What is sales management?
Sales management encompasses the planning, management and controlling of all sales activities in a company. Sales management is derived from the corporate strategy and is essentially responsible for whether set sales targets are achieved or not.
Specifically, sales management determines prices, discounts, sales quantities, sales measures and the use of resources in such a way that the goals defined within the framework of strategic planning are achieved. This makes sales management a central driver of corporate success.
Benefits of sales management
Systematic sales management brings a number of benefits. Due to the direct proximity to the customer business, the benefits of good sales management are usually quickly felt in a company’s market- and financial-related key performance indicators (KPIs).
By planning their day-to-day sales activities well, employees can do their jobs more efficiently. This improves sales profitability and accelerates cash flow.
Greater customer satisfaction
A well-organised sales force spends less time on administrative tasks and more time on customer care. The difference can be seen in customer satisfaction.
Productive sales staff and satisfied customers lead to more sales opportunities. This is an ideal starting point for increasing turnover and more success in the market.
Tasks in sales management
Sales management includes a variety of individual fields of activity, e.g.
- Sales strategy
- Operational planning
- Staff management
- Further training
Those responsible therefore need strong planning and analytical skills, extensive experience in sales, intimate knowledge of markets and customers, and a knack for motivating and leading staff. Their success is measured by whether the target figures agreed upon in the sales strategy with the management are achieved.
To meet this requirement profile, many companies (especially in competitive market environments) rely on CRM software. It supports sales managers in their work and is a valuable tool for the sales field and office staff.
Three stages for successful sales management
The individual fields of activity in sales management can be grouped into three main areas. They are regularly passed through anew and thus form a cycle.
In the following, we will show you helpful tips and tricks for the individual steps of sales management. And you will learn how you can efficiently design your sales processes with the projectfacts software.
1. Sales planning
The result of sales planning is the operational sales plan. It indicates which employees are responsible for which tasks and in what form. The development of the sales plan is preceded by a customer typology, which helps the sales management to distribute tasks as precisely as possible.
Understanding customer types
Every customer is different, which means your sales plan must be flexible. Ideally, you have a suitable sales concept for each customer type, with which you …
- respond to the customer in the most needs-oriented way possible,
- achieve your sales goals as effectively as possible.
That is the basic idea of “Adaptive Selling”. Companies that flexibly adapt their sales to different types of buyers are demonstrably more successful. A basic but frequently used typology distinguishes between two dimensions:
- Determination (striving to exercise power and control).
- Emotionality (readiness for relationships and emotions).
Four buyer types and corresponding sales recommendations can be derived from this:
The conflict-averse tend to be risk-averse, relatively sensitive and avoid any form of conflict. They shy away from decisions, but appreciate a friendly connection with the seller.
- Give guarantees
- Carefully persuade people to make a decision
- Arguing about emotions
- Find another decision maker
The expressive ones are rather casual in their manners, but always friendly and prefer informal contact. A certain sympathy towards the salesperson is important to them.
- Create a personal connection
- Use creative sales techniques
- Refer to references
The analytical act cautiously and thoughtfully. They are fact-oriented and prefer to solve problems analytically. For the purchase decision, they take their time until all reservations have been resolved.
- Convince with data and facts
- Make detailed offers
- Make comparisons with competing products
The tough ones quickly take the initiative and do not shy away from confrontation. In their dealings they are dominant, ambitious and proactive. As a rule, they make their decisions very quickly.
- Emphasise benefits and profitability
- Argue clearly and objectively
- Pay attention to concise and formal interaction
In order to deal successfully with different types of buyers, it is important to entrust the right sales staff with customer acquisition. An overview of the social skills of your sales staff helps you to do this.
With the projectfacts software, you can store individual skills and competencies of your sales staff in the digital employee file. These can also be evaluated on a scale. Conversely, you can filter specifically for certain competencies. This way, you will always find a suitable contact person for every type of buyer.
Using key account managers effectively
Just as important as having a suitable contact person for the customer is retaining that contact person throughout the duration of the customer relationship. Numerous studies show that trust in the supplier is often a central reason for buying.
Especially in B2B business, this trust is transferred from the account manager to the company. If the person of trust falls away, the business relationship also suffers. This is to be prevented by the principle of “one face to the customer”. Customers always have contact with a central contact person, usually their key account manager.
In a sales management software like projectfacts, the idea of key account management runs through the entire process logic. The following graphic shows an example of how you can consistently use key account managers in new and existing customer care.
Key account managers are integrated into all customer-related processes from the very beginning. They accompany their accounts throughout the entire customer journey. This manifests itself on many levels:
- The responsible key account manager is immediately recognisable in case of incoming communication (mail, telephone) and can take over.
- The key account manager has an overview of all the customer’s documents: Offers, orders, invoices, etc.
- All transactions with a customer (appointments, projects, tickets, etc.) are automatically documented and clearly summarised for the key account manager.
- Authorisations can be set individually for key account managers so that there is no cross-supervision.
2. Sales control
Sales management deals with the operational management of sales activities. It provides guidelines for the daily sales work and creates mechanisms that structure the work processes and automate them as much as possible. Especially in sales management, intelligent software is often a great help.
