A Beginner’s Guide to Sales Management [+ Top Tools]

July 1, 2024

8 mins read

Sales Management
Table of Contents

Ever wonder why some businesses continue to thrive regardless of market challenges? It’s not just their ability to sell, their mastery of sales management is also an important factor behind their success. 

Sales management, the strategic backbone of any successful sales operation, goes beyond mere selling. It involves precise leadership, clear goal-setting and optimising team strengths for sustained growth. Effective sales management, therefore, improves team performance by creating a supportive work environment, enabling team members to take challenges head-on and thrive under pressure situations.

In this blog, we’ll uncover the various aspects of sales management, from the roles and responsibilities of a sales manager to the strategies they use, along with a round-up of the best sales management software out there.

Sales management meaning

Sales management is the process of leading and guiding a sales team to meet (and exceed) sales targets. It involves planning strategies, organising resources, directing sales operations and controlling the end-to-end sales process to achieve desirable business outcomes. 

The main objective of sales management is to make sure that a salesforce is actively contributing to its company’s bottom line.

Types of sales management

An effective sales management process can be easily categorised into three main types, each focusing on different aspects of managing and achieving sales targets.

Strategic sales management

Strategic sales management involves planning and setting goals that align with the long-term vision of the company. This type of management requires a good understanding of the market and alignment with the company’s vision and using all this information to position the company advantageously in the market for years to come. 

The sales manager observes trends and identifies potential new markets and opportunities for growth or expansion. They set the course for where the sales efforts should be directed to ensure sustained growth in the long term. For instance, your company might be planning to enter a foreign market. As a sales manager, you will be in charge of setting goals for your team before starting operations in that country. Plus, you will also identify your company’s offerings that have a good market fit in that particular region.

Operational sales management

Operational sales management, as the name suggests, is all about managing the day-to-day affairs of the sales department to ensure that the team operates efficiently and effectively. This includes managing sales operations such as order processing, logistics and the distribution of leads. Operational sales managers ensure that sales processes are streamlined and that the team has all the necessary resources at their disposal. They might also implement policies and procedures to keep the team’s sales performance consistent across all activities.

Tactical sales management

Tactical sales management focuses on short-term decisions and actions that are taken in response to immediate opportunities or challenges. This involves quick thinking and adaptability to address issues as they arise or to seize fleeting opportunities. Tactical sales management is very hands-on, with a focus on making adjustments to sales tactics based on real-time market conditions like sudden changes in consumer behaviour or internal factors, such as shifts in inventory levels. For instance, if sales are slow in a particular month, you can start a special promotion campaign that month in an attempt to attract more customers and boost sales.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a sales manager?

A sales manager is a key player in any business, responsible for driving sales and ensuring the success of the sales team. The role involves a mix of leadership, sales strategy execution and hands-on management to achieve the company’s sales targets.

Role

The primary role of a sales manager is to lead and manage a team of sales professionals to ensure sales operations are executed effectively. You have to be a strategic thinker who’s not only good at managing day-to-day sales activities but should also be able to put together long-term action plans for the company’s expansion into new markets or to increase sales in existing ones. You also have to ensure your team is well-coordinated so that it can achieve all its targets without a hitch.

Responsibilities

As a sales manager, you will be responsible for the following.

  1. Setting goals and objectives: You have to set a clear, achievable sales target for your team based on an analysis of its past performance and current market conditions. Break down these overall targets into individual KPIs for each team member.

  2. Overseeing onboarding and training: You are responsible for your team members’ training and development. This includes everything from onboarding new salespeople to providing training to improve their skills and knowledge of the company’s products.

  3. Monitoring performance: Regularly monitor the performance of your team against set goals. Tracking key performance metrics lends insights that you can use to measure your success, gauge efficiency and identify potential areas of improvement. 

  4. Motivating the team: Keeping the sales team motivated is crucial. Develop incentive programs and cultivate a competitive yet supportive team environment through gamification to keep each member’s morale high.

  5. Managing customer relationships: You will also significantly build and maintain relationships with key customers. This may involve stepping in to help close major deals or manage important client accounts, if and when required.

  6. Reporting and analytics: Analyse sales data to generate reports and share them with your superiors. You can use the resulting insights to devise future sales strategies and initiatives.

  7. Problem-solving: You will also need to step in to resolve problems that can crop up from time to time, be it customer or employee-related or just about any other issue hindering your team’s success.

How to approach sales management (for first-timers)

Approaching sales management effectively as a first-time sales manager can feel daunting, but with the right strategies and sales management skills you can set yourself and your team up for success. Here are step-by-step instructions to streamline your responsibilities and enhance your team’s performance.

