To survive in any market, it is important to assess different strategies from the competition. Sales force management is one of them. After all, the sales cycle today is longer and more complex. As such, it is not enough for an employee on your sales team to call a prospect customer, pay them a visit and have a sales pitch on the tip of their tongue in order to close a deal.
The current reality calls for methods and techniques that promote long-term relationships with customers. To achieve this, it is essential for the manager to have a mindset focused on growth and who is willing to take their sales team structure to another level.
This begs the question: Is it worth having a sales force management system in your company? To find out the answer to this and to understand what sales force management is based on, all you have to do is read this post to the end!
What is sales force management?
The main objective of sales force management is to optimise the performance of the sales and marketing teams. We could even say that sales force management is a strategy to increase business sales since it also relates to performance and results.
To achieve this, plans and tactics are outlined, which include: prospecting, approaching the sale, communication, how to counter objections and closing the sale.
Through such a sales strategy, it is possible to draft plans to improve results, such as indicating that 80% of the time should be aimed at current customers and the other 20% to potential customers.
What is the purpose of sales force management?
Generally speaking, sales force management aims to promote the total satisfaction of your customer portfolio. This concept includes all the employees of an organisation who focus on achieving this goal.
Since this is not an easy goal to achieve, the professionals making up the sales management team have to be passionate and motivated, in addition to possessing a deep understanding of the company they work for.
Therefore, even in the face of such a challenging situation as the one we are currently in, customers are more demanding and better informed than ever, sparing no efforts to fulfil their objectives.
In this context, it is worth mentioning that sales management includes an engaging aspect and a holistic perspective. In other words, the sales force structure is based on a commitment to the company’s results, not just on individual success.
This is precisely why one of the most striking characteristics of companies with good sales force management is that they reduce the differences in performance among the various employees in a team.
It is also important to point out that today, sales force management consists not only of the sales team, but also the marketing department. Thus, both teams have to join forces to win and retain customers.
How to carry out sales force planning?
Good sales force management can be a key part of a company’s performance, as well as meeting its goals.
However, as with every strategy, it must be based on a complete analysis of the team’s scenario and specific attributes.
The following are our 7 tips for understanding how to plan a sales force.
1. Align the team’s purpose with that of the company
The first step in creating a sales force management plan is to establish a close relationship between the team’s objectives and those of the company. Purpose is more than a motivating word, it’s what actually drives and inspires an attitude.
Therefore, a sales force that feels moved and driven by the same principles as the company tends to work in a more assertive and balanced way.
Aligning with the company’s objectives can happen in various ways. These include:
- periodic meetings with the team;
- constant feedback routines;
- external and motivational events;
- acknowledging the best practices.
2. Plan the focal points of sales force actions
Next, it is time to exercise the holistic perspective of the sales force manager in order to understand what the team can offer to the business.
To do so, we recommend dividing the into stages and understanding the focus of each stage. What is the expected result after prospecting? What should the team focus on in the nutrition stage – offering quality content or strengthening the relationship with the customer? (Remember that, in this case, choosing the right focus can help bring about other positive results as a consequence).
3. Leverage and develop what sets the team apart
By understanding the focal points of the commercial process, it is possible to proceed to the 3rd phase of sales force management planning. Now it is time to direct efforts to each of the stages, taking into account the skills and elements which differentiate the team.
Remember that in a highly competitive context, it is important for the prospecting, sales, marketing, after sales and customer success teams to be differentiated. After all, a good customer experience is defined, above all, by the ability to go beyond the Wow Factor, causing the customer to really feel satisfied and happy.
Therefore, it is up to the sales manager to make an accurate assessment of the potential distinguishing attributes and skills of the team, both from general and specific points of view.
You have to ask yourself: What is your team’s greatest skill? In this case, we can find answers such as the humanisation of processes, technological aptitude, a streamlined sales funnel or assertive negotiations.
The important thing is to know how to identify what makes your team different and to leverage this to differentiate the service offered. If humanisation is already the team’s strong point, how can your sales force use this skill to create a truly unforgettable shopping experience?
4. Develop in-depth knowledge of the product or service sold
No sales force planning can be successful if the team doesn’t know the product or service sold like the back of their hand.
The essence of a good sale is the level of connection between the sellers and the solution offered. Therefore, make sure that you include training modules, improvements and updates on the product or service offered at the company as part of your sales force management.
5. Teach how to sell value, not a product
According to marketing guru Philip Kotler, value for the customer depends on creating genuine reasons for them to choose to consume a product or service.