Company surveys have shown that managers expect a noticeable increase in efficiency from a software solution. However, you will only achieve such added value if you analyse and optimise existing processes before mapping them digitally. The guiding principle applies:
A bad analogue process is also a bad digital process.
Systematise sales processes
Sales work is not a straightforward process. Rather, it consists of a multitude of activities, appointments and documents that accumulate over time. In order to maintain an overview, good organisation is essential.
projectfacts facilitates the work of your sales team by bundling all activities into one sales opportunity. It thus serves as the starting point for all sales work.
CRM contacts are collected in a central database. It functions as a kind of large interactive business card collection. All activities related to the contact are documented in a timeline.
Organisations are also divided into A, B and C organisations according to their importance for the business. This is done automatically for customers, prospects and suppliers. With corresponding service notes for incoming communication (e.g. a ticket), your team can prioritise tasks quickly and effectively.
Recording times and costs for sales opportunities
For effective sales controlling, the recording of costs and working hours on sales opportunities is extremely valuable. Often, working hours in companies are not recorded at all or only for processes relevant to accounting, e.g. in support.
This leads to two serious disadvantages for sales controlling:
- The contribution margin of customer projects is calculated in a distorted way because labour costs are not taken into account in the course of the sales process.
- Sales managers have no way of tracking whether salespeople are efficiently allocating their time to individual sales opportunities.
With the right software, you can remedy this. With the integrated time recording, sales staff can easily record times for their sales work in projectfacts and assign them to the respective sales opportunity. Costs, e.g. for travel, promotional gifts and the like, can also be booked directly to a sales opportunity.
As a sales manager, you gain doubly from this information: on the one hand, you are always up to date on which sales staff member is currently spending time on which sales opportunities. On the other hand, you create an important database for your sales controlling.
Managing sales campaigns
Another important component of sales work are campaigns, e.g. in the form of trade fairs or newsletters. They are intended to help achieve the set sales goals by encouraging customers to take action in the interest of the company. For this purpose, a specific customer group is addressed with a predefined message in order to trigger a corresponding action.
In projectfacts, you can use campaign management to plan and carry out sales activities for a group of contacts. Tasks can be distributed to your sales staff. The progress is automatically recorded and displayed in the campaign. To ensure that no task is forgotten (e.g. making follow-up phone calls to trade fair contacts), you can remind your team by means of resubmissions. This way, all tasks are reliably completed and the chances of success of your campaign increase.
Create offers and invoices easily
The number of quotations created is often a key figure in sales controlling. After all, it is an important indicator of sales success. It is therefore all the more important that your employees are quick and skilled in creating high-quality quotations.
A sales management software is a great help. projectfacts automates many administrative tasks for your team:
- Automatic generation of address block and letter salutation.
- Adoption of ready-made layouts in the style of your corporate identity
- Text modules and service catalogues for quick compilation
- Simple integration of price lists and discount systems
- Print offers directly or send them as PDFs
This allows sales staff to concentrate on the essentials: The content of the offer.
You also benefit from the same mechanisms when creating orders and invoices. In addition, offers can be converted into orders and orders into invoices in a workflow.
With intelligent software, you can reduce
the workload to a minimum and prevent errors at the same time.
3. Sales controlling
Sales controlling measures the performance of your team and relates it to the set sales goals. A number of key figures can be used for this purpose. Which key figures are suitable for which company varies greatly and must be assessed individually by the sales manager. Typical examples are:
- Turnover with new customers
- Number of new customers in a given period
- Conversion rate (ratio of new customers to leads)
- Closing rate (ratio of sales closed to offers)
- Number of sales calls per employee
- Intelligent Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
With projectfacts you also have the possibility to compile your very own KPIs. Do you want to take the volume of an order into account? Do you weight some order items higher than others? No problem with the projectfacts sales software.
Compile individual KPIs from the desired influencing factors, which are calculated dynamically for each sales opportunity. This results in both the target and the current value of the sales opportunity.
Does your company have several business areas that play by different rules? This can also be mapped with projectfacts. If you wish, you can define different KPIs for different sales funnels. This way you ensure that each sales department is oriented towards the right target figures.
Our sales management software provides you with a variety of reports with which you can measure your sales success. Reports can be presented in different ways, exported as PDF or in Excel and highly customised.
The sales opportunity is also a sales funnel. This means that it reflects which phase of the sales process your customers are currently in. By analysing the sales opportunities, you get an overview of the order situation in your company.
You can see which projects are currently in the pipeline and how likely a sale is. You can see how many interested parties are currently in which phase. In this way, you can recognise order peaks and turnover gaps and react in time.
Add columns such as industry, country or key account holder, which you can use for statistical purposes. In this way, a multitude of elementary questions in sales can be answered with just a few clicks:
- From which industries do our customers come?
- In which countries do we generate the most turnover?
- Which sales employees are the most successful?
- In which sales phase do we lose the most customers?
With projectfacts you trust in data instead of opinions.
Create the basis for efficient sales management with our software.
Test sales management software
If you have further questions about how you can efficiently map your sales management digitally, please contact our consulting team. We will take a look at your processes free of charge and without obligation and develop a suitable solution concept.
If you would like to get a first impression of the projectfacts software, you can register for a free test account on the homepage.
Header Image: © Markus Spiske – unsplash.com (2021)