At this point, it seems almost clichéd to compare the foundation of your sales and marketing strategy to that of your home. But it remains just as true: if you don't have the building blocks in place to anchor your sales management and keep it consistently successful, your entire marketing and sales efforts may falter.
Nobody wants that to happen, which is why regardless of your industry or the size of your business, you always need to ensure that your sales management foundation is a solid one. And to help you out in that process, here are three steps you can take to make sure your sales efforts are built on solid ground:
1. Account for All Constituents
First, a solid sales management foundation needs to make sure that all constituents that can impact individual sales efforts are accounted for. In other words, your potential customers, current customers, sales partners, and internal stakeholders - from management to individual sales agents - need to have a system in place that benefits your need.
How exactly that system looks depends greatly on your individual business. But generally speaking, it should be one in which your internal stakeholders can easily track and group sales, communicate with leads and customers, and analyze their efforts on a consistent basis. Especially if your business relies on indirect sales that require partners to bring in revenue, you absolutely need a system in which you can communicate with your partners about your customers and their sales cycle.
2. Set Up a Sales Management Framework
Once a system like the above is in place, it's time to establish a framework that guides each internal stakeholder on the strategy and interaction with individual sales leads and customers. Consider this the sales equivalent of your marketing strategy: you begin by setting up a goal with clearly measurable objectives, such as number of sales or sales conversion rate in a given time period, and then determine a variety of tactics to help reach these objectives.
Again, the exact tactics you might use depend greatly on your industry and business model. You may choose an inbound marketing approach in which you gradually nurture leads toward becoming customers, or a more personal approach in which your sales leads receive a phone call from a sales person as soon as possible. And again, indirect sales channels require their own strategy that depends greatly on your partner interactions.
Regardless of your exact tactics, you can use this framework to guide your sales agents in their prospect and customer interactions. It will allow you to more easily train new agents on your processes, and provide them with a more repeatable and consistent messaging outlet as they get in touch with potential customers.
3. Implement Limited Flexibility
Like the foundation of your home, a sales management foundation needs to have some rigidity to hold up your sales operations. But at the same time, a limited amount of flexibility is absolutely necessary to account for unforeseen events. Make the foundation too rigid, and you'll begin to see cracks in the cement — or, in the case of sales management, missed sales opportunities.
This flexibility will allow your sales agents and other internal stakeholders to adjust to individual situations as needed, which can be crucial in converting a sales lead into a revenue-generating customer. At the same time, you should also set the outer parameters of that flexibility to ensure that the consistency and repeatability remains in place.
Building a solid foundation is crucial to the success of your sales efforts. By accounting and setting up a system that benefits all constituents and establishing a sales management framework that still allows for limited flexibility, you create a sales management system that ensures consistent, repeatable messaging and success. It quite literally sets up the groundwork to help you succeed and grow your business and revenue.