Are you a sales manager or a startup founder who’s confused about how to manage your sales team and track your sales?
Moreover, are you confused about whether your efforts are giving tangible results?
Are your sales numbers dipping because of an inefficient sales process and bad pipeline management?
And because you’re a startup, you can’t afford to hire experienced sales reps who know how sales work.
To add to your misery, you’re already burdened with a LOT of responsibilities as a startup- There’s constant pressure to perform, scale, and generate revenue.
If these are your issues, you’re at the right place. Having a sound sales management process is key to solving all these problems. It ensures that:
Your sales process is streamlined so that leads are not lost in the sales funnel
You know how to track important sales metrics to plan new strategies
You have a well-trained sales team that knows how to bring revenue
In this article, I’ll be discussing how you can set a sound sales management process for your startup so that you can take one burden away from the many burdens you face, and achieve those lofty sales targets!
What is Sales Management?
Sales Management is simply overlooking all your sales activities- whether it’s setting objectives, planning sales strategies, managing and motivating your team, or tracking important sales metrics to see if your startup is on the right track.
What is Sales Management Process?
Sales Management Process is a process that is set to manage sales in an organized manner. It’s a pre-defined process for you and your sales manager to refer to, and take action accordingly.
For example, you can set a procedure for how you are going to train your sales team. So every time you want to train sales reps, you already have a procedure and you won’t have to design new procedures again for the same purpose.
Why do you need a Sales Management Process?
In a startup, every worker has to shoulder multiple responsibilities and a slight mistake by anyone in any way is going to cost the whole operation. You just can’t afford to make many mistakes, especially when you want to sell.
And you’ll only be able to sell when:
You have a solid sales team that knows how to sell
Your sales process is streamlined so that you don’t have to worry about losing relevant leads
And as mentioned earlier, you don’t have the money to hire a top-notch sales team. So what do you do?
You build and develop what you have, i.e., you create a viable sales management process.
In doing so:
You get a structure where new team members can come in get trained and start contributing, some are ambitious and win big offers.
You get a defined sales process for leads and prospects to go through- a proper sales pipeline.
You can track what works and what does not- to ensure that marketing budgets and efforts turn into revenue and growth.
A way for lead leakages to show, and for the system to tell us what, where, and how much to optimize.
A way to track how your sales team is performing- Are they meeting their targets? Are they approaching the leads the right way? Do they need training?
Since you’re now aware of the role that sales management plays in your startup, let’s jump straight into how you can set up a sales management process for your own startup.
The first step in the Sales Management Process
What are your sales targets? Do you want to break even? Do you want to be profitable?
You need to set your goals depending on where you are in the startup process. If you don’t, you’ll just be burning your money and wasting a lot of time, the two most crucial aspects of a startup.
Being a startup, you need to ensure that your goals are not too lofty but at the same time, not too basic either. Be ambitious, but realistic.
Use ‘SMART’ Framework:
SMART is a technique to set sales goals. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Let’s see how you can apply the framework to set sales goals for your startup:
Goals should be clear and specific, rather than vague. Be as specific as possible so that you can actually track your sales goals with utmost accuracy.
For Example: Instead of “I want to acquire more customers”, a more specific goal would be “I want to acquire 100 new customers from Social Media by the end of Q2 of this year and 150 customers in the following quarter.”
Assign a number to your sales target, don’t leave your target open by saying that you want to ‘increase sales’, ‘streamline the sales process’, or ‘build a sales team’.
This helps you in actually measuring progress rather than relying on indicators that can’t be quantified.
For Example, ‘better customer service’ can be made measurable by saying ‘Provide satisfactory customer service to at least 40 of our customers by the end of this month.’
Achievable (or Attainable):
Goals should be realistic and attainable given the available resources and time. They should stretch you but still remain possible.
For Example, If your startup just launched its first software product and has a small marketing budget, setting a goal to ‘become the market leader in one month’ is just foolish and will only result in disappointment.
