Sales Managers are, through the sales reps, responsible for implementing the sales strategy and reaching sales targets. However, according to our experience, the Sales Manager is often the forgotten role in executing strategies, plans and initiatives in the sales organization.
Training is most often targeting the sales reps, as is follow up on objectives. For instance, it is more the rule than not that the Sales Director evaluates the outcome and the activities of the sales reps, not of the Sales Managers. In fact, it is the Sales Manager who should ensure that sales reps perform the necessary activities to reach their individual sales targets, i.e. have sufficiently high Quantity in the activities, that they meet the relevant customers, segments, companies and contacts (that is the Direction of the activities), and that they have a high impact and Quality in their activities.
To ensure that sales reps reach their objectives, the sales manager need to perform certain activities and tasks, among these joint visits, team meetings, trainings, or coaching. Not performing these sales leadership activities means not managing his or her sales reps, and the outcome becomes worse, it is increasingly difficult to take corrective actions, forecast is of poor quality and so on. And if these activities are not defined and made into objectives, the Sales Director has a difficult job identifying where the problem is. In most organizations, sales efficiency would increase significantly if sales management where focused and developed better.
Based on research and more than 15 years of sales management projects in large international organizations, 3S has identified which activities and related tools that sales managers have at their disposal to manage their sales force efficiently. The tools may vary between different industries, but the following 10 tools are among the most important for most industries:
- Regular (ie monthly) performance reviews
- Regular (e.g. every 6 weeks with each sales rep) joint visits
- Regular (ie monthly) Sales team meetings
- Customer planning
- Introduction of new sales reps
- Sales pattern
- Work pattern
- Training and development
- Sales and market planning
- Job description
Looking at your own sales organization:
- How many of these tools are your sales managers using on a regular basis?
- Is the usage pattern of these tools based on a structured analysis and the strategy at hand?
- And how many of these tools are made into objectives, measured and followed-up?
In most companies few of these tools are used, to a little extent and with too low quality. To learn more about sales management and professional tools and how they will help you boost sales, please contact 3S, our Sales Management practice manager Niklas Lagerblad: firstname.lastname@example.org or +34 628 08 09 05.