Rumour has it that sales managers can’t control the majority of the metrics they’re held accountable to. Does it sound familiar to you as well? Fortunately, we asked a few sales professionals for their advice for everyone who is struggling with being in charge of a sales process and leading the whole time wisely, just like you might be.
Here are our golden tips for sales managers that will eventually help you, and your team, sell more.
What should every sales manager keep in mind?
1. You’re only as good as your sales team is.
It should come as no surprise that sales managers play a vital role in the success of their teams. In case you were wondering—it’s more beneficial for the whole company to have an excellent manager leading a team of average salespeople, than having outstanding sales agents who are led by a mediocre manager. Basically, it’s the sales manager’s job to set a good example for his or her team.
In order to do so, it might be helpful to come up with a training schedule and clear guidelines that will help your sales agents follow your footsteps and sell more with time.
Gold tip number one for each sales manager is to train and improve their team on a regular basis, simply because best sales reps are not born – they’re well-trained. The training sessions should not end with the first week, they should be consistent. Not to mention that the managers should create the right process of development.
In order to teach your team on how to deal with complaints, failures, and rejections, the only thing that you need to do is to provide a plan that all of them should follow strictly. This plan will not demolish the personal approach of each member of the team to the client but would underline the most important factors that would lead to higher customer satisfaction.
Nikola Baldikov, Digital Marketing & Sales Manager at Brosix
There’s also one more issue to take into account: poor management can easily affect the team’s morale, especially if the manager wants to take all the credit. Therefore, you should make sure you don’t only train and support your sales agents, but recognise their hard work whenever applicable.
2. Time is money, whether you like it or not.
You should probably know by now that time is one of your most precious resources. As already mentioned—good sales managers make time for their teams. But it’s not only training & coaching of your sales agents that you need to find time for—most likely, as a sales manager, you should also be in charge of constantly optimising your sales process.
The key is to manage your time wisely. Don’t concentrate your efforts on trivial tasks—it might feel good after you complete them relatively fast, but they can keep you from winding up what’s more important. Exactly like process optimisation is. To give you an example: apparently, sales agents spend about 25 hours per month (which equals to roughly 15% of their time) leaving voicemails. Given that 80% of sales calls go to voicemail, and 90% of first-time voicemails are never returned—it might be a good idea to try a different sales technique instead (which we will talk about later).
If you feel like something is not right, and the sales process you have in place is not as effective as it could be—try to make even the smallest changes to avoid wasting more time. All it takes is admitting that you could be spending your time better, and doing something about it. Here are a few ideas on how to optimise your B2B sales process to get you started.
3. If you really want to sell more, think about the whole sales process differently.
Selling in the digital era requires a lot of flexibility from all sales agents out there. Remember that you’re the one who’s setting the example for your team, though. Modern customers are likely to know all sales tricks, so you need to prepare your sales reps for the constantly changing market. The best way to approach these changes is to start thinking about sales differently.
You want to sell? Drop it. Seriously. Think about it differently. No matter what, try to help the customer, not sell to them. Show them the value that your product or service will bring to their lives. Stop using words like “our product has this, this and these kinds of features” or “we’ve worked with thousands of customers already”. Who cares about that? Show them the value that comes from using your offer, what they will get from it. That’s the way to win customers and make them loyal to your brand.
Andrew Bieda, Head of Growth at Landingi.com
4. Staying ahead of your competitors is hard, which is why you should leverage technology to your advantage.
It’s not only customers who change—a proper sales process is always revolving. To stay ahead of the competition, you might want to take advantage of innovative tech solutions. Luckily, there are plenty of sales tools you can use to step up your game. And you definitely should, as giving your team the opportunity to try new things can easily increase their productivity in the long run.
Powerful CRM systems and a variety of dedicated sales tools are already within your reach. Actually, the most common set of sales tools includes CRM, social prospecting, data and list services, phone & email engagement, as well as sales cadence tools. As technology advances, though, you should stay up to date and figure out how your team can make the most of it.
5. This goes without saying, but you can’t be afraid to experiment in order to take your sales to the next level.
Sales tools are not the only thing you can experiment with. The same rule applies to different sales techniques. Yet again—if you feel like your sales process can be improved in any way, go for it. You might even want to try social selling once you’re at it.
Take advantage of LinkedIn’s organic reach to market yourself. You know what makes your leads tick, along with their typical objections – so start creating content, and observe what gets the most engagement on your feed. For example, you could challenge a competitor to a debate, host a panel with complementary services and be brutally honest. Use LinkedIn now while your organic posts still get massive organic reach, as it’s not going to last!
Mark Patchett, Founder of The Ecom Academy (T.E.A.)
If this doesn’t sound convincing enough, take into account that sales reps who incorporate social media into their sales process are said to exceed quota 23% more often. Plus, using social selling tools can increase win rates and deal size by 5% and 35%, respectively.
As a matter of fact, social selling has largely grown in popularity—and it might only be a matter of time before your competitors start taking advantage of it. Include it in your overall sales strategy now, and see how it affects your revenue.
The secret sauce of selling more is waiting for you to be discovered
As per usual, there’s no single best technique that will solve all problems and, essentially, work wonders for every sales team. The more you optimise your sales process, though, the better your results will get.
The best way to start is to make sure you have the right people and the right sales tools onboard – the rest might simply be a matter of trial and error. Follow the above-mentioned tips to have a head start!