Sales Management: The Seven Deadly Sins

PostedOn: 2016-08-08 12:39:35

Is your sales team under-performing and unmotivated to improve? The problem might actually stem back to you, the sales manager. Let’s take a look at the seven deadly sins of sales management to pinpoint what causes problems within the sales department, and insights to grow as a sales leader. 

1. Not Empowering the Sales Team

There’s no excuse for a sales manager who lacks the drive, passion, or motivation to ignite an interest among their sales team in selling their products/services. It’s the sales manager’s job to ensure that everyone is empowered to do their best work, and to supply solutions and methods to achieve success.

Simply effective sales reps to put in more hours, put in more effort, or another general term of encouragement doesn’t actually make salespeople change their work ethic or empower them to succeed. Managers need to be able to tap into the needs of their sales team and identify paths forward, not make general statements that hold no motivation.

2. Failure to Solidify a Sales Process

A clearly-defined sales process gives your sales team the opportunity to be on the same page with one another, as well as visibility into the entire pipeline. The more transparent and open you can be with your team regarding how the sales process works, the better inclusivity will help clarify expectations and roles within the team.

Your current sales efforts appear to be lacking, go back to the sales process, and involve everyone. There’s a good chance there’s a lack of communication and transparency within the team.

3. Neglect of CRM Software

If you have customer relationship management (CRM) software but aren’t using it to its fullest potential, you’re missing out on major sales opportunities. With a high-quality CRM, you’ll be able to collect, organize, analyze, and engage with customers and prospects in a way that’s calculated, precise, and efficient.

Then there are companies who refuse to invest in a CRM solution altogether. For most businesses, there’s really no excuse. Both you and your sales team will greatly benefit from the numerous features that a CRM provides, from sales and marketing automation to QuickBooks integration, customer service functionalities, and more. It’s up to the sales manager to identify the need, communicate that need, and go from there with the right people involved in the vendor selection process.

4. Refusing to Utilize Data

You can’t accurately predict sales presentation based on intuition or a gut feeling it needs to be grounded in facts and raw data. And a minimal use of metrics won’t work either. In order to accurately forecast in sales, management needs to start by appreciating and honing in on the value of key sales metrics. When sales leaders are able to identify and utilize key figures in order to understand where sales have been and where it’s potentially headed, the team is in a comfortable position.

5. Lack of Accountability

One of the biggest mistakes a sales manager can do is allowed employees to not be held accountable for their actions (or in some cases, inactions). If you’re not actively keeping your sales team accountable for their actions, it shows them that you lack the strength necessary to lead their team, and they’ll continue bad habits or low performance.

On the flip side, rewarding strong performance is imperative to a successful, high-morale sales department. For many, they need to feel like their work efforts are appreciated and valued; by getting this helpful criticism from their sales director, they’re more willing to continue putting in a strong effort and driving results. Hold your team accountable, and reward successes.

6. Absence of Healthy Competition

Unlike a vast majority of other professions, sales professionals are almost always competitive. Successful sales leaders will use this knowledge to their advantage. Creating healthy competition and reward programs gives inducement to salespeople who need that extra push to strive for success, or simply those who have a competitive spirit and like winning.

A common mistake among sales teams is the creation of an unbalanced playing field. If you’re going to create incentive programs for salespeople, you’ll need to ensure that everyone has a fair and equal chance of winning. By doing so, you’ll be sending the message that its fair game, that anyone has a shot at high performance, regardless of position or rank within sales.

7. Disconnect Between Sales and Marketing

As most are aware, sales and marketing should always be on the same page. When they’re not, it’s a formula for a business’s failure in maintaining healthy sales and minimizing the prospect for growth within the company.

Successful sales management will encourage collaboration between the two departments by finding ways for the two to work together. This can be done through simple open communication, weekly meetings, or another collaborative measure. Teamwork between sales and marketing should be constant; if the two departments in your company are completely siloed from one another, you’re likely seeing low growth and performance.