Imagine this – the penultimate scene in Avengers 4: Endgame is of a weary and dust-battered Captain America standing alone against Thanos, facing down defeat and the destruction of the world once again. Suddenly a fiery portal opens next to him and in steps Black Panther. Slowly but surely, more portals appear until all the heroes are standing quietly next to Captain America.
Cap. looks directly ahead and mutters the iconic words “Avengers Assemble” (Audience ROAR). And the rest is history – Thanos is defeated and the earth is safe once more. Yay!
You may be wondering what on earth Captain America and the Avengers have to do with creating a sales management strategy – let me tell you.
I can do this all day: Creating a sales management strategy
Effective sales teams need a developed strategy in place for managing sales. They do this by considering three things:
- Operations – how they create, educate, and develop their current sales force.
- Sales strategy – how the sales funnel or pipeline is developed for an effective sales cycle.
- Analytics – how they gather insights and use those insights to improve their team’s performance.
In Avengers, Cap couldn’t have defeated the enemy without the right team, the right strategy (thanks Dr. Strange for the discovery and pre-planning, and Ironman for the execution), and the right approach to monitoring what didn’t work last time (reactive brute force) versus a more considered approach (go back in time and get the tools/stones you need to defeat the problem).
In sales, it’s a similar thing for sales managers. Building a sales management strategy that encourages cross-collaboration and effective evaluation of the sales cycle ensures that your team will crush their targets and quickly adapt in this competitive landscape.
Hiring the right sales professionals with the correct balance of assertiveness coupled with sales intelligence and clear expectations for performance is a recipe for success as is using the right tool for monitoring performance.
What successful sales teams do
A sales funnel is the marketing term for the journey potential customers go through on the way to purchase. There are several steps to a sales funnel, usually known as the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel, although these steps may vary depending on a company’s sales model.
Creating a sales funnel that works to enable your team to do their job effectively is critical, so they can support the customer and keep them from dropping out of the buying journey. You don’t want to miss a sale due to a poorly developed pipeline.
Sales managers need to identify targeted activities that encourage prospects to become customers for life, not just focus on the quick win. Technology can certainly facilitate this; using the right CRM (Customer Relationship Management System) can also pay dividends down the line.
The endgame: Monitoring efforts and optimizing results
The use of metrics and analytics data is vital to creating a sales management strategy and understanding what went wrong, what went well, and where your team can improve. Consider using a tool that measures the following:
- 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
Breaking these down further you can look at retentions, conversions, and how these relate to increasing revenue at the end of the sales pipeline.
It’s worth noting that it can take a number of weeks from signing a contract to closing a deal, so the team needs to know how to nurture prospects and continue to generate leads so they always have something to close on. Accurately recording interactions and devising a guided strategy from these interactions mean you have a responsive way to monitor growth and change course where necessary.
The best sales teams will have a comprehensive sales management strategy in place, the right team to execute that strategy, and a thoughtful approach to reviewing their success finding, winning, and keeping customers. It’s about winning the battle, getting up again and again, to ultimately win the war.