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  • Writer's pictureVivien Koh

Art & Science of Sales Management

๐ƒ๐ข๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ค๐ง๐จ๐ฐ? ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿ•% ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ฎ๐ฒ๐ž๐ซโ€™๐ฌ ๐ฃ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ๐ง๐ž๐ฒ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐ง๐จ๐ฐ ๐๐จ๐ง๐ž ๐๐ข๐ ๐ข๐ญ๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ!

Unquestionably, one of the most important yet complex organisational functions is sales, more so in the digital age. As such, it is crucial for sales managers and leaders to fully grasp the art and science behind sales management, as these are the individuals who play a huge role in determining a businessโ€™s success.

The art and science of sales management can be split into six main areas, with โ€œAllocationโ€, โ€œMonitoringโ€, and โ€œCoaching and Counsellingโ€ falling under the Art of Sales Management, and โ€œHiringโ€, โ€œCompensatingโ€ and โ€œEffective Pipeline Managementโ€ falling under the Science of Sales Management.

๐Ÿ“Œ The Art of Sales Management

1๏ธโƒฃ Mapping Sales Reps to the Right Territory

Sales reps in SMEs are often divided and allocated by geographical areas. Sales personnel in larger firms such as MNCs may be allocated based on vertical industries. This is organisationally sound, but often little to no critical thought is put into sales rep allocation.

Ideally, the most suitable rep should be aligned to the most suitable prospective client. Each sales representative is an individual with an own personality, set of talents, and expertise. What works best with one client may not work well with another. The art of sales management encompasses aligning the sales rep to the most suitable territory/vertical.

2๏ธโƒฃ Monitoring and Managing Sales Reps

A manager should assist salespeople in prioritising their time such that the greatest opportunities get significantly more of it. Deals that might close in the upcoming quarter should receive the appropriate level of attention to advance them. Sales managers should also ensure that sales reps are investing the appropriate amount of time in the long-term potential clients that may result in more profitability and revenue.

A call or email every few weeks can be used to maintain relationships with long-term potential clients. As a result, the pipeline is always moving and long-term prospects aren't sacrificed in favour of short-term ones.

3๏ธโƒฃ Coaching and Counselling Sales Reps

Working with someone who is capable of executing the task but lacks the expertise to do it well is called coaching. Counselling, on the other hand, involves working with those who appear to have the resources to do better but aren't actually utilising them. Counselling can be split into the following steps:

  1. Determining the issue.

  2. Specifying the answer.

  3. Determining the deadline for the resolution.

  4. Describing what will happen if the issue is not fixed.

A good sales manager should spend more time working from the bottom up to boost sales rep performance, increasing the motivation of lower-performing sales representatives to perform better and advance.

๐Ÿ“Œ The Science of Sales Management

1๏ธโƒฃ Hiring the Right Sales Talents

Narrow your focus and define the profile of the perfect sales talent candidate for your business. This lowers hiring obstacles and costs in this era of the great resignation and international hiring. As covered in our previous blog, poor hires can lead to significant financial impacts on the business. Sales managers should work to improve their hiring techniques and refine what theyโ€™re looking out for so as to minimise the risk of making a poor hiring decision.

2๏ธโƒฃ Compensating Sales Reps

A key element in attracting and keeping talent on your sales team is sales compensation. You want to provide the best sales reps a reason to take a position on your sales team and stay with your business over the long term, which is why getting your organisation's sales compensation strategy correct is essential to your businessโ€™s success.

3๏ธโƒฃ Effective Sales Pipeline Management

The main purpose of pipeline management is to effectively maintain a healthy sales process, and to accurately make forecasts to drive predictable sales forecasting and optimal sales results. Depending on the type of products or services you are selling, it is crucial to adopt the right approach and methodology for effective pipeline management. Based on a Harvard Business Review study, companies that practice effective pipeline management see on average 15% higher growth than those that donโ€™t. According to another article from HBR, training sales managers to manage their pipelines resulted in 9% faster revenue growth. Having good pipeline management takes practice and training, but itโ€™s definitely a worthwhile investment.

๐Ÿ“Œ Mastering the Art and Science of Sales Management

In the past, sales reps could use their innate skills to sell anything, and it used to be enough. However in the context of todayโ€™s competitive business landscape, modern customers require modern sales representatives which need training to specifically hone their selling abilities. As a result, sales managers must learn to master both the art and science of sales management so as to lead their sales teams towards success.

๐Ÿ“Œ Fast Track Your Digital Sales With Us!

With the transformation of the B2B Selling landscape over the last couple of years, VKT and SMU Academy have jointly launched the Executive Certificate in Strategic Digital Sales Leadership for Singapore Businesses programme. Up to 90% Skillsfuture subsidy can be made available for mid-career executives and SMEs.

The practical design of this programme will take you through the key elements of a Sales Leaderโ€™s role & responsibility, sales culture, recruiting & hiring, adopting the right sales compensation, sales strategy, sales coaching, and effective sales pipeline management so you will gain the skill sets and toolkits required to build a high-impact sales team.

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