Develop & Implement Effective Sales Management Strategies

How to Develop and Implement Effective Sales Management Strategies

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Sales management strategies can revitalize sales performance and significantly boost sales revenue as a result.

However, deciding which sales management processes to pursue and then actually developing the strategy to implement those processes can be difficult. Here’s some guidance to get you started:

Choosing priorities

CSO Insights recently ranked business’ top priorities for improving sales management effectiveness:
  • 1. Improve lead generation effectiveness
  • 2. Improve ability to show strategic benefit/value
  • 3. Improve ability to increase customer loyalty
  • 4. Optimize sales process
  • 5. Optimize sales rep coaching skills
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These priorities are a good start in helping decide which sales management strategies to pursue, but let’s take a closer look at each of these to assess the value of each sales operation:

Improve lead generation effectiveness

Visibility into lead performance is very valuable to 77% of companies, but only 43% do it effectively. –Aberdeen
One of the age old arguments between sales and marketing is that marketing doesn’t provide enough quality leads and sales doesn’t follow up with the leads that marketing provides. Who’s right: marketing or sales? The answer is that there is always room for improvement on both sides of the fence.
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Here are some practical steps to incorporate into a sales management strategy:

  • Develop a shared consensus and definition of qualified leads so that there’s no bickering over the quality of the leads marketing provides.
  • Implement guidelines to ensure marketing nurtures leads until they are fully ready to be engaged by sales. After all, not everyone visiting your site will be ready to buy today.
  • Integrate your marketing automation platform with your sales enablement platform for a 360 buyer view. This enhancement will provide valuable insight to both sales reps and marketing teams.
  • Develop a “dormant lead” process flow. When a lead dies off, don’t let it rot away in the CRM graveyard. Instead, provide a way for sales reps to keep the relationship alive with a steady stream of relevant, informative content so they are top of mind when the prospect is ready to return to the table.

Improve ability to show strategic benefit/value

Only 17% of existing sales employees score high on the competencies required for success in insight selling. –Harvard Business Review
Sadly, many sales reps simply don’t have the skills necessary for insight selling. Throughout the sales process, they need guidance on to how to effectively demonstrate their industry knowledge and expertise.

Here are some ways to easily guide your reps:

  • Develop buyer personas to tailor content and strategies for specific audiences.
  • Use technology to provide automated, real-time recommendations on what to say and what to send to the prospects at every step.
  • Develop and communicate messaging strategy to help sales reps convey the outcomes you solve rather than just the products you provide.
  • Teach sales reps how to ask the right questions during the sales process to uncover underlying needs and pain points.
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Improve ability to increase customer loyalty

81% of companies with strong customer experience competencies outperform their competition.Forbes
Sales reps put a lot of work into winning customers. Once you finally gain that customer, the last thing you want to do is lose it. Unfortunately, sales reps are often so focused on the next big deal, they drop their initial buyer while the ink is still wet on the contract. Your goal is to build up a huge customer base, not jump from one customer to the next, so it’s important to develop strategies to keep the customers that you win.
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Here are some methods to improve customer satisfaction:

  • Develop a customer communication process flow. Similar to the dormant leads process flow, providing that steady stream of communication (even if it’s just emailing a relevant article) is an easy task that lets your customers know you haven’t forgotten them.
  • Evaluate deal size. Sometimes it’s not smart to start big. By rolling your solution out to a smaller group at first, you can gain some quick wins while leaving room to easily expand the opportunity in the future.
  • Teach sales reps that selling isn’t about selling; it’s about developing relationships. Guide them in ways to connect with buyers during the sales process and then continue to nurture those relationships after the sale.
  • Develop a strategy to upsell new features and relevant products. It’s far easier to sell to a customer you’ve already won once than it is to sell to a new customer, and by identifying customers’ new pain points, you’re showing that you’re still committed to giving them the best solution possible.

Optimize sales process

The average engaged selling time for a sales rep is 24%, but that number jumps by as much as 15% within the first six months for companies who implement playbooks. –Alexander Group
While it’s nice to fantasize about all of your sales reps strictly following a wonderful sales process that flawlessly guides prospects to an inevitable close, it’s just that: a fantasy. Ground your sales process in reality with practical and effective tools such as playbooks and lead prioritization to keep your sales reps on track.

Here are some ways to keep your sales process optimized:

  • Use playbooks to mimic the actions of your star performers. Keep your playbooks flexible and focused on the buyer’s journey; it will pay off with more wins and be easier for your reps to follow than heavily structured sales processes.
  • Build in prioritization of opportunities so that reps can easily discern which opportunities are worth pursuing, keeping them from chasing after bad deals.
  • Centralize all the sales content into one easily accessible location. Your sales reps won’t have to spend time digging for information.
  • Enable easy collaboration with buyers by implementing private buyer portals. Your sales reps will be able to provide buyers with additional sales resources and improve the overall buying experience.
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Optimize sales rep coaching skills

Only 5% of sales managers excel at ensuring their sales reps differentiate in their offerings or establish contact with high level executives. –CSO Insights
Many sales managers were once star sales reps, so they obviously know exactly how to reproduce their own qualities and skills within the reps they oversee, right? Wrong. Being good at sales does not equal being good at management, and vice versa. For sales managers to be truly effective sales coaches, they need sales training and coaching strategies based on guidance and motivation.
 sales coaching process

Here are some ways to revitalize the sales coaching process:

  • Adopt a “one size does not fit all” mentality and develop a coaching strategy that fits the strengths and weakness of each sales rep.
  • Set up a system to track performance. By making it easy to tell at a glance which areas your reps are struggling with, you can target your coaching more effectively.
  • Coach on specific opportunities rather than providing high level tips. Generic advice is practically useless unless you teach your reps how to apply it to different situations.
  • Provide incentives for sales reps to continue learning and improving. You can give your reps all the learning opportunities possible, but if you don’t incentivize that learning, they’ll never make self-improvement a priority.

Tie it all together

Don’t let the thought of changing or implementing so many different sales management strategies worry you. A sales enablement platform puts all the resources and tools needed for effective sales management in one easily accessible location. Accent Accelerate makes it easy for your sales reps to sell, your marketers to manage and update content, and your managers to coach and guide reps.
Based on solid analytics, Accent Accelerate gives you the metrics you need to measure rep performance and gauge the effectiveness of your sales enablement initiatives. Request a Demo today to see firsthand the difference a sales enablement platform can make.
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