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All for-profit businesses have a product or service to sell. Businesses exist to make sales. The sales management process monitors and measures each staff member's ability to either support sales or do the actual selling to customers. An effective sales management strategy includes setting goals, providing sales support and training, creating or updating the sales strategy, and monitoring results.
The sales management process can include goals for individual staff members, departments, and the entire company. These standards must be discussed with staff. This includes communicating updated goals based on performance, the economy, and the competitive environment.
Once goals have been established, the process continues by providing tools and training to reach those goals. This can include in-depth information about the company's products, target audience, and sales strategy. Effective training is not a one-time occurrence. Ongoing training is needed to ensure success.
Sales managers typically monitor results to determine if the current sales process is working. This review should include the entire sales process, from taking the order to delivery to follow-up service. Accountability must be included in any successful sales management process.
If goals are not being met, the sales manager needs to determine where any problems lie and offer a solution. Poor sales can be the result of an inferior product, non-competitive pricing, manufacturing or deliver delays, customer service issues, or employee issues. The sales manager will usually rely on several departments, including production, customer service, and marketing, to find the root of any problems.
Along with other department managers, the sales manager must review whether the product is competitive and is delivered on schedule. If the product is not the issue, the manager must ensure that proper support and training were provided during the sales management process. The sales manager also can work closely with the marketing department to be sure the product is being advertised effectively to the correct target audience.
If all product, training, and marketing issues are ruled out as the source of a problem, the sales manager must review the salesperson's personal ability to do the job. The manager can provide more training or personal coaching to help the salesperson achieve stated goals. If additional training or coaching is not effective, the sales manager may decide to terminate the employee.
Conversely, sales managers must also be keenly aware of what is working in the sales management process so that successes can be duplicated. Sales managers need to know which products are selling, what sales techniques work, and must solicit customer feedback. This information can then be shared with the entire the sales staff.
It is also important to include a recognition program for top performers in the sales management process. Employees who meet or exceed goals generally want to feel appreciated for a job well done. Various incentives such as cash bonuses, a larger office, time off, or trips can be used to show appreciation. Such reward programs can help a business retain its best employees and keep them from moving to a competitor.