Step 1: Understand your role and responsibilities

The first step is to understand that your primary role shifts from individual sales contribution to leading and managing a team of sales agents. Take the time to evaluate the expectations that come with your role, including setting sales targets, training team members, monitoring performance and reporting to upper management.

Pro Tip: Take the time to familiarise yourself with all the products and services the company has to offer and only then should you decide on a course of action.

Step 2: Get to know your sales team

The next step is to know your sales team in and out. You have to build strong relationships with each team member of your team. Understand their strengths, weaknesses, selling styles and motivations. Scheduling regular one-on-one meetings can help you gauge the challenges faced by the team, allowing you to tailor your management style accordingly.

Step 3: Set clear goals and expectations

This is the most crucial step for you as a sales manager. You need to define clear, achievable goals for your sales team that align with your company’s objectives. Break these down into individual targets so each team member knows what their OKRs are and is clear about their role in achieving the overall goal.

Pro Tip: Ensure these goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) so that your sales agents have a clear direction and can track their progress towards achieving their individual targets.

Step 4: Implement effective training programs

You will be responsible for developing or updating training programs catering to new hires and existing employees. Focus on areas like product knowledge, sales techniques, customer service skills and training for specialised tools. Regular training sessions will keep your team updated, giving them a competitive edge.

Step 5: Monitor and evaluate performance

Another crucial step you need to take care of is constantly monitoring and evaluating your team’s performance. You can use a combination of performance metrics such as sales volume, conversion rates and customer feedback to monitor your sales reps’ performance. What will this do? It will help you assess every individual on your team and identify areas they are lacking so you can help them overcome their shortcomings.

Step 6: Create a continuous performance feedback loop

Feedback is crucial for growth in any field, especially in sales. You need to get into the habit of providing constructive feedback to your team members regularly and encourage a culture where the sharing of feedback is viewed positively. Not just that, make it a point to listen to your team members whenever they need your help with something.

Step 7: Build a stress-free work environment

Invest your time and effort in initiatives that will help keep your team motivated. You can start by recognising and rewarding high performers and the best way is through awards and incentives. Monthly awards like, ‘Caller of the Month’, ‘Closer of the Month’, etc., or cash incentives on each deal agents successfully close will have a positive impact on their performance. You can also consider non-monetary rewards such as career development opportunities or complimentary time off.

Step 8: Leverage technology to enhance efficiency

Research and figure out which tools can help reduce repetitive work and increase the productivity of your team members. The one tool that stands out is CRM software. Implementing a sales CRM system allows you to streamline sales processes and provide your team with the necessary data to optimise its sales tactics without any hassle.

Pro Tip: Opt for a CRM that doesn’t require much training, so your sales team can harness its full potential right from day one.

Step 9: Encourage team collaboration

An efficient sales team in an organisation is not comprised of the best sales reps, but members willing to step up and help their colleagues when needed. As their manager, you must constantly promote an environment that encourages knowledge-sharing and problem-solving among team members. This will lead to improved performance across the board.

Step 10: Keep fine-tuning your sales strategies

As someone who is just stepping into a new role, being on your toes will prove beneficial. You need to do the following: 

  • Stay updated with the latest developments in market trends 

  • Review and adjust your sales management strategy periodically based on team performance, customer data and market fluctuations 

  • Encourage innovation within the team, by inspiring them to come up with new ideas to ramp up sales

Step 11: Prep yourself for leadership challenges

To become a seasoned sales manager, you must mentally and emotionally prepare yourself to handle various leadership challenges, such as managing internal conflicts or dealing with non-performing agents. Focus on developing your problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills to manage these situations effectively.

Pro Tip: You can join various forums such as Reddit, Quora or Linkedin groups to gain valuable insight from peers and experts in your field.

Step 12: Reflect and adjust your approach

Last but not least, be open to feedback. You need to reflect on your own performance as a manager regularly. Seek feedback from your team, peers and superiors. Be open to adjusting your management style and strategies to better meet your team’s and company’s objectives.

By following these 12 steps, you will learn to navigate the complexities of being a first-time sales manager more confidently. Remember, the key to effective sales management is never about pushing your agents to sell more but leading from the front, supporting and inspiring them to give their best.

What to look for in a sales management system

When selecting a sales management system for your business, you must evaluate the key features and understand the benefits it will bring to your operations. Let’s look at some must-have capabilities that your sales management system should possess and the advantages they bring to the table.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Sales management system should help improve your customer relations

A Sales CRM system simplifies end-to-end customer engagement, right from the initial outreach to post-sale follow-ups. Not just that, you can track customer preferences, purchase history and engagement across all channels from a single dashboard. This ensures a personalised experience for each customer, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty as well as higher conversion rates.

