Managing a sales team can be challenging.
Sales managers are responsible for a range of diverse tasks, including managing a sales pipeline, coaching their team, forecasting, hiring new sales representatives, strategic planning, and sales administration.
Additionally, managers are held accountable for hitting sales quotas and responsible for a target list of accounts. Not to mention dealing with a variety of independent and strong willed salespeople who establish their own process with little to no daily contact with their managers.
With all of this in mind, we want to help make your job easier, so here are three things to focus your seller’s attention on:
Every year, salespeople are presented with new challenges. The challenge of selling in a more competitive marketplace, hitting a higher quota or goal, and all the while gaining more responsibilities.
As a manager, your job is to enable your seller’s success through coaching and support.
The first step is helping your sellers identify what metrics they should be tracking.
For example, each rep should know how many:
- Open opportunities are in their pipeline
- Closed opportunities (both won and lost)
- Average deal size
- Average sales cycle length
Once you’ve determined the key performance indicators important to you and your team, then you can create a dashboard that tracks and measures progress against these metrics.
Your dashboard can be as simple as using the CRM you already have in place, or creating a separate spreadsheet to track everything outside of the CRM. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s a platform your team can easily and consistently update.
When you have an understanding and baseline of your performance, it’s much easier to reverse engineer what it will take to hit your new quota or goals.
The First ConversationThe first meeting or the first conversation with a prospect is a crucial point in the sales process. It can either make or break the deal, which is why it’s vital to your sales team’s success.
You need to help your sellers strategize the first meeting in terms of:
- Have you done your research? What do you know about the company/industry/person your meeting with?
- What’s the goal of the meeting? (from their perspective and from ours)
- What is this prospect trying to accomplish?
- What do we need to learn? (Budget, timing, authority, etc.) What questions to ask?
- Does our solution fit their needs?
- What’s our next steps?
When you encourage your sellers to prepare for and consider in advance what the first meeting will look like, your reps will increase their confidence and ability to start the right conversation that leads to having a great first meeting.
Is it Worth It?
As a manager, you need to help your sellers prioritize their time and understand the difference between opportunities worth pursuing vs. dead end leads. To do this, analyze and refine your qualifying criteria.
Qualifying is one of the most important conversations a salesperson can have with their prospect. This is where you learn whether the prospect is a good fit for your solution and if it makes sense to move forward together, or go your separate ways.
HubSpot has put together this comprehensive guide that will take you step-by-step through the fundamentals of qualification, five different frameworks you can use, how disqualification works, and conversational tip-offs to listen for.
As you work with your salespeople, help them establish a measurement mindset in order to track their progress, emphasize the importance of the first meeting, and finally, work with your team to assess and refine your qualifying questions and criteria in order to maximize time spent with the right opportunities.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.