Sales Management for Small Business
- An effective sales strategy requires a sales goal, a management plan, and a sales team.
- Before you build out a sales team, make sure you define your target–who you will reach out to, and how many sales you plan to make in the next month, quarter, and year.
- The heart of your sales strategy is your sales pipeline.
- Analyze your sales (reporting) to ensure that you are hitting your targets, and making changes when you are not.
Often times, we see small business owners selling with a lot of passion and energy, but with little strategy. Though you might be tempted to just go knocking on every willing door, it’s important to have a sales goal and strategy developed as to maximize results for your business.
What is Sales Management?
Sales management is the process of developing a sales team, coordinating sales operations, and implementing sales techniques that allow a business to consistently hit, and even surpass, its sales targets.
It is important that you have all of these sales components identified before you even start the selling process.
Define Your Target
By target, we mean two things: 1) who are the people you are selling to, and 2) what is your goal (or target) for number of sales attempted and made over a given time?
Let’s start with #1. Understating your target customer is extremely important. In fact, it’s so important that we have an entire blog post dedicated to it here. As a quick review, you should be more concerned with your most valuable customers–these are individuals who more likely to buy your product and/or buy more of your products. You should have a general list of their characteristics and behaviors. Are they younger or older? Where do they live? How much money do make? What factors do they consider when making a purchase?
Once you have a fully painted picture of your target customer, then you’re ready to start on phase 2–creating a sales goal.
You can achieve astounding sales results by setting activity goals. In fact, the results that come out of carefully planned and managed activities can far exceed any results-oriented goal you may have set in the past. By activity goals, this means how many calls a sales rep might make a day, or how many conferences a sales rep might attend. Here, you are creating a goal around their activities (calling, attending events), and not around how many Yes’s they receive.
Develop a Sales Strategy
Every business has a sales cycle–a series of tasks that helps a company’s product reach its users. Having a sales pipeline, or sales funnel, will make that easier to maneuver. A sales pipeline is a visual sequence of activities to achieve with each prospect, from the initial lead to the closing of the deal.
A pipeline is a salesperson’s right-hand man, as it helps them stay organized and take control of their work. After all, there are some things you cannot control – results. That’s where managing activities comes into play. If a salesperson can see their progress, or their activities, they will be motivated to do more work and achieve more.
Build Out a Sales Team
We cover this topic more in-depth in our blog post here, but for now, just understand this: salespeople shouldn’t just be great sellers, but need to be great at selling your product, and become someone customers want to work with.
Once you have a few more hands, the sales team should all be on the same page, working as individuals within a single, collaborative unit. A more systematic approach will result in fewer errors and greater achievements for the company as a whole.
- Then this is where the fun really begins. You can set your team up for success by giving them high yet realistic targets, which you’ll be able to track to measure future success
Once you have your sales team set up, the work does not stop. You need to track and monitor success, so that you’re constantly improving your sales process. We recommend regularly checking in on the following metrics:
- Number of deals in your funnel
- Average size of a deal in your funnel
- Close ratio, or average percentage of deals that get won
- Sales velocity, or average deal lifetime before it is won