These days, remote working is the norm for many professionals, but it creates a problem for sales managers in getting the best from their team. Even if you think you know how to manage a sales team already, doing so remotely creates more challenges. However, it also affords plenty of opportunities, especially when sales process-focused videoconferencing software is invested in.
Not only can such technology be utilized to help you qualify leads, make pitches, and close deals, but it can also assist with the management of sales teams. Sales managers and directors will sometimes think that face-to-face meetings with their staff are important to be able to really look their team members in the eye. With the up-to-date systems available nowadays, though, you can get this experience in high definition over a screen.
So, what do you need to do when managing salespeople today, whether or not you will be able to be physically present with them from time to time? Read on to find out.
Prepare yourself to become a real sales manager
Determine your strategy
When you know how to manage a sales team well, you can replicate the principles involved in different territories, with different salespeople, and even within different sectors. What needs to change from team to team is the strategy, however. Commonly this will involve focusing on sales activities and removing responsibilities that detract from the key business of selling.
Work out your target audience, too. This is important when strategizing any sales plan, of course. There are plenty of digital tools to help you and your sales staff to start engaging with the right sort of people, given the professional demographic you want to market to. In other words, don't waste time on audiences which you are not 100 percent focused on!
Recruit the right people
Part of the strategy you put in place as a sales manager must necessarily be customer-oriented, of course. This doesn't mean you shouldn't pay due attention to your staff, however. Continuing with sales staff who are not performing can be good for morale in the short term, but you need to make it clear when and how results have to change.
When recruiting, look for sales experience, of course. However, don't be afraid to hire people with knowledge and experience outside of the main skills needed in your sector. A range of skillsis needed in any team, sales or otherwise. Don't simply try to replicate your top performer with every sales person you recruit, or you'll end up with a monotone team that is only good at certain things.
4 keys to manage a sales teams
1. Analyze the Right Sales Metrics
Sales is not all about sales! Although numbers are important, you cannot only judge a salesperson based on their sales at any given point, especially depending on where in the sales cycle that point may be. Instead, you need to look at a range of measurables. As well as how many deals have been closed in the last month, ask about what is in the pipeline.
A well-run sales team will have account managers with a good distribution of prospects, leads, accounts that are growing in order value, and those which are already valuable customers. Look at what your CRM is telling you here and, ideally, opt for one that is integrated with your sales metric analysis.
2. The Importance of Man Management
Okay, so some of the knowledge you need to take on board when learning how to manage a sales team is quite technical. However, in the end, most salespeople – and that include sales managers – are 'people' people. They like to interact and to work out what makes others tick, generally speaking. So, never take your eye off the ball when it comes to man -or woman – management.
Set aside times to talk about sales figures with your team individually and together. If you cannot get together for a chat over a coffee, then make time for the equivalent informal meeting online instead. Find out what is going on in your team members' lives so you are better placed to support them or to know when there might be a problem in the pipeline you need to be informed of.
3. A Sales Team Needs Training
Even experienced sales staff need to be trained. New products, new ways of working, new procedures, and new customer bases can all mean that salespeople need to be jolted out of their current methods. All other professional people undertake continuing development in their careers, so why not salespeople?
Sometimes, training in sales methods can be a chance to reflect on what is working and what is not. There again, sometimes, it will offer a more far-reaching perspective on the processes in marketing and sales that reinvigorates a sales team. Don't assume your experienced team members can't get better or will be unresponsive to training. Done well, everyone will get better at their job as a result of training.
4. Incentivizing your Salesteam to Drive Results
Finally, never forget what drives salespeople. Under-motivate them, and the drop in performance will speak for itself. Remember that financial rewards are not the only tool you have to incentivize people. Professional recognition and even extra time off can be just as rewarding to some people, so find out what makes each person tick.