What is the current role of the sales manager in the sales team?
What are main sales manager duties?
Accurate and usable sales analytics make many things possible, including changing roles for both the sales rep and sales manager. Sales reps have for too long been “data entry clerks” instead of the entrepreneurs they innately are. Sales forecasts have traditionally been done for them, based on their input, instead of by them, which would of course give them much greater control over their own sales pipelines.
Here we will take a closer look at how precise and usable sales analytics change the role of the person normally held accountable for overall sales and the forecasting of those sales: the sales manager.
Traditional Sales Manager Role
The sales manager has a weighty responsibility. On his or her shoulders rests the overall responsibility of ever increasing sales; training, coaching and performance of sales personnel; and the prediction of how well sales will do in the future, called sales forecasting.
In many companies, the sales manager spends considerable time on sales forecasting. It is usually accomplished by regular weekly meetings with sales reps; each of their pending sales is gone over, and input is obtained from each rep on each sale on the likelihood of its closing, how soon, the dollar figure and other pertinent data. The data so obtained is then crafted into a sales forecast, which is then forwarded onto company executives.
Because of the time required for these forecasts, another considerable portion of the sales manager’s job—that is, coaching and helping to improve the performance of sales reps—is often reduced to simply checking on various sales and pushing them along. This is not a happy circumstance for the sales rep or the sales manager.
The Shift Due to Accurate Sales Analytics
Now let’s enter accurate and usable sales analytics into this equation—analytics that would be part of an intuitive CRM solution.
The first thing that should occur as part of such an implementation would be that the sales reps themselves are given much greater control over their pipelines. Analytics make it possible for them to focus on priority sales and actions with regard to those sales. The result would be that they are able to increase the velocity of sales through their pipelines.
But there is an added advantage: sales reps then have the capability of creating their own sales forecasts. With those forecasts they are able to see at a glance how they are doing for the week, month, quarter or even year.
What does this mean for the sales manager? It means that, if a sales manager so chose, he or she could simply collect the forecasts created by the reps, combine them into a single forecast (easily done with the right CRM solution) and forward it on to company executives. The time spent on creating sales forecasts would be drastically reduced.
This then makes it possible for the sales manager to spend time coaching reps and helping improve their sales ability. Part of the data accurate sales analytics is going to provide is that of closing ratios; instead of simply noting the closing ratios, the sales manager can now work to improve them. As closing ratios improve, so by default does overall sales.
Sales Management Precision
Another important sales management change that comes about as a result of accurate analytics is precision of management. Ask any sales rep about having been corrected or upbraided by a sales manager for flagging sales or other issues, based on inaccurate analysis of sales. When that happens, respect for and trust in that sales manager drops markedly, making the sales manager’s job that much tougher.
With accurate sales analytics, for the first time it is possible for a sales manager to pinpoint where a sales rep is performing remarkably well, or where errors are being made. Back up, assistance or correction can be brought about where it is factually required. This only raises sales rep confidence in the manager—and again makes it possible for the team to sell better and more.
Accurate sales analytics, as part of an overall CRM solution, in the end means that a sales manager can finally and fully be the sales manager.
See our other articles in this series on accurate sales analytics.