10 Best Practices for Enterprise Sales Team Management
Sales team management plays a big role in the success of an organization. As the bridge between executives and sales reps, managers communicate corporate goals with their teams and keep reps on track to hit their quota. The weight of this responsibility increases as the size of your company grows.
For enterprise sales organizations, the sales team management process means higher quotas, bigger deals, and a longer sales cycle. It’s important for sales leaders to manage their teams effectively. To do so, they need to get to know their reps well, they must have visibility into performance and behavior data. And, the more insight they have access to, the better.
Effective management begins with the realization that you need both sales team management tools as well as reps that are well-trained and prepared for the sales floor. This is especially important knowing that more than half of reps (57%) are expected to MISS their quotas this year, according to the 2018 Salesforce State of Sales Report.
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So what can sales managers do to help their teams meet quota? Managers have realized that closing deals or having effective branding messages and website pages for generating individual sales to maximize profits no longer cuts it in today’s competitive business environment. Instead, they have to shift their focus to their sales reps–providing effective sales management strategies to promote higher returns on their sales efforts.
Nonetheless, changing the behavior and culture of the sales organization can be a very strenuous and tasking activity. Yet, when done correctly through effective sales team management, it can significantly improve overall sales performance.
The Internet is replete with conflicting information about effective methods for sales team management. Most people seem to think that when sales managers recruit top sales leaders and provide them with the right sales team management tools it will in turn translate to higher profit margins but that is not always the case. It takes a multi-pronged approach.
The managers could either inspire their teams, helping them achieve their goals or crush their morale leading to reduced profit margins. A study conducted by HBR shows that 69% of sales people who exceeded their annual quota, rated their managers as being excellent and above average.
Below are 10 of the best practices for enterprise sales team management solely geared towards sales management.
1. Build Positive Relationships with the Sales Team
The Internet has become an important tool to build customer and prospect relationships for your business with the customer. Online tools like LinkedIn provide the opportunity to extend networks and reach through each sales rep’s connections.
Reps are the best people in an organization to provide information about prospective clients because they spend the most time in conversation with them. The information they gather from their day to day prospecting and sales calls provides a detailed description of the ideal client base for an organization to tailor their marketing efforts on. They understand the concerns; questions thought processes which help generate qualified sales leads for an organization.
2. Create Flexible Sales Processes that are Functional
Poorly formulated sales processes are a great barrier for sales departments. Many sales agents have proven time again how effective the sale process is to an organization. The sales processes act as an aid to help salespeople meet set metrics, convert clients and close deals.
When you clearly outline what the sales team could gain from a process, they are more likely to develop strong sales skills by sticking to the process, rely on the guidance and close more deals.
When a well-developed process works for the organization, backed up by data from the metrics, a sales manager should provide the proof to the sales team and they are more likely to adopt and stick to a set script. The sales managers can also set clear goals as they also act as a framework for any sales process.
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Employ the Enterprise Selling Process
This is a sales process that enables sales teams to penetrate, cover and grow various large strategic accounts. It is a structured methodology that enables virtual account teams to deploy account resources to penetrate and cover all available opportunities.
The ESP uses a holistic approach to analyze a customer’s Key business drivers to identify selling opportunities throughout each business units and provides a formal process for defining value from customer’s perspective. The members of the account team learn to consider the account as a market place and determine the revenue potential.
- To prioritize and focus their efforts from their customers’ needs
- Penetrate many business units within the enterprise accounts
- Coordinate account team activities
- Analyze and execute key executive and relationships
- Understand the Sales team Individual Differences
Many sales agents may seem to portray similar personality traits but that doesn’t mean they all think and function alike. Sales people have different and unique learning styles, personalities and coaching preferences.
The sales team manager should never treat or coach the sales people the same. They should instead take individual personalities and abilities into account and adjust their management strategies according to an individual’s personality. It increases the chances of every member of the sales team performing at optimum potential.
4. Provide Regular Feedback on Sales rep Performance
Feedback is a very valuable insight in effective sales team management strategies. It lets the sales people know of their progress as well as know their strong points and areas they need to work on. Experts recommend starting on a positive note when giving feedback. They can mention at least two areas a sales agent is doing well then finish by mentioning areas they need to improve on.
The feedback provided should also be consistent. It shouldn’t just be done once and forgotten. If anything, the sales team management should create a schedule for feedback for at least once a week, even allocating personal time to each team member if need be. It will help lead your team to the right direction.
One major stimulating factor in any sales reps’ career is compensation. Xactly Incent will ensure your commission structure is optimized for your team on each and every sale.