A more achievable goal would be ‘secure first 50 customers within three months through targeted online advertising and local networking events.’
Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your business to take. They should align with other broader objectives.
For Example: If you’re facing difficulty in retaining customers for your SaaS startup, setting a goal around developing a new unrelated feature might not be as relevant as improving customer support or adding functions based on user feedback.
Goals should have a timeframe or deadline, it creates a sense of urgency and gives a clear timeframe for a sales manager or sales reps to follow.
And you will be able to track your performance easily by breaking goals into shorter periods.
There’s nothing wrong with long-term goals, but if you don’t break them further, it becomes difficult to specify where things are going wrong.
By the time you realize where to optimize, it’s already too late.
For Example, Instead of saying, ‘increase sales by 30% in the next 6 months’ a time-bound objective would be ‘increase sales by at least 5 % each month.’ You can measure the performance and take corrective action after every month instead of waiting 6 months to see the result.
Next, define your sales pipeline:
You will never achieve your sales targets if you don’t have a proper sales pipeline. Imagine a pipe through which water flows. Any damage at any corner would result in complete water leakage.
In your case, a sales pipeline is your pipe and water is your leads.
So if you don’t define or manage your pipeline, you will lose leads.
What is a sales pipeline?
A sales pipeline is a representation of where prospective clients are in the sales process. Imagine it as a roadmap, outlining every step a lead takes from the first interaction with your brand to (hopefully) becoming a paying customer.
Generally, it comprises 5 main stages- lead generation, qualification, proposal, negotiation, and finally, closing the deal.
It’s a common perception that lead generation for startups is the most difficult thing. Yes, lead generation is difficult, but if your sales pipeline is not properly structured, you’ll never turn those leads into customers.
The stages of a sales pipeline can vary depending on your startup. For example, if you run a software-based startup, the sales stages can look like this:
Each stage of the pipeline represents a specific phase in your sales process and actions that need to be taken are defined before advancing to the next stage.
For example, after your leads have gone through the demo stage, your sales team will have to call or message them to see if they are interested in buying from you.
If they are, your sales team can just start negotiating the deal, if they are not, you can mark them as lost.
It acts as a roadmap for a sales manager to interact with leads, make important follow-ups, solve lead problems, and convert deals.
How does it help startups in Sales Management?
Lead prioritization: A defined sales pipeline offers clear visibility into the status of every lead. This makes it easy to prioritize efforts. This way, your sales team wouldn’t have to waste time on irrelevant leads and can focus on leads that bring in revenue.
Increases sales team’s efficiency: Knowing what step comes next in the sales process eliminates guesswork, your team knows the what and the how. No time is wasted in qualifying, negotiating, closing, onboarding, following up, etc, because the process is already set.
Identifying problems: With a proper sales pipeline, you can pinpoint stages where leads might be dropping off or getting stuck, allowing for corrections and process improvements.
How can you define a sales process for your Startup?
Understand your customer’s journey: Start by mapping out the typical journey your customer takes that is relevant to your startup, from first hearing about your product/service to making a purchase.
Set criteria for each stage: Clearly outline what needs to happen for a lead to progress from one stage to the next. For instance, moving from ‘Deal Closing’ to ‘Onboarding’ will require you to set up the software according to the needs of your new customers.
Using a CRM to manage your pipeline:
A startup is ever-changing. So should your pipeline. Your requirements and processes are not going to stay the same. You need to constantly evaluate if your pipeline is working properly- Is it converting the targeted amount of leads? Are my leads getting stuck at a particular stage? Is a particular stage unrequired for my startup?
With a CRM for Startup, you can define, evaluate, and make necessary changes to the sales pipeline from the platform itself. And what’s more, a CRM is not just a pipeline management tool, it’s a complete sales solution- it streamlines everything for you from the moment a lead is generated to the moment the lead gets converted.
