Effective Sales Management – The Formula

Man leading a sales team meeting in a modern workspace

It’s a fact – salespeople can be hard to manage. If you know me, you know I like to say that they are a unique combination of independent and needy. This drives some management types crazy.

Being a highly effective sales manager is a tough job. How do you know if you or your sales manager are effective? Great sales managers thrive on getting results via other people – their sales team members. They know how to motivate their team and get out of their way.

For those who haven’t cracked that code yet, in this blog I’ll outline how to get the most out of your sales team with a proven management process and cadence. I’ll also review why being or having a highly effective sales manager is critical to achieving a company’s growth goals.

Effective Sales Management Framework

Before diving into the more detailed, actionable steps, it’s important to understand the general framework. Here is the basic four-step formula for effective sales management:

  1. Do the math: What are you aiming towards? You have to know where you are going in order to get there. To start, you need an annual revenue objective and individual salesperson objectives.
  2. Arm the troops: You can’t execute without the proper tools and preparation. Create your sales playbook: a written sales process, a defined ideal customer profile, qualifying questions, sales tools, and materials to support the sales conversation, sales messaging, sales enablement technology (CRM), and a lead generation strategy.
  3. Hold on loosely: Manage the day-to-day sales activities with a consistent meeting cadence and a focus on the results. It’s no secret that micromanagement will only stifle creativity, hinder autonomy, and ultimately impede the productivity and morale of your sales team.
  4. Coach up or out: Assess your team. Can they do it and do they want it? Provide support for those who demonstrate ambition and commitment to growth, then address any misalignment promptly to maintain team cohesion and success.

Putting It into Action

Now that you know the basic formula, let’s look at some specific actions you can take for each step.

1. Do the math:

  • Create clear and obtainable sales objectives.
  • Use thoughtful compensation plans to motivate and illustrate how much your team can make when they deliver the results you want.
  • Provide visibility into how they are tracking against their objectives.

2. Arm the troops:

  • Set up a CRM. They’re great for organizing sales activities, providing sales pipeline reporting and visibility, and automating sales outreach.
  • Help them stay in their lanes with clear ideal customer targets and qualifying questions.
  • Help them position the company competitively with compelling sales messaging that is consistent across print and digital media.

3. Hold on loosely:

  • Hold 30-minute weekly 1:1’s with each salesperson. Use this time to help them overcome obstacles and get deals unstuck.
  • Hold monthly team meetings to align, equip, and energize the team.
  • Manage individuals, not just teams. Know what makes each one tick and play to their strengths.
  • Champion sales within the organization and do your part to help the company prepare for growth.
  • Celebrate the wins.

4. Coach up or out:

  • Hire right. Hire for past performance and cultural fit.
  • Roles and responsibilities must match behaviors. Every salesperson is wired differently.
  • Empower your best salespeople to sell more by freeing up their non-sales activities time.
  • Empower the low performers to help themselves and then move on if they can’t.

The Impact of Effective Sales Management

Being or having a highly effective sales manager is critical to a growth-oriented company’s success. Once you adopt this sales management framework and process, you or your sales manager will be equipped to lead a higher-performing sales team, leading to:

  1. Predictable and sustained increased revenues: A successful sales team translates to more deals closed and more products or services sold.
  2. Higher win rates: A successful team closes deals more efficiently, reducing the number of resources needed to convert a single lead.
  3. Less turnover in the sales department: High performers will stay.

Want to learn more? I highly recommend: Sales Management Simplified by Mike Weinberg, The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results From Your Sales Team. Or give me a call.