Eliminating sales management bottlenecks will get your sales team meeting their goals in no time. Here are our best tips.
Say Bye to Sales Management Bottlenecks
Anyone in the sales management field knows it takes a highly systematic and strategic approach to get to those awesome performance results that every sales leader wants to achieve. As it turns out though, it only takes a few common errors to ruin the strategy and lose the battle. If a sales manager is to produce exceptional performance, it is important that some effort goes into eliminating existing and potential bottlenecks.
To get started. Let’s consider the top sales management pain points and how to eliminate each of them.
7 Tips: Eliminating Sales Management Bottlenecks
Bottleneck 1: Lack of Time Management
Sales management is one of the fastest-paced and most dynamic positions in any company. With that in mind, it is all too easy to get overwhelmed and lose focus. However, it is extremely important to stay on track and make time for the important tasks.
One of the most basic yet most effective ways to address to eliminating sales management bottlenecks related to time management is through effective planning. Creating a plan for the sales team involves setting specific goals and objectives that you want to achieve within a given time frame.
Having objectives in place in turn makes it easier to develop a game plan for its execution. Define the role of each individual on the team and make it a habit to review progress. That way, you can easily tell when someone is lagging behind so as to take action.
Bottleneck 2: Not Being Consistent
There is always a battle between sticking to the rules and letting some sales reps get away with doing things their own way. As is often the case, a sales manager will connect better with some reps and even trust them more. In turn, this could lead to a shifting of goal posts in some instances to accommodate favorites who are not keeping up or playing by the rules.
Consistency is often said to be the differentiating factor between good and great. For top sales performance, it is important to be consistent in the way you treat sales reps and in your expectations of them. Simply because the top rep is bringing in the numbers at ten times the rate of everyone else does not make them untouchable.
Everyone on the team has a responsibility to be a good employee, team player and have their activities and traits in alignment with the organization as a whole. If such a person cannot play by the rules, let him/her go as he/she will undermine morale, poison others and generally cause unnecessary divisions. Behavior and results should go hand in hand for all team members.
Bottleneck 3: Lack of Coaching
Developing and training sales reps is one of the more challenging jobs in the sales management position. As a result, a good number of sales managers make it a habit to tell reps what to do instead of teaching them. Team members are thus ill-equipped to handle challenges and work through problems.
Eliminating sales bottlenecks around sales coaching starts with making the most out of sales reps. A lot of work goes into coaching them into the team members they can be. In addition to teaching them what to do, you need to set goals for them and provide the tools they need. Avoid swooping to their rescue; rather let them handle their own issues.
Bottleneck 4: Unaligned Sales and Marketing Departments
There has always been a huge divide between the sales and marketing departments. This is a hot topic and a big part of eliminating sales management bottlenecks. If you take a big picture view, to a great extent both departments share similar objectives, but the tension between them hampers productivity. Sales teams often feel like marketers are not doing enough to create leads. On the other hand, marketers feel like sales teams are not doing enough to convert the leads they generate.
Having the two teams on a collision course makes it tough to tackle challenges together and oftentimes their efforts overlap, limiting productivity.
The sooner your sales team and marketing department align, the sooner your strategy will start to pay off and you will begin eliminating sales management bottlenecks. To get started, ensure that communication between the two departments is streamlined. This will smooth out the main hurdle in collaboration between the two teams. Make sure that everyone has access to the same information.
Check out our complete guide to help achieve your sales-marketing alignment goals: The Complete Service level Agreement (SLA) How-To Guide with Workbook
Second, create aligned objectives to motivate the teams to work together. For instance, they could join efforts in creating both marketing campaigns as well as sales strategies. Create an agreement defining the role of each player to have everyone direct their efforts into the proper activity.
Bottleneck 5: Not Stepping Back
Sales managers usually start out as sales reps and stepping out of this role into the required one also poses a challenge. If a sales manager spots a deal that sales reps seem in danger of losing, the natural reaction is to step in and save the day. However, this would be inappropriate because a sales manager’s job is to coach reps and help them develop their strategies. Part of the learning process is making mistakes. Another part is learning from mistakes. Fighting the natural tendency to make things right is a major challenge.
Create a mentor-mentee relationship with your sales reps. They need to learn from you as much as they can. But avoid the tendency to spoon-feed than and rescue them out of situations. When you feel like a rep is just about to lose a deal, draw out lessons for them so that it does not happen again.
Find ways to inspire the team, encourage quality performance and push them up with new objectives. Always provide feedback on every deal they close or lose.
Bottleneck 6: Unmotivated Sales Teams
Another part of the sales management job is motivating those under your charge. The greatest challenge in this task is trying to implement a one-size-fits-all approach. But the needs and motivating factors of sales reps vary greatly. Creating a multivariate approach that suits every individual on your team is by no means smooth sailing.
Learning the most effective approach for motivating individuals on your team takes time. For some, all you need is to dangle a carrot in the form of a bonus. While for others, getting some time off of work could be all the motivation they need.
However, take note that the carrot method is short-lived and will not have the same effect forever. If your sales reps get a monetary reward once they hit a certain target, they will come to expect it. If at any time they do not get the reward, they will become demotivated.
The best form of motivation is that which comes from within. When your sales reps are self-driven to perform, then you can be sure of consistent performance. Motivate your reps with intrinsic methods and you will be well poised for enhanced performance.
Check out our post: 10 Sales Motivation Tips to Keep You in Your A-Game
Bottleneck 7: Lack of Data Analysis
Understanding your sales data is also a part of eliminating sales management bottlenecks. Creating a data-driven strategy and analyzing available data accurately is also a major pain point. It takes time and effort to draw insights from available data. But doing so manually is at times an exercise in futility particularly when dealing with multiple metrics.
When the sales team is patiently waiting for insights, it would be the worst time to be buried in spreadsheets.
There are tools available for automating data analysis and reporting. Most businesses today make use of a CRM tool to streamline the process and handle the challenge with ease. With a CRM tool like PipelineDeals, you get access to a comprehensive set of resources for organizing, analyzing as well as presenting reports in the form of charts, graphs and maps. This makes it easy to diagnose problems in the sales pipeline, seal loopholes in processes and generally streamline your approach for optimal efficacy.
Navigating the Hurdles
Solutions for eliminating sales management bottlenecks are never one-size-fits-all. Rather, you need to keep adapting your methods to changing times as well as to the different needs of your team members. There are lots of external and internal factors to contend with but with the right approach, no object on the sales management path is insurmountable.
Keep in mind that the foundation of any of these strategies is trust. A sales manager has to work towards winning and maintaining the trust of the team placed under their charge. When they feel like you have their best interests at heart, they are more likely to respond positively.
Remember to keep engaging with the team to find out and address their concerns. And never underestimate the value of transparency. Above all, seek ways to make everyone’s job easier and more effective by automating tasks with the right tools. With these tips and tricks, you should be in a position to navigate the hurdles of sales management successfully.
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