Good sales management can be found above all in companies that can assert themselves against their competition in highly competitive markets. One of the main tasks of sales management is to create a realistic plan for target achievement based on the sales strategy and to support the employees in the implementation because motivated and trained sales staff ensure stable sales.
You will find out exactly how sales management should look and what role controlling plays in the following.
What Is Sales Management?
It is the job of sales management to lead the sales team successfully. The basis for this is the sales strategy: It should be implemented by the employees to achieve the company’s sales, earnings, and market targets. For this purpose, there is the sales concept, which determines the operational sales plan.
The sales plan structures both responsibilities and tasks and are intended to guide the sales force. Controlling is part of sales management: the focus here is on compliance with specifications. Processes and objectives set out in the plan are analyzed and optimized in their execution.
The Tasks Of Sales Management
Sales management takes on strategic tasks such as developing a sales strategy and operational tasks such as motivating and promoting your employees. Other sales management tasks include instructing internal and external staff, conducting employee interviews, and participating in customer visits.
To evaluate the efficiency of sales, target-oriented key figures are defined in sales controlling, which serve as guidelines. Sales controlling takes on the function of reporting in sales management.
Challenges In Sales Management: What Controllers Can Do
The main task of sales is to assert oneself against competitors. This becomes a real test in increasingly competitive markets.
Impressive competitors have entered the stage with large e-commerce portals such as Amazon: In 2018 alone, e-commerce sales in the B2C sector in Germany amounted to 53.3 billion euros, a third of which was generated by the ten leading online shops.
Digitization has changed the purchasing and usage behavior of customers accordingly. As the University of Regensburg notes in its studies on international e-commerce, more and more online retailers based abroad are pushing into the local market and trying to secure a piece of the pie.
Companies have to adapt and incorporate this methodically in their sales strategy to survive in this changing climate. This includes becoming more digital yourself and identifying potential within the market. Sales management provides a valuable starting point in statistics, forecasts, market, and competition analysis.
Three Recipes For Success For Efficient Sales Controlling
Reasonable sales control can convince your employees to approach sales goals with motivation and help them achieve them. In sales controlling, clear areas of responsibility are defined, and the sales employees are trained about their target customer groups. To meet the specified goals, individual process steps are described, and an OKR plan is drawn up like a roadmap for implementing the goals.
The following three aspects are therefore essential for efficient sales management and sales controlling:
The Sales Strategy: Convince Yourself With The Concept
A detailed sales strategy that answers all competition and market-relevant questions are the basic building blocks for successful sales management. It reflects the sales process directly and clarifies the product, scope of services, target customers, market positioning, price structure, and the sales channels through which the target customers are reached. The sales strategy offers your company all the answers it needs to develop systems and processes. At the same time, it gives the sales force a guide for the necessary orientation.
In any case, your sales strategy should include answers to the following seven questions:
- What are your company’s competencies?
- What is the current market situation like? And how is it developing?
- Who are your (future) competitors?
- What are your company’s strengths? What benefits do you offer your customers?
- Who are your target customers?
- Which (sales) channels do you use to reach your target customers?
- Which arguments do you use to win over your target customers?
The OKR Plan: Set Milestones
In the second step, it is necessary to convert the strategic measures into an operational schedule. With the help of a sales plan or a so-called OKR plan (Objectives and Key Results), you can set milestones and the associated sub-processes. On the one hand, an OKR plan serves to distribute clear responsibilities. On the other hand, it motivates your sales team to work towards a specific goal.
Concrete control is essential to achieve the sales management’s sales targets. Therefore, a timetable that distributes tasks and resources in a target-oriented manner supports you significantly in increasing your sales performance.
The Employees: Motivate The Sales Team
Working in sales can sometimes feel quite demotivating for employees: If a customer suddenly jumps off or there is a streak of bad luck when acquiring new customers, this harms the mood. It is more important to constantly create incentives for your employees through good sales management to motivate them continuously.
A well-thought-out and well-formulated sales strategy is the start here. It offers employees orientation, gives them an overview of the company’s goals, and equips them with the knowledge to help them at work.
To additionally support your employees in achieving their sales goals and to offer them prospects even when the going gets tough, you can also provide opportunities for further training.
How Do You Measure Your Sales Performance?
Measuring sales performance is essential to be able to make decisions about optimizing or adapting processes and activities. The following metrics are suitable for determining the performance of your sales department:
- Sales calls (per day / per employee)
- Sales (per employee/per period)
- Incoming orders (per month / per quarter / per year)
- Sales revenue (per month / per quarter / per year)
- Percentage ratio: new customers to existing customers
- Number of lost customers
- Number of new customers
- Number of appointments to complete
- average order amount
Your sales strategy should define all relevant questions about your business development. To ensure that sales goals are met, a motivated sales team is essential: sales management is the task. With the OKR plan, responsibilities can be distributed transparently, and sales goals can be specified – this gives your employees orientation. If you create additional incentives, for example, in the form of further training measures, you can also positively influence your employees’ commitment to the common goal.