It also fulfils all the functions that are required of a sales pipeline:
You can prioritize your leads by making custom lead statuses. If you want to classify leads as ‘Hot’, ‘Interested’, or ‘Big Deal Size’, you can.
You can increase the efficiency of your team because, with a CRM, they can automate repetitive tasks like sending an introductory message to your leads, distributing leads automatically to sales reps, etc so they can focus on closing a deal rather than wasting time in doing these repetitive tasks.
You and your sales managers can check the efficiency of your sales process by checking the stages where most leakage happens and take measures to rectify them.
More about CRM is explored in the last section of this article.
Now, build and train your sales team
When you’re running a startup, you’re a founder and a sales manager at the same time. Use it to your advantage.
Lead by example. Be a salesman yourself and then build your team- there’s no way down, only up!
Because even if capital is tight, determination is abundant. While you may not have the funds to hire an all-star sales squad, with the right strategies, you can build a sales team that’s as effective and dedicated.
Let’s delve into how you, as a young startup, can do this:
I. How to build your sales team:
Spotting Raw Talent: Rather than chasing experienced folks with hefty price tags, focus on those who have potential and are hungry for growth. Passion and potential often outperform experience.
Cultural Synergy: Remember, you’re not just hiring for skills; you’re building a family. Prioritize candidates who resonate with your vision and values.
Make Them Feel Important: Initiate a connection by introducing them to what your startup stands for, your vision, and your aspirations.
Emphasize their role in fulfilling these aspirations. An employee who feels they’re part of something bigger will naturally be more invested.
II. How to train your team:
How will your team sell if they don’t know what they are selling? Ensure your team fully understands the nuances of your product or service.
Tell your sales reps to use your product or service and form their genuine opinion about your offering. This way, you ensure that your reps genuinely understand consumer needs.
Another way is to make your team directly interact with clients and gather firsthand feedback. Create a channel for them to relay this feedback to you or the product development team (if there is one).
Host monthly sessions to delve into the intricacies of your product or service. This way your reps will understand the needs and problems of the target audience and the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of your product or service.
A salesperson who knows the product inside out sells with conviction and ultimately brings in a lot of revenue.
Lead by example:
If you don’t have an experienced team, act as a sales manager yourself and show your team the ropes of sales management. Don’t just order your reps around, show them how it’s done. Set a benchmark for them to refer to.
Train them on how to call, how to interact, and how to resolve problems. Show them how to handle leads in different stages of the sales process.
Leverage online tools:
Curate a list of platforms offering free courses on sales techniques, customer behaviour, market dynamics, etc.
Encourage your team to go through them to learn from the experience of expert sales managers and professionals.
Many industry experts regularly host free webinars or have podcasts. These can offer fresh perspectives and new sales strategies.
Conduct role-playing sessions to simulate real-life sales scenarios. This allows your team to practice different approaches and receive constructive feedback.
After each role-play, have an open discussion. Highlight the strengths and areas of improvement.
Leave room for experimentation:
Making a proper sales management process does not mean creating a rigid structure for sales management. Allow your sales reps to experiment with different techniques to find out what’s best for them.
And as the saying goes, self-learning is the best learning. Your reps will not only know what’s right, but why it’s right and what can be done to make it even better.
Encourage team members to give constructive feedback to each other. A fresh perspective can often shed light on unnoticed patterns.
Develop soft skills:
Your reps’ effectiveness can be measured by their communication skills. Simple in-house workshops focusing on listening skills, tone of voice, and body language can be transformative.
III. How to motivate your reps:
As a startup, some days you make amazing sales, and some days, you don’t make any!
And it is your responsibility to ensure your team is motivated on both the good and the bad days. Let’s see how you can motivating a part of your sales management process:
Incentives beyond cash:
You don’t have the money to offer big bonuses, so what do you do?
Acknowledge their performance, and celebrate their wins- big or small. It gives your reps a reminder that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed in your startup.