Data analytics and reporting

Get detailed insights into sales trends etc from a sales management system

An advanced analytics tool helps analyse data across multiple touchpoints, providing detailed insights into sales trends, customer behaviour and campaign effectiveness. You can also assign key performance indicators (KPIs) to your agents and generate comprehensive reports to evaluate their performance. This will empower you to make data-driven decisions, predict sales trends and better understand your team’s impact on revenue.

Lead management

Track and manage leads, with the crucial feature of lead management

Another crucial feature is lead management to help you track and categorise leads based on their actions and engagement level. This enables the prioritisation of follow-ups with hot leads and implements strategies for personalised engagement. Additionally, it also makes the sales process more efficient by ensuring that all leads are instantly engaged by your agents, resulting in more conversions, thereby boosting sales productivity and revenue.

Sales automation

Sales management system helps you automate all your routine sales tasks

Your sales management system should be able to automate tasks such as WhatsApp communication, lead distribution and follow-up reminders to reduce the manual tasks. This will allow your agents to focus on more pressing matters rather than getting bogged down by routine tasks.

Integration capabilities

It should integrate with other business platforms or tools like online marketplaces etc

Lastly, it should integrate with other business platforms or tools (like online marketplaces, accounting software and social media platforms) so that all customer data is synchronised and accessible across all business departments utilising a centralised hub. This will help you streamline workflows and eliminates data silos, significantly enhancing operational efficiency and reducing manual errors.

Why you need a sales management system

There are several reasons why you should consider implementing a sales management system. Let’s look at the most important ones.

Efficiency

An effective sales management system boosts the efficiency of your sales operations by automating repetitive tasks and reducing manual work. It streamlines data entry, simplifies report generation and facilitates task management and scheduling, increasing your team’s productivity significantly. 

Scalability

As your business begins to expand, managing your customer base, data and transactions will become more complex. You will need a sales management system capable of handling all that extra load without any performance lags. 

Improved customer relationships

With a sales management tool, you can store all your customer conversations in one centralised location, making it easy for agents to meet customer needs, enhance satisfaction, build loyalty and increase retention.

Better decision-making

Sales management tools offer real-time data and analytics, enabling you to make informed decisions. This leads to data-driven sales strategies, better resource allocation and, ultimately, faster growth of your business.

Why Telecrm should be your first choice for sales management

Choosing the right sales management system can make all the difference when it comes to managing your sales efficiently and effectively. Telecrm stands out as a top choice, particularly for small to medium-sized businesses looking to optimise their sales operations. Here are a few reasons why Telecrm should be at the top of your list.

  1. User-friendly interface: Telecrm is designed with simplicity in mind. Its user-friendly interface makes it accessible even to those with minimal technical skills. Its intuitiveness ensures quick onboarding for your sales team members, allowing them to start leveraging their full potential from the get-go.

  2. Customisation options: Every business has unique needs and Telecrm addresses those needs by offering extensive customisation capabilities. Whether it’s creating tailored workflows or setting up custom lead statuses, Telecrm allows you to customize the system to fit your specific needs.

  3. Advanced sales automation tools: With features like Autodialer, follow-up reminders and WhatsApp CRM, Telecrm automates many repetitive tasks that can bog down a sales agent. 

  4. Seamless integrations: Telecrm offers seamless integration with a variety of tools, including WhatsApp, Facebook, your website and other essential business platforms. All your leads will be automatically captured into Telecrm reducing the hassle of managing multiple software.

  5. Affordable pricing: Unlike many other sales management tools that offer tiered pricing with varying levels of access and features, Telecrm provides all its functionalities at a competitive and straightforward price. Your business can access all necessary features without worrying about any hidden costs.

  6. Mobile accessibility: Telecrm’s mobile app provides the same capabilities as its desktop counterpart, meaning that your sales team can manage their tasks, follow up with leads and access crucial information from anywhere, directly from their smartphones.

By choosing Telecrm, you’re not just getting a sales management tool for managing your sales; you are investing in a system which is designed with one vision in mind: To empower sales teams that create a positive change. This results in enhanced efficiency, streamlined operations and accelerated sales growth. With its robust features, ease of use and mobile accessibility, Telecrm is indeed the ideal choice for your business.

Article Author

Fahad Abdullah is a marketing executive and content writer at TeleCRM and has been involved in writing blogs, marketing content, SEO, and social media marketing. As a mass media graduate, Fahad has over 3 years of experience working as a content writer and social media marketer for varied B2B and B2C companies in India.