Kotler also points out that, when looking for a solution in sales, the customer is rarely interested in a product or service, but rather in its added value.
Therefore, it is up to the sales teams to understand this value and to leverage strategies to enhance it.
For example, when selling a shoe, you offer much more than just a shoe. In addition to the shopping experience, the following are also part of the portfolio of added value:
- Conditions of the transaction;
- Logistic circumstances;
- The time invested;
- The effort to achieve their goal.
It is common to find definitions that link value for the customer solely to marketing efforts, but the truth is that this is a construction which entails the entire sales force.
6. Set goals effectively
By now, you have surely realised how complex sales force management can be, correct? We are talking about a sector that is essential for the success of a company, and this is why internal goals and objectives need to be developed intelligently.
There shouldn’t be any unreachable or unrealistic goals. In addition to not being practical, they can have a negative impact by destabilising and demotivating the team.
Instead, how about setting SMART goals? By definition, SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.
7. Use data as your ally
“Data is the new oil”. This sentence, published in an article in The Economist, shows the impact of strategic data management on organisations. The statement reinforces how much obtaining and knowing how to manage customer data contributes to the success of a business.
When it comes to customer service, data proves to be a most valuable resource. The Zendesk CX Trends Report shows that companies that use more data, which are defined as the top 25% in data management compared to other similar companies, have 36% faster resolutions and a 79% reduction in customer waiting time, while resolving four times as many customer requests.
Is it clear now how data-based management can influence the effectiveness of the service offered throughout the customer’s purchase experience?
Sales force solution: learn about the CRM, sales management system and the relationship with the customer
If, after reading the previous topic, you feel that managing the sales force is more complex than you imagined, then we have good news.
Fortunately, the market offers sales force solutions to help make essential stages of the management process more fluid, integrated and technological.
This is becoming a possible reality for more and more companies. According to the Zendesk Repo mentioned above, four out of five managers plan to invest in additional technologies and applications soon. To give you a better idea of what this represents, sales force management systems alone should grow by up to 62%!
How does the sales CRM work?
The sales CRM, a customer relationship management system, is a strong ally when it comes to sales force management. It is a technological solution that strengthens and complements the team’s actions by integrating processes and simplifying the personalised visualisation of the customer’s purchase journey.
In addition, this system automates the different stages of the sales process, facilitates the routines of a business, improves the customer-company relationship and simplifies the lives of internal customers.
This is because it allows your employees to access real-time information on prices and to communicate with other departments to negotiate more attractive terms and conditions. This system also includes the order process.
Benefits of a sales management system
A sales management system has relevant benefits. Find out more below.
1. It improves internal communication
By recording all of the customer’s information, the system integrates all of the company’s departments. It also facilitates communication between areas, such as the marketing and sales sectors.
2. It improves customer satisfaction
Because it contains all of the customers’ history, it is possible to quickly access and understand their problems and concerns. This makes it possible to offer solutions with speed and efficiency, which are essential aspects for creating a great experience.
3. It boosts sales
A sales force system boosts sales because in addition to promoting a better experience for customers, it also provides your team with meaningful information, such as the products most purchased by customers.
In this way, your team will be able to propose solutions and services that are aligned with the buyer’s profile, thus boosting the sales of your business.
4. It strengthens sales force management
Because this system produces inputs on productivity and sales forces, the sales force management leader is able to verify that actions are being implemented successfully, as well as analysing the team’s performance.
This provides the leader with a complete overview of the area, thus making it more efficient to set goals and establish plausible results, as well as improving the fulfilment of sales force management goals.
5. It optimises time
Because this system automates tasks and actions, your team can immediately access important data. This prevents wasting time when searching for information, thus making it possible to resolve any customer concerns more quickly.
As you can see in this post, having engaged employees who promote your brand can be a competitive advantage, as well as having a system that strengthens your actions and improves your customers’ experience.
Find out about the Zendesk solution for sales force management
There are excellent options on the market that can help your company handle this issue, including Zendesk Sell, a Zendesk solution that allows your team to remain focused on opportunities without worrying about intimidating rates.
This system concentrates several tasks in one place, such as making calls, scheduling meetings and viewing sales histories. It also has smart lists, which allow your team to filter calls and opportunities in real time.
With Zendesk Sell you can create and manage a pipeline that matches your business goals, keep your teams informed and aligned and, thus, offer efficient customer service. To find out if Zendesk Sell makes sense for your business, just contact one of our consultants or ask for a free trial.