What are the activities performed in sales management?
Sales managers are the leaders of a sales team, responsible for motivating and training sellers as well as guiding their attention to the highest potential leads. At some companies, sales managers assign sales territory based on geography, while others distribute leads to a remote team.
However, the work of B2B sales managers is in a state of transformation. According to a report by McKinsey, 70% to 80% of B2B buyers prefer remote interactions with sales teams or self-service. That change in buyer behavior is requiring sales teams to collaborate more with marketing and customer support to engage leads and move them down the sales pipeline — and it’s affecting the role of sales managers too.
In this new state of sales, what are the duties and responsibilities of a sales manager? Let’s revisit some of the objectives of sales management and how modern technology is helping achieve sales performance during changing times.
What is sales management and its importance?
Sales management is important for both sellers and customers. A sales manager supports sellers in learning about the product and services being pitched and about the nuances of persuasion and networking that can help deals close. By training and upskilling the salespeople on their team, sales managers also impact the customer experience. Good sales management will extract the top performance from the sales team, ensuring sales processes align with company values and accurate messaging about the merits and ideal use cases of the product or service. This leads to better-satisfied customers and employees who feel excited to perform.
What are the five functions of sales management?
Sales management activities generally fall into five main functions:
Setting targets for performance: Traditionally, sales managers have relied on historical data and sellers’ opinion of the opportunities in the pipeline to complete sales forecasts and set goals for their team. Achieving this key function of sales management has become significantly easier, more efficient, and more accurate with the emergence of intelligent applications such as Collective[i]’s Intelligent ForecastTM, which has a neural network that draws on historical first-party data and current third-party data to give sales managers and their teams real-time, actionable targets for revenue growth.
Managing the sales process: Sales managers also help sellers on the team handle each lead in a timely and effective way. This means not only identifying the highest-quality leads but strategizing the right approach for each deal to move buyers down the pipeline. Successful sales managers in the modern B2B environment rely on their own experience, the insights of their employees, and buyer behavior insights, market data, and prescriptive analytics. C[i] RecommendsTM provides a list of daily recommended actions, news, risk alerts, and more to help each seller close deals.
Identifying top performers: Part of any manager’s job is identifying the top performers and giving them what they need to be satisfied and effective in their work. In sales, managers must also find ways to translate the best practices used by top performers into training and support for the others on the team. Intelligent InsightsTM uses machine learning to replicate the judgment of top sales performers, guiding the sellers’ attention to where their actions can make the most impact on the pipeline.
Track and visualize data: Sales managers must track sellers’ performance and visualize the data in a way that is easy to understand. This doesn’t just help employees see how the team is performing but also helps the manager report to company leadership about sales forecasts, projected revenue, and other key performance metrics for sales. Platforms like Collective[i] come with integrated dashboards that erase the effort of sales activity tracking and visualizing the pipeline or sales forecast and give sales managers their time back.
Improving efficiency: The final function of sales management, improving efficiency, is the result of successfully achieving the other goals on the list. By setting the right targets and managing the process to hit them, sales and revenue operations (RevOps) leaders often find natural steps toward efficiency. But intelligent technology is also key to driving efficiency. For example, Collective[i]’s Intelligent WriteBackTM automatically captures CRM data from sources including email, customer support chats, and social media, then cleans the data and updates the CRM automatically. This can lead teams to 15% to 20% productivity gains on average.
Simplify B2B sales activities and earn more with Collective[i]
Collective[i] uses the IntelligenceTM network — which connects people who can help each other and augments those relationships with knowledge about how buyers buy — to make B2B sales more transparent, more efficient, and more human. By automating basic functions and sharing predictions about buyer behavior, we are the sales team’s new best ally. Explore Collective[i]’s intelligent solutions today.Explore Collective[i]