Begin to better manage the pipeline by using metrics on a consistent basis.
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Let's face it: Companies' fiscal health depends on their ability to drive revenue, but without mastering sales management that line can quickly flatten. Consider the following advice to avoid having to check in to a sales management trauma unit.
Salespeople need to concentrate on sales, not on responsibilities that pull them in different directions. Eliminating administrative or unnecessary tasks, says Barton Goldenberg, president of consultancy ISM, "allows salespeople to be more efficient."
Eric Educate, vice president of sales at Fair Isaac, recommends "staying out in front of customers, fighting against that monster that ties you to your desk, because you've got all these other administrative and process things to do."
But weeding through salespeople's administrative workload isn't enough. Focus on long-term, ongoing training programs. "Very often what happens is you do a great job recruiting...then you forget to provide [salespeople] with the rest of what they need to be successful," Educate says.
Sales managers need to focus on process, as well. Consider managing leads and opportunities more effectively through metrics. "By understanding what the metrics should be based on...you can begin to better manage the pipeline by using metrics on a consistent basis," Goldenberg says.
Using an inside-outside sales model can also make for more effective management. Using collaboration strategies, managers should assign inside salespeople to new, smaller accounts. The inside salespeople "grow the business a little bit, then turn it over to outside sales," Goldenberg says. "The ability to have this collaborative model between the inside and the outside sales is something we're seeing much more of."
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