Sales management

Sales management

Importance of sales management is critical for any commercial organization. Expanding business is not possible without increasing sales volumes, and effective sales management goal is to organize sales team work in such a manner that ensures a growing flow of regular customers and increasing amount of sales.

ales Management Process

The four phase-model of Management Process

# Conception
# Planning
# Execution
# Control

This model is cyclical, so it is a constant/continuous process.

ales Planning

Unfortunately, when the business is growing, customers need more products, service and customization, this individual activity oriented approach can become a barrier for sales to grow because unfocused and uncoordinated activity decreases effectiveness. Your sales department must be reorganized, and sales people should specialize and co-operate with each other as well as other departments of your company.Poor team sales management leads to losing orders and customers so it is better to introduce a sales planning system as soon as possible. Appropriate software will help sales team leader to set sales goals which will motivate sales personnel (estimated sales volumes should grow steadily from period to period despite the seasonal variations of demand because decreasing estimated sales volumes discourages sales managers).

After setting sales goals, salespersons’ activities should be planned by regions, clients, channels, managers, products etc. Sales team leader or sales department head should choose volume and operational metrics to evaluate sales managers' effectiveness and to motivate them from achieved result.While planning it is important to consider market potential and structure, company's strengths and weaknesses, customer relations history, etc. that's why sales planning software must be able to store all sales-related information and allow a flexible searching, filtering, grouping and showing statistics (i.e. flexible customer, task and order forms, calculated fields, tables, schedules and charts).It is a good practice to let sales managers describe how he or she will execute assigned sales tasks to check his or her motivation to get things done. So the software for sales planning should allow breaking a task down into to do items with possibility to set such parameters as time, resources and measured results. It enables tracking intermediate and final results, sales force effectiveness and sales plans accomplishment.

ales Tracking

Sales tracking is an integral part of sales management. Without tracking sales tasks it is hard to find out if everything goes right and estimated intermediate results are achieved in time and in the limits of expected resources.If anything is out of expected range, you can analyze the details, talk to a sales manager responsible for this task and take corrective actions.

Sales Tracking tracks selling activities as opposed to Revenue Tracking which focuses on tracking the progress of forecast opportunities. The most difficult part of tracking selling activities is knowing if the activities will actually lead to sales. Management must have a method of knowing if sales reps are correctly engaging in enough of the right activities to produce revenue in the future. This leads to three key metrics: the right activities, the right way, the right amount. An individual sale is a stepwise process and key activities, or “Transitional Milestones”, must be achieved along the way. Sales Management must collect data on how the sales function as a whole is progressing through these “Transitional Milestones” to determine the likelihood of future revenue. [cite web |title= Free download of Wayne Gillikin (2007), Tracking the Hunter: The Protean Methods Pipeline Development Process |publisher= |url= |accessdate=2008-02-20 ]

Software used for sales tracking should allow sales team leaders to control sales tasks completion by using reminders and notifications, highlighting overdue tasks, analyzing task history, etc.

If your sales task management system is really great and duly implemented, you are informed about all details of your company’s sales process in real time and know who does what, when, and how.

ales Reporting

The sales reporting includes the key performance indicators of the sales force.

The KPI indicate whether or not the sales process achieves the results as set forth in the sales planning and enables the sales managers to take corrective action in time in case the indicators deviate from the projected values.

More process than result related is information on the sales funnel and the hit rate

In addition, sales reporting is a source for motivating sales managers, because awarding best managers without accurate and reliable sales reports is not objective.

Also, sales reports are made not only for internal use or top management. If other divisions’ compensation plan depends on final results, it’s needed to present results of sales department’s work to other departments.

Finally, sales reports are required for investors, partners and government, so the sales management system should have advanced reporting capabilities to satisfy needs of different target audiences and help sales force to be more effective and make more sales.

Actual Sales Management Challenges

Managing sales is not difficult while a company is small, customer count and sales persons count are limited, and sales process is simple and transparent. However, when sales start to grow, companies understand that it is very hard to manage enlarged sales workflow as effectively as they did before.Managing increased sales volumes is more difficult because sales management process becomes more complicated and sales department has to deal with all aspects of the process. Not only the number of sales tasks grows but also grows the number of regions, customers and products. It is almost impossible for salespersons to handle with sales grows without a special system for planning, tracking, analyzing, reporting, and controlling all aspects of sales activity, projects and tasks.

Effective Sales Management Solutions

Sales management system helps sales departments to organize sales process details, find potential bottlenecks, discover new opportunities and strategic advantages, save cost and time, etc. The system should provide clear vision of what salespersons did yesterday, what they are doing now and what they will do tomorrow. Many companies have already implemented sales project and task management on the basis of appropriate software. Now it’s time to benchmark their best practice for all the rest organizations.

ales Management Software

Sales project and task management software helps sales departments develop comprehensive, prioritized sales plans, track their completion and create real-time reports. Implementing a centralized sales data management leads to better understanding of sales tasks and how they rely on sales strategy, their priorities and status, new ways of sales growth and new sources of motivation from achieved results.

Notes and references

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