If sales is the engine of the business then who is the mechanic? Well, obviously it is the sales manager! Here we look at this vital new role and the payback it can deliver.
As the drive towards a more scientific approach to sales continues the sales manager is becoming sales engineer. That means:
- Transforming sales into a consistent repeatable process for generating leads and converting them through stages into orders and ultimately repeat orders
- Making sales more engine-like; systematic, automated and integrated.
- Greater visibility, predictability and control in respect of sales.
- Achieving more with less, through improvement and innovation in terms of how the organisation sells
Managers are looking beyond the efforts of the individual sales person, the periodic sales drive, or marketing campaign to sales as the engine of their business. That means in addition to meeting this quarters target they are building the systems, structures and skills within their organisations in order to meet target not just this quarter but the next.
The manager is not just focused on the quick fix to problems such as ‘we need more leads this quarter’, but focuses on the bigger picture – developing the systems, capabilities, tools and skills to generate more and better leads on an ongoing basis. The focus shifts from lets run more ads and make more cold calls, to how can we improve the effectiveness of lead generation? How can we adopt a best practice approach to lead generation? And so on.
While focused on the day job, managers also pay attention to such issues as:
- Sales process – a more consistent and effective approach across the sales team
- Sales productivity and sales effectiveness
- Sales metrics and conversion rates
- Sales systems and the more effective use of IT
- Integrating marketing with selling and making it more sales led
- Adopting an increasing team based approach to sales
- More effectively leveraging the skills and the time of salespeople
- Greater support for sales company-wide
- More effective management structures (pipeline reviews, sales team meetings, etc.)
- A more planned and proactive approach to areas ranging from lead generation to account management
These efforts don’t just pay dividends this quarter and the next, they result in the development of the core sales capability of the organisation underpinning its long term sales success.