Give shoutouts in meetings, involve them in decision-making, etc.
A simple ‘Sales Rep of the Month” title or even a handwritten thank-you note can do wonders.
Open communication channels:
Foster an environment where your reps feel they can express their ideas and concerns. Hold regular one-on-one meetings.
A sales rep who feels heard is more likely to stay motivated.
Team building activities:
Organize low-cost team-building exercises. This could be as simple as a monthly dinner, a game night, or even brainstorming sessions.
A united team, where members feel a sense of belonging, is sure to boost motivation levels.
Flexible work environment:
Understand that everyone has their rhythm. Some might prefer early morning sales calls, while others might be night owls. Allow flexibility in work hours as long as targets are met. Autonomy can act as a huge motivator.
Instead of only annual reviews, maintain a consistent feedback loop. Celebrate small victories and discuss areas of improvement.
This not only keeps your sales reps in the loop but also lets them know that they’re on the right track.
Challenge with healthy competition:
Create monthly or quarterly challenges with non-monetary rewards, like an extra day off or picking the next team-building activity. A little competition can spark enthusiasm and drive.
Cultivate a positive work culture:
A motivated environment breeds motivated sales reps. Ensure in your sales management process that the workplace is not just about targets and numbers but also about collaboration and mutual respect.
Track sales and sales team:
You can build a team and streamline your sales process but unless you track your progress and identify where you’re making mistakes and what you are doing right- all your efforts will be fruitless!
Let’s take an example of a building- when it’s constructed everything is good but in the course of 10 years time, it will depreciate- if you ignore and don’t renovate, it will just crumble and fall down one day!
I’ve enlisted some of the sales metrics that you need to track in order to ensure that your sales management process is on top and you never miss your sales targets.
Leads and conversions:
Lead generation is difficult for startups, but converting those leads is even harder. Track your lead conversion rate. It tells you how well your team turns interest into sales.
A higher win rate indicates the team is performing well and you can give them a tap on their shoulders.
You can monitor win rates for individual sales representatives to recognize top performers and provide targeted training for those who need improvement.
Understanding your revenue:
Some months your sales soar; others, not so much. Monitor your sales growth- check the percentage increase or decrease. It’s not just about figures but understanding if you’re truly scaling up.
Check if this figure matches your initial target, and if not, see what you need to do to change that.
Assessing deal value:
Not every sale is the same. Some are big, some small. With average deal size, you get the average value of deals your team closes.
Match this with what you expected initially and replan your marketing strategies around the offer that sells the most.
This could also tell you about the performance of your sales reps. If deal size is smaller, check if the customer actually wanted a small quantity of your offering, or did your reps do a bad job at convincing them.
Compare the deal sizes of your reps. Sales reps with small deal sizes should be evaluated on how they approach leads.
Efficiency of the sales process:
Time is money, especially for startups. If it takes ages to close a deal, something’s not right. The sales cycle length tells you just that.
Find out the stage where most of your leads either get stuck, leave, or lose interest. Maybe that stage needs improvement or should be removed altogether.
In startups, every penny counts. How much are you spending to get one customer? Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) has the answer. This tells you the quality of your marketing campaigns and lead source.
If the cost per acquisition per customer is even slightly close to the revenue generated from that customer, you need to change your marketing strategy.
Winning a customer is hard; losing one is harder, especially for a startup.
If you’re losing many, it’s a red flag. Customer churn rate helps you understand the rate at which customers stop using a product or service over a specific time period.
To calculate the churn rate, you take the number of customers you lost during a specific time frame and divide it by the total number of customers you had at the beginning of that time frame. Then, you multiply by 100 to get a percentage.
For example, if you start the month with 100 customers and lose 5 by the end, your monthly churn rate is 5%.
Use a Customizable CRM to track these metrics:
You have 3 options to track your sales team:
Track these metrics using pen and paper.
Use sales management tools like Excel
Use a customizable CRM
Now, pen and paper is simply not viable, and needs no elaboration on why.
