Managing Your Sales Force: 6 Keys to Tuning Up Your Sales Force

At the heart of every small business is sales. No matter what type of business you have, if your sales team’s strategy is lacking, you’ll find it difficult to be successful.

Managing your sales force is a full time job. Your sales force needs to be up-to-date on market trends and customer needs. Many small businesses get help from technology, like CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) to help them manage the sales process.

However, there is no technological substitute for the leadership qualities that are required for effective sales management.

Know Your Objectives

While you as a small business owner are sure to know your business objectives, and can present it effectively to your customers, can the same be said about your sales force? Your business objectives will change with time, especially if your business operates in fast-paced or volatile markets.

When it comes to your business objectives, make sure that your sales team is the first people that know about any changes, revisions or updates, as they are the ones that are responsible for making sure that the processing they are using will be effective.

Collaborate on Differentiation

Differentiation is usually perceived as the marketing team’s job. In actuality, this job should be a shared responsibility between the sales and marketing teams. The whole idea is to make sales at the prices that are good for your business.

The benchmark used for differentiation is always changing. Something that is “hot” today may be completely outdated tomorrow. It is very important to keep reviewing the benchmark for differentiation to always stay ahead. Differentiation cannot always be carried out by the marketing team alone – it needs to be done in partnership with the sales team as well.

Know Your Customers

When it comes to effective sales, there was never a truer statement than ‘you’re your customers’. To this end, your small business should keep an internal profile on each customer (or prospect). The customer profile is a document will chart out the buying habits and personal details of each particular customer, making it easier for your sales force to sell effectively to each one.

Your sales team should also have a ‘master profile’ – a profile of the ideal customer for your business. This way, every member of the sales team will fully understand, your business’ target market, which will help them channel their energies more effectively.

This profile will also change along with the conditions affecting your business; therefore, it is important to keep the sales team updated.

Be Consistent

It is very important to have a unified approach when it comes to sales and marketing. The sales people, marketing people, and all members of the marketing campaign should have the same goals.

You can have a new campaign that the sales team is following aggressively, but if your promotional material, web site, banners, and other official company collateral aren’t in line, you will lose a lot of time and resources. Your employees will also become frustrated – especially the sales team.

Track Sales Performance

Most small business owners love doing this, as sales performance is very easy to calculate and compare. However, most small business owners make the mistake of only looking at the revenue and growth figures, paying little attention to quality.

The sales process itself should be subject to study, and if you find that a salesperson is underperforming, or deviating from the sales strategy, you’ll need to retrain them.

It is a good idea to figure on upgrading the bottom 20% of the sales team, at least on a quarterly basis.

Conduct Pipeline Analysis

Again here, there is the standoff between the quantity and the quality of leads in the pipeline. Most of the time, small business owners want to have larger sales figures than the small amount of quality leads is likely to yield. There should be a good balance between quality and quantity of leads – and as a small business owner, you need to stress quality, rather than quantity of leads.

When it comes to your small business, sales is king. By following the tips above, you’ll keep your sales team’s fire alive and sales figures high!

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