A sales manager has one of the tougher jobs in the world: managing a group of people who are true individuals, who are making their own lives, and who rarely listen to anyone for advice. A sales manager’s job is made far easier, however, by a flexible, intuitive CRM (customer relationship management) system. In fact, it could be said that without a proper CRM, a sales manager can’t really do the job at all.
A Hefty Responsibility
Usually, a sales manager is charged with numerous tasks relating to the department underneath him or her. They are, of course, responsible for consistently increasing sales and making targets. They make sure the sales reps are on-the-job and working. They are looked to for the knowledge of how sales are doing, and where sales levels are at any given time. They are expected to provide analyses of past, present and future sales, and at least provide the data to finance executives so that forecasts can be done (if not providing completed forecasts themselves). And last but certainly not least, they manage the sales personnel, and must know who probably won’t make it, who needs a bit of assistance, and who is succeeding and deserves total backup.
Sales Management Empowered by CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
It takes a workable CRM for sales management to even get to square one: knowing the potential sales in the pipeline, where closes are for the month, and what can be expected in the near future. Without at least that level of knowledge, a sales manager cannot possible see to increasing sales.
It also takes that level of knowledge for any sort of accurate analysis of past performance, in order to relate it to present circumstances and a prediction of the future. In addition to having the data there and simple to find and view, a worthwhile CRM also contains intuitive tools for analysis and forecast, so these tasks can be accomplished with a minimum of effort.
For management of personnel one has to know how each of the sales reps have done and are doing, by viewing each of their individual sales pipelines. This is only made possible through an intelligent CRM. Otherwise one is depending on verbal reports from sales reps or their colleagues—and relying on such data is risky at best.
The CRM Chosen
A CRM product chosen without consultation of salespeople is foolhardy. But it is equally true that without interviewing sales management at length—finding out the kind of data they need, in what form, and with what ease of access—you could be setting your company up for a loss.
An ideal CRM product should be designed for a sales department’s intuitive use. It should be easy to configure to the company’s sales process, so that it is logical and data can be rapidly recorded and retrieved. Such a CRM makes it possible for sales to more easily occur, and for sales management to rapidly follow along.
Accuracy Equals Trust
Salespeople are often suspicious of their management, even if only a little, simply because their management isn’t sitting in that “hot seat” and may not know what it’s really like. But sales management can go a long way to gaining that trust by operating with accurate information—information only available through the right CRM. When a sales rep knows that his or her manager is thinking, acting and speaking with real figures, that trust will be a lot easier to come by.
It is clearly evident that sales management can only succeed with precise and flexible CRM (customer relationship management) tools at their disposal.
Watch for more articles in our series on CRM (Customer Relationship Management).