Excel sheets are messy, a lot of manual entry work is required, and data accuracy can always be questioned.
On the other hand, when you use a customizable CRM like TeleCRM, you can generate custom reports on any parameter that you want and that report is presented in the form of bar graphs and pie charts to make it understandable.
Imagine a tool where instead of adapting to its features, it adapts to you. With a few tweaks here and there, you can generate reports that matter most to your startup. It is a complete sales team tracking app for startup.
Don’t need data on the leads from a particular region? No problem, exclude them.
Want a deep dive into how many leads from a recent webinar converted into paying customers?
Easy! Generate a report.
Why TeleCRM matters for your startup?
As a startup:
Your resources are limited
You’re shouldering multiple responsibilities
You can’t afford to lose deals otherwise your operations will just shut down.
TeleCRM has the answer to all these problems. It’s an affordable but comprehensive sales solution that ensures that you’re able to make the most of your limited resources. You can use TeleCRM to set a sales management process that works. Let’s see how:
As a startup, every penny counts. Instead of paying for complex features, you’ll never use, TeleCRM gives you what you need.
Most CRMs offer hierarchical plans, meaning the more you spend, the more features and customizations you get. TeleCRM has a single plan where all the features and customizations are provided at an affordable cost.
Quarterly: Rs.849 or $29 Per User Per Month
Annually: Rs.599 or $19 Per User Per Month
Custom Plan: For 50+ team members
Eliminates manual workload:
Wasting time doing repetitive tasks is costing you when you’re already burdened with God knows how many responsibilities. That’s where automation comes into play.
You can automate repetitive tasks like updating the status of your leads, sending introductory messages to leads, distributing leads to your reps, etc.
For example, you can set up automated reminders for sales to follow up with leads at specific intervals after initial contact.
Now think of this from the perspective of your leads, they will receive timely calls and messages from your sales representatives, all their queries get answered, and as a result, they feel valued and satisfied.
Hence, they now will be more likely to purchase your product or service.
You’ve ensured tasks are done on time, gotten a happy customer, and boosted your sales.
Complete lead management tool:
With TeleCRM, you can ensure that you connect and convert as many leads as possible. It helps you increase your revenue manifold!
Some of its most prominent features are:
Click-to-call from Web: Your team can directly call from the web application with one click and the call gets dialed in your phone automatically. Now you don’t have to shift to your mobile app to make calls, and as a result, you can make more calls and close more deals in a smaller period.
Autodialer: So that your team can make more calls faster and close more deals without having to manually type and dial numbers every time.
Follow-up reminders: So your team never misses any important follow-up calls. You can set a reminder and forget, the app will remind you or your sales team when it’s time to call.
Team configuration: You can change the roles and responsibilities of your sales team from the application itself. For example, you can:
a) Change the role of a salesperson (caller) to that of a manager or admin or vice versa.
b) Re-assign the most important leads to your most trusted caller/s.Change the ratio of lead distribution among your team members.
Automatic call recording: Automatically record all the calls made by your sales team so that you can:
a) Use those calls as training material for sales representatives.
b) Resolve any issue with leads or sales as you have recorded proof of what happened.
c) Track how particular sales representatives are performing.
These are just some of the uses of ONLY a few of the features of TeleCRM. To know more about TeleCRM, you can visit our site, contact us directly, or book a demo.
Book a free demo
See TeleCRM live in action
These are just some of the uses of ONLY a few of the features of TeleCRM. To know more about TeleCRM, you can visit our site, contact us directly, or book a demo.
Now you know what is sales management and how to set a sales management process for your startup.
When you have a good sales management process, you can streamline your sales process, build and train a rock-solid sales team that brings in revenue, and track important sales metrics to make strategies that improve your sales numbers.
Also, consider using a Customizable CRM for your startup.
If you’re confused about where to begin, you can contact us directly or read other articles present on our website.