In today's day and age, sales management is getting increasingly complex due to new challenges and opportunities presented by the millennial workforce and technological developments. There is a high need for a unifying platform that can tie back the entire process and seamlessly integrate newer trends into it.
The Agile management philosophy has a proven track record of success in the IT field. They are now looking to expand into other non-technical fields and sales management could benefit from the Agile philosophy.
How do we integrate the Agile philosophy into our Sales Management?
Any sales management first starts with coaching the team. You have to onboard the new recruits, help them understand your product, processes, technology etc. This can be simplified by using Agile methods in the management process. Let us look at the different features and benefits of deploying the Agile philosophy for the sales management process.
In a typical setup, the sales teams' days are planned manually with rigid timelines and instructions like email potential lead using this exact template, calls to customers should happen only between this time slots etc. If the sales team fails to follow the process, they are blamed for poor performance. In reality, forcing all of them to follow such a process results in the implementation of a one-solution-fits-all approach which is sure to fail.
In comparison, agile sales management practices let you customize implementations as per the requirements on a case-by-case basis. It allows you to set clear milestones for the team, foster accountability at the sales representative level around goals, processes and metrics. This results in a smoother workflow.
Agile practice allows for adaptative planning. This lets you empower your sales team. The team can easily adjust as per the requirements of the customer’s needs. It offers the flexibility and freedom when they are released from a rigid framework that needs to be followed strictly. You can leverage different sales pipelines for different types of customers. You can meet your agents regularly and help them identify and solve the bottlenecks in the process.
It is important to encourage your sales team to collaborate with each other regularly. Agile sales management also helps in collaboration between departments. For effective sales, there needs to be an information exchange between different departments. For this, you can integrate your best CRM software with your marketing automation, customer support and other business platforms.
Agile sales management allows you to break your main target into shorter and more manageable goals. You can set a fixed time period for review and at the end of that period take stock of how things are. You can also evaluate your sales strategy, outcome and if required make changes. This iterative approach allows you to make informed decisions backed by solid data.
Your sales team has a high dependency on effective software that can simplify their lives and help them manage the sales cycle easily. It is vital that you re-evaluate any tools/support/software that issued by them. A hard-to-understand Sales CRM can end up complicating their lives and give them lesser time to spend on productive tasks. For example: - If your CRM software is not mobile compatible, change it to ensure that it is. Consumers today have high expectations and being desk-bound is not conducive for your sales team.
Agile philosophy recommends that development goals can be broken into smaller parts, that can together aid in the completion of the project. The same can be applied in sales management to revenue goals. You can start off by taking stock of the average number of emails/calls/follow-ups etc. needed to move a lead to the next stage in the sales cycle. You can then set small goals that can help your team achieve the above numbers and ultimately close a deal. Also provide them with a good CRM tool that allows them to keep track of the sales activity, objectives, goals etc.
Data must be kept organized to enable the business to take quick and informed decisions. If a few of your sales representatives ditch the CRM software and start keeping manual notes, the entire sales cycle suffers. To ensure this does not happen, establish a well chalked out sales process that outlines all the steps to be taken by the sales team to move a potential lead towards a closure. Define where one member’s accountability ends and where the other member’s accountability starts. Also automate data collection wherever possible.
Agile sales management follows an interactive and iterative approach that can help you easily predict the way forward/outcome of your projects. This makes it easier to move towards your goal.
Agile philosophy fosters daily meetings, constant feedback, an increase in individual accountability etc. – all of which help in building a culture of rewards and recognition. This makes your sales team feel valued and motivates them further to give their best to your business.
Agile philosophy fosters transparency in an organization. This can help everyone be on the same page and aid in optimizing performance as it shows each team member where they stand in comparison to others.
As a business owner, you need to have a sales CRM that seamlessly integrates all the important functions into one common destination. Agile philosophy can help you do just that.