales task defines what specific customers your team will call on, what products and services they will feature, what activities they must perform when they are in front of a customer, as well as the resources the company will provide to support them.
The sales task is a mirror image of the marketing strategy. Without it you and and your team might be working hard but for all the wrong reasons. Once the sales task is defined, every decision and every action taken by the sales manager is shaped by it. For example, the next step of the sales management process is to create a structure for your sales team. That determines how many reps you need and how you organize them. Either by account or by product line.
It depends on the sales task. Sales management is all about people. So you need to have a competent and well trained team of people who can carry out the sales task. Great sales managers spend a lot of time recruiting, hiring, training and motivating great sales people. It's the old saying, A players stay A players by hiring and developing other A players underneath them. Great sales managers hire the best and most qualified people they can afford.
Once you have a team in place as well as a pipe line of new recruits to keep your team at full strength, you need to deploy them to the front lines. Here is where you forecast what kind of sales revenues you want to achieve. Then you create for each rep their own territory and quota to do their part in the overall success of the team. Sales reps don't work for free so the sales manager needs to structure a compensation program that rewards reps for doing the right things to succeed.
Sales compensation is linked to just about every other aspect of sales management. So you need to know how this powerful tool works. Finally, sales managers measure results and they hold their teams accountable for those results. You expect what you inspect but the key is to measure the right things that link to the sales task. Ultimately, measuring sales results feeds right back into your marketing team so they can take these results, adjust the commercial strategy and start the sales management cycle all over again.
Sales management is not just patting people on the back and telling them to go out and do their best. It's a disciplined managerial process based on data and well defined processes to keep your company successful in the face of stiff competition.
- Acquiring talent
- Motivating your salespeople
- Forecasting sales performance
- Setting quotas
- Evaluating and compensating salespeople