The Four Phases in Sales Management Evolution

If you want your business to do well, you need to focus on a good sales management system. Sales management can be defined as the process of hiring and nurturing a sales team, managing the sales operation and execution and also applying different sales techniques – all with the common goal of achieving the set sales targets. The sales management process also keeps you abreast with what is happening in the market.

A sales management process cannot be set up at one go. It is a step-by-step procedure which goes through multiple stages. Let us look at the Four Phases in Sales Management Evolution process.


Phase 1

Most businesses begin their journey with simple anarchic management policy. There is chaos. There are no fixed rules. There is no structure in place. The sales team are given a few sample products and asked to go make a sale. There is a conflict between the sales team and the production team. The sales team spend a large chunk of their time in the factory, monitoring the production; cutting down the time they have for active sales by almost 50 percent. There is so much disorder in the system that it results in conflicts and problems. This is when the business owner decides to bring in some order into the system, introduce a structure and hire a sales manager.


Phase 2

There is some level of decorum in the system in this phase. There are some systems and there is some reporting but it is not completely structured.  There is a sales manager and his job is to ensure that the sales team meets its targets and also to keep them happy and motivated. This can work as long as the sales team works in sync with him and every member is in sync with the company values and culture. Attitude troubles of the sales team may hinder the system. The high performers may feel the need to disregard rules. They give the sales manager a choice between filling up reports or going on the field to sell.  At some level, the sales manager complies and does the mundane reporting himself. For some time both the sales team and customers are happy. However, the situation turns toxic when salespeople start taking unfair advantage of the situation. Other team members start feeling that they are being treated unfairly and there is a lot of disruption in the system. It eventually results in reduced sales numbers.

This is when the business owner introduces a stronger salesperson. This is someone who is more assertive and has better control over the team. He/she is empowered to sack toxic team members. He/she is entrusted with the responsibility of bringing the team back onto the right path.


Phase 3

Standardized rules are implemented in this stage. Non-performers are weaned out. No-profit deals are declined. The effort is put in to keep the team motivated and helped them achieve their targets. The stage 3 sales manager is not an easy catch. He/she is someone who has to play multiple roles – a part CFO/mediator/owner and a people’s person. They start to bring order into the system. They work on increasing profits and expanding the business. This stage is also very tricky. Businesses enter into a comfort zone and stop upgrading. They do not strive for Phase 4.

What would Phase 4 entail?


Phase 4

In Phase 4, the salesperson can transform the business as well as the inside sales team. A phase 3 sales manager can point out the faults in a particular salesperson. However, they cannot assist them in doing better. They resort to firing them after a PIP period. This is where the phase 4 sales manager comes in. They are leaders who will work with the sales teams and help them upgrade themselves to higher performance levels. They function like entrepreneurs with their do or die attitude. They help in implementing a good CRM software that can ease out the sales management process. Using a good Sales CRM, the sales manager follows an agile process wherein he/she calls for one-to-one meetings with his team regularly, engages in brainstorming sessions and comes up with workable solutions to their issues. CRM for sales management also places more weight on individual accountability. This fosters healthy competition among the team and motivates them to perform better. The sales CRM software also allows the sales manager to colour code his team members depending on their KPIs. The ratings can be remotely accessed via the CRM software. Everything is transparent and those with a lower colour code (as pre-defined in the system) are encouraged to move up the ladder. The sales manager shares success stories indulges in rewards and recognition for the high performers etc. He/she puts the entire sales management system in place and provides the sales team the motivation, tools and processes needed to achieve their goals.

Thus, setting up a sales management system is a process that will take its own time. However, it is vital to all businesses – no matter the industry. If you want your business to do well, you need to have a well-planned and executed sales management process

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