Sales management-sales force relationship is changing. Why?
As covered in recent articles, the military-style corporate structure so prominent after World War II is finally starting to fade away.
Where previously it was only the leaders that made decisions and passed them down the line as orders, now everyone, from the Vice President down to the assistants’ assistants are being made fully responsible for their own positions and allowed to think for themselves. This isn’t some sort of corporate anarchy; it is actually the full utilization of all the ability resident in an organization. It is nowhere more welcome than in the sales management-sales force relationship.
Here are four of the broad changes that are vitally needed—and that are coming about in forward-thinking companies as you read this.
The tradition of corporate culture has been anything besides “think for yourself.” Individual innovation has been discouraged and in some cases disciplined. This modus operandi is being replaced with one in which the “ordinary worker” is being encouraged to fully do his or her job.
What does this mean? It means employees are free to innovate methods of conducting their jobs to company benefit. They are given the latitude to create their jobs instead of simply and only following directions.
This kind of operation carries extremely well into the sales management department.
#2: Sales Reps as Entrepreneurs
Sales reps are innately entrepreneurs. They are capable of seeing opportunity that others miss. They embrace a system in which they are responsible day-to-day for their own incomes. No matter who they work for, at the end of the day they see the “buck stopping here” as it relates to their own sales.
To reduce a person with these qualities to the level of “data entry clerk”—demanding and enforcing excessive data input into a CRM solution that will never be useful to them and only partially useful to sales management—is not only detrimental to sales force morale but to the company’s prosperity.
Modern companies are not only valuing sales reps and their entrepreneurial spirits—inviting their input into sales strategies, marketing campaigns and in some cases even product development—they are also adopting CRM solutions that are flexible, logical and that actually empower salespeople. The data that must be entered is data that they can then easily retrieve, and that will greatly assist them in managing their pipelines.
Such CRM applications also contain quick and easy tools that for the first time allow the sales reps themselves to analyze and forecast their own sales. This is a whole new level of control for salespeople of their own pipelines.
This last aspect also brings a great advantage to sales management.
#3: Sales Management—More Effective Control
Traditionally sales management’s role has been one dealing almost exclusively with numbers. They create and/or are given quotas to pass onto the sales reps, and are constantly seeing that the reps are meeting their quotas. They have regular meetings with salespeople for the purpose of creating sales forecasts. They then spend time putting together those forecasts and sending them up to company executives, who rely on them for those all-important financial projections.
But today, thanks to leading-edge CRM solutions, sales reps themselves create forecasts of their own sales pipelines, and simply forward them to their sales managers. The sales manager can take these forecasts and quickly combine them (modifying as needed) and forward them to company executives.
With the considerable time now saved in forecasting and analysis duties, the sales manager can now spend more time coaching and seeing to the further education of sales reps. The sales manager is now going to have a team that is constantly improving in sales technique.
#4: The End Result
What do all these changes mean for today’s companies? In actual fact they are positioned to succeed like no company ever has been in the last 50 years: all staff in an entire company are functioning to the absolute best of their abilities. Included in this amazing transformation are the most important staff to the immediate income of the organization: sales managers and the sales force.
It doesn’t get any better than that.
See our other articles on the changes in the sales management-sales force relationship.