Sales management as we know it has changed. The current economic situation has sales people and sales management doing extraordinary things in these challenging times that are often unnatural. It is time to take control of your selling environment before someone else is asked to.

Companies are looking for profitability over growth which often means they require fewer sales people to get the same or better result. They are re-evaluating their priorities and forcing sales management to be accountable and do more with less. They are looking to put a structure in place that has the highest likelihood to prosper in this difficult sales climate.

So, what can your company do to ensure it will stay relevant?

Embrace Structure in the Sales Function
Show your employees that you are in tune with the changing times and are willing to put structure around sales. A sales structure is not all that different from the ones you probably have in place for your factories, warehouses, and other functions of your business. Make sure your employees are clear on their roles within the structure. Here are some suggestions for instituting a successful sales structure:

  • Put in a Sales Accountability System
  • Hold sales management to clear expectations on not only the numbers, but also on building a quality team.
  • Use a systematic approach to track both lagging and leading indicators as well as role-based skills or competencies within your sales team.

Reduce Wasted Effort
With the proper system in place, your sales managers will not be hunting for data or spending countless hours analyzing team performance. Analysts' statistics show that having an accountability system in place reduces sales management administration overhead by over 30 percent. Sales managers should also focus on where they can add value by using those on the team who are most coachable. If you have built a strong team, your sales managers should not have to be on every call.

Consider the Alternative
We in sales all have a responsibility to shape our future, drive revenue and profitability. Sales management specifically has the extra task of managing morale and coaching, while holding salespeople accountable.

Status quo never works; the hammer only works for so long and the alternative to putting in structure is to do nothing. Without a structured process, you will not be able to explain who is strong and who is weak, and what you are doing about it to better the team.

The trends of the selling marketplace have shifted towards a more structured and accountable environment. If your company genuinely lives and breathes these values it will be in a position to thrive today and in the future.