5. Encourage Friendly Competition and Reward Winners
Friendly competition among sales team members is a very powerful strategy for boosting the team’s performance. It can improve customer service, and increase overall sales volume. Sales managers can choose a specific goal to focus on and encourage the sales team to work towards achieving that target.
Rewarding the winners of any established competition can be a powerful motivator for working harder. A good reward system involves letting the sales people pick their own rewards. It could include a spa, a lunch/dinner, treat for them, sporting event tickets, or giving them a day off.
Remember, competition creates a win/win environment, so don’t hesitate to make it fun as well. This will keep it interesting for your sales reps and even benefit your customers. When your sales reps are having fun competing in friendly office games, it will show through in their communications with your customers. And, that will then return more positive feedback and/or sales for your company.
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6. Stimulate the Learning Process
By investing in a sales team education and comprehensive training, sales managers can help their team be better equipped with necessary information about organization operations, avoiding the many common problems that affect the sales industry.
Sales managers can set a budget aside for learning materials such as books, podcasts and webinars, as well as for taking the sales team members for conferences and mentorship programs. It is important to create educational and training strategies to reinforce previously taught lessons while adding new strategies for them to continuously build their skills. It can also encourage the sales team members to take individual efforts to increase their sales knowledge base and stay ahead of the competition.
With this in mind, it’s important to remember that consumers–and the general marketplace–is continually evolving. Just as 30 or 40 years ago, sales reps could get away with using a paper and pen to keep track of sales. Well, try that with over 20 accounts and see how far you get. As a result, companies must keep up with the changing landscape and use technology to close any gaps with competitors.
7. Utilize Technology with Sales Team Management Software and Tools
One of the best ways to deploy effective sales team management practices is by using sales management software. These are software algorithms designed to help the sales people get better organized by helping them track their sales deals, manage their business contacts and manage tasks from leads to conversions with quality reports and evaluation.
Sales management software helps to collect important sales information quickly, reducing the total amount of time consumed working individually on programs such as spreadsheets. It also produces a detailed account of the sales teams’ work on various services, products, locations and customers helping an organization track the sales flow much more accurately and expediently to help achieve set targets. For instance, Xactly AlignStar offers territory mapping software to help designate efficient territories to each rep. If you don’t use software to create and design your sales territories, you are leaving money on the table.
Xactly’s territory mapping software can separate territories by population size, demographics. vertical, and more. As a result, sales reps have territories that aren’t too large where they can’t cover them effectively, and not too small where they don’t have enough opportunities to hit their targets.
8. Hold Your Sales Team Accountable
It’s always crucial to set realistic sales targets, but then, it’s just as critical to hold your sales team responsible for achieving those targets. For a company to reach its revenue goals, every sales team member must play their part. Once a target is set, a plan is put in place, a commission structure agreed upon, and the rep acknowledges the target–then, it is now up to them to meet that goal. Don’t leave room for underachievers or excuses. With Xactly Inspire, sales team management can also integrate effective coaching and onboarding to ensure every sales rep reaches their goals.
9. Manage the Sales Funnel
You certainly want the sales funnel to be moving in alignment with your company’s revenue goals, while ensuring the customer is at the right stage of their buying journey. As a result, it is critical for sales management processes to include the right tools to manage the sales funnel appropriately. This is the process that includes movement from a customer performing prospecting activities to the end result of making a purchase. And, if there isn’t movement, there won’t be sales activity.
So, it is extremely important to ensure that your reps are moving all their qualified leads at the right pace, and to the right stages of their journey. Whether the rep is calling the client, inviting them to company events, sending marketing emails and/or sending coupons–the point is, customers must be kept in contact and taken through a relevant buying journey. In addition, the sales management process should include a study of conversion ratios from one stage to the next.
10. Review Wins and Losses
Another one of the 10 best practices for enterprise sales team management includes a study of total wins and losses after each quarter. Every manager should want to convert as many leads as possible. If there are challenges in any area, then it helps to take a historical look at wins vs. losses. This helps to alert the sales management team of whether they are hitting their targets or need more assistance in a particular area.
Clearly running a sales team is never an easy task. Your general attitude towards the sales team can either inspire them to close more deals or discourage them from making any sales. Sales managers may have different methods of sales team management but the 10 practices highlighted above are utilized by some of the best organizations in the world. They can guarantee the desired returns on your sales investments.
Driving ROI: The Business Case for a Comprehensive Sales Performance Management (SPM) Solution
Hobson & Company, a research firm focused on ROI and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) studies, worked with Xactly to explore these challenges. The white paper highlights examples of operational and business benefits that can be realized with Xactly's comprehensive sales performance management solution from Xactly across sales planning, execution and optimization.