According to Wikipedia sales management is “a business discipline which is focused on the practical application of sales techniques and the management of a firm’s sales operations”.
Sales techniques create the sales experience and the sales experience is a key factor for driving customer loyalty. Research of 6,000+ salespeople in 90+ companies across different industries, for the book The Challenger Sale by Brent Adamson and Matthew Dixon, found that 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience – not brand, price, service, or even the product.
A sales manager will help create a consistent high value experience through developing, training and coaching of the sales process.
Other aspects of sales management include planning, recruitment, forecasting and ensuring he right resource is being allocated to the right opportunities.
Sales planning will help a business with recruitment by forecasting what talent is needed to serve customers with their future needs and wants. The sales plan can forecast the makeup of revenue 10 years out and bring that back to 3 years and 12 months to help set strategic targets.
The sales manager can also be included in the recruitment process to ensure a positive sales culture is developed.
Forecasting and ensuring the right resources are allocated to the right opportunities is a weekly task. This consists of reviewing opportunities with the person who has the relationship with the prospect or client.
Sales forecasting can help the finance function with their cashflow management and funding. If there is going to be an issue it’s best to know a few months in advance rather than leaving it to the last minute. On the other hand, is the sales forecast is showing significant growth the business may need to look at funding for growth.
The sales resource in a business is usually expensive, so it’s important to ensure the resource is only allocated when there is a good opportunity of a return on the investment.
Having opportunity reporting from a Customer Relationship Management system is the foundation of good sales management. Each opportunity is tracked through the sales process, given an estimated value and percentage chance of buying.
Form this information it’s possible to predict sales revenue in the future. A good sales manager will hit a good return on investment and have accurate and reliable sales forecasts.