When you think of driving business growth, what comes to mind? Launching a new product or service? Rolling out major marketing campaigns? Expanding into new regions?

What about sales?

Business success often comes down to the effectiveness of your sales team. If your sales reps can’t sell, it doesn’t matter how great your product or service is — no one’s buying it.

In order for your sales reps to be successful, they need strong sales management.

What is sales management?

“Management” may be a big word, but it breaks down into three easy-to-digest parts.

  1. Operations: Your sales operations are essentially your sales team: who they are, how they work, and how they develop their skills and gain experience.
  2. Strategy: Your sales strategy is how you sell. The “sales pipeline” is a visual representation of the different phases of your sales process. It stretches from prospecting for new leads at the beginning to closing the deal at the end.
  3. Analysis: After each sale, look at how the customer moved through the sales pipeline and identify any snags along the way. This lets you go back to your strategy, change what’s underperforming, and strengthen what’s working well.

Why is sales management important?

Without guidelines or standardized processes, your sales team can feel disjointed. If sales reps are communicating different information, logging deals in different systems, or just working on their own, their performance as a group will be inefficient.

This is where sales management comes in. Sales management adds structure to your sales process — directly benefiting everyone from your customer base to your business owner.

How to create a sales management system

So how do you manage the operations, strategy, and analytics of your sales team? Follow these steps to create an effective sales management process.

  • Get your tools: Empower your team with sales enablement tools, such as CRMs, sales intelligence, communication software, document tracking, customer support, and analytics tools.
  • Give your team structure: Creating structure in your team hierarchy helps newer employees know who to ask for help and gives senior team members the recognition they deserve.
  • Set goals: Psychologists have found that setting specific, ambitious goals boosts team performance into the 80th percentile. Give your sales reps something to strive towards with a mix of monthly, activity, win-rate, and stretch goals.
  • Don’t stop training: Great sellers keep learning. Introducing your sales team to new techniques, practices, and even new technology helps them stay on their toes.
  • Reevaluate your sales pipeline: Your pipeline needs to stay fluid if you want it to keep working. Keep your pipeline fresh by clearing out bad leads, removing points of friction, and repairing any leaks.