The success of a business is measured by the number of products sold and, accordingly, the revenue received. Responsibility for the sales strategy’s effectiveness lies largely with sales managers. They should thoroughly know the market, work on development plans, attract new customers, and be able to work with subordinates. There are really many complex tasks for a person in such a position. In this article, you will learn which techniques and tools can help you optimize your workflow and increase the efficiency of your entire team.
Sales Manager Job Responsibilities
Let’s take a closer look at what a sales manager is responsible for. Of course, this position is directly related to sales. However, it’s just a general area in which such professionals work. They have many different responsibilities:
- compose and track sales strategy;
- hire and supervise sales reps;
- set goals and monitor their achievement;
- coach sales team;
- work with other company departments.
In this position, not only hard but also soft skills are required from an employee. It is vital to have extensive market knowledge, be able to work in a team and delegate responsibilities, constantly monitor performance using sales dashboards and regularly propose progressive changes. However, developing personal, professional skills and leadership qualities may not be enough to improve the entire department’s performance. You can take some important steps to make your team more efficient.
Why Optimize Workflows
The current situation on the market and in any of its niches is changing rapidly. Now it is not enough to develop a strategy and just stick to it. It is important to adapt to business trends, consumer needs, and competitors’ actions. That is why optimization of internal processes may be required after some time. Progressive changes in work positively affect the success of a company. If your activity is going well at the moment, it does not guarantee that it will remain in the same state in several years.
Optimization is also essential if you have already noticed negative changes in profits or sales volumes. In such a situation, it’s important to understand what exactly provoked them: the global economic crisis or the deterioration of your sales team. Advanced software allows you to conduct an in-depth assessment of everything that happened so that you can determine weak points and take appropriate measures. In general, the optimization of the sales department work should be carried out regularly to increase profits, raise conversion rates, and reduce the sales cycle and the cost of processing prospects.
How to Optimize Work Processes
There are many techniques, methods, and personal recommendations from professionals to help you on your path to optimization. In this section, we have identified five main points.
Make a plan with clear KPIs
A forward-looking plan of action should be at the heart of any business. The same applies to the development strategy of your sales department. Based on the market analysis, competitors, and target audience, you should develop clear long- and short-term goals, as well as a step-by-step plan for achieving them. Thus, all subordinates will understand what they should strive for.
The development of a plan should also include setting clear KPIs. Depending on the business, they may differ, but usually, the following indicators are characteristic of the sales department:
- the number of sales per week or month;
- transaction closing speed;
- average duration of the sales cycle;
- the cost of attracting a client;
- churn rate, and so on.
By setting a plan, goals, and KPIs, you will let your subordinates know what you expect from them. Of course, before that, you should analyze the work of an enterprise and market trends so as not to demand the impossible from employees.
Regulate and automate processes
In some companies, especially small ones or start-ups, work processes do not have a clear regulation. Employees perform tasks on a whim, as they see fit in the current situation. It is fundamentally the wrong approach. You should clearly outline what action should be next and how many calls a worker should make to a potential client to move on to the next stage. Standardizing workflows minimizes errors, helps you manage the customer lifecycle, and keeps track of bottlenecks.
As a sales manager, you and your reps should focus directly on sales. However, daily administrative or accounting issues can distract you from it. To save time on necessary but not so important tasks, you need to automate some workflows. Thanks to modern technology, you can, for example, send promotional emails and interact with prospects without the direct participation of employees.
Use analytics and reports
Advanced business solutions help analyze the team productivity and the effectiveness of each individual employee. Management dashboards include data on many criteria, such as the number of transactions, the average cost of a client, employee engagement, and so on. Advanced CRMs can also give you valuable information and insights. Not only do they allow you to keep customer and transaction records, but they also let you see the tasks completed by each rep and analyze overall engagement.
Such tools usually use various graphs and charts that visualize the collected data. It is the easiest way to analyze activity as you can immediately spot leaks, cuts, and weak points. Based on it, you can optimize teamwork.
Conduct a deep target audience assessment
Such an analysis should be carried out even before starting a business; however, to optimize work, it will not be superfluous to conduct it once more. Knowing the characteristics and needs of the target audience is the key to your success. As a sales manager, you need to create a portrait of “ideal” customers with whom long-term relationships are possible. Apart from such general characteristics as demographics, average income, and social status, you can go even further and study their habits, purchase motivations, objections, and so on.
By identifying your “ideal” consumer according to several criteria, you can understand who exactly you need. It will allow you to attract those who really need your product, which means they are ready for long-term cooperation. With this category of customers, upsales will be most successful in the future. To be productive in attracting prospects and working with leads, do not forget about the need to work with the marketing department.
Work with reps
In addition to the regulation of work processes and the use of modern software in production, an essential part of sales managers’ work is the training and support of their subordinates. Do not forget that people keep the whole business. Your actions to optimize internal processes will be useless if your employees do not have the proper skills. If you implement some new accounting system, ensure that every employee knows and understands how it works. If someone lacks qualifications, train them. Do not forget to praise and reward employees for excellent tasks performing and achieving set goals to motivate them to further work and progress.
Optimize Communication to Increase Sales
Clear mechanical actions are essential for optimizing workflows. You need to accurately understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team and use the KPI to measure its effectiveness. However, it is equally important to establish healthy communication within the department. Be open to comments and suggestions from your team, and together you can build an effective development strategy. Please share your sales manager experience. What difficulties do you face? What methods do you use to optimize processes?