Sales management is a multifaceted discipline that requires sales, management, HR and training experience to properly implement. It is a challenging role with no magic bullet solution. That being said, there are foundational elements that will greatly improve your sales teams’ performance. The first is the concept of building your dream sales team.
In a Forbes article titled The Growing Talent Crisis in Sales they identified an average sales rep turnover of 35% which is considerably higher than the average for all other industries, which sit at 13%. In the same article, Blue Ridge Partners broke down the average cost of sales rep attrition: “…a 5% increase in sales rep attrition across a sales team can increase selling costs by 4-6%. The difference between a 5% attrition rate and 25% means an increase of over 50% in cost to sell and revenues drop by 20%.” Which means that every time you need to replace a sales rep your company is losing profit. On top of the loss of profit, there is typically a ramp up period for new sales reps that takes around three months on average, which means you are also losing irrecoverable time in each case.
On top of all of this, sales is a highly competitive field, so sales reps tend to be on the lookout for new job opportunities, especially if they are not satisfied with their team and management. In order to reduce the costs of training new sales reps you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the hiring process. This will allow you to be more involved during each step, ensuring every resource spent will benefit the company in the long term.
Evidence-based hiring as opposed to filling a new vacancy requires sales management to find the right person for the role in their team based on evidence and specific predefined competencies. These include concepts like team dynamics, the skill of the leader and their leadership style. With sales reps being in high demand, the first inkling of dissatisfaction will result in them looking for new opportunities, so you need to make sure your dream team meshes well across the board. If your team leader is very hands-on with their management style, for example, you want a team that thrives in that environment.
There are of course additional requirements that may be essential depending on the industry you operate in, so make sure you have a comprehensive and intimate understanding of your sales teams and their competencies. Map them out and create a list of desirable team traits. This will simplify the hiring process and keep you on track in building your dream team.
Simplified Sales Management
The management part of sales is a tricky one, as most sales managers have years of experience in sales but limited experience in management when first promoted. Investing in upskilling and coaching your sales managers is key. Finding ways to improve the process will aid with every potential hire, and will reduce the risk of sales rep attrition. This also means less time spent deliberating on new sales hires and more time spent on reaching your sales team goals. Practice this enough and you will build a sales team that is finely honed and synergised for performance. There is a risk to every new hire, but with these points you can reduce and refine the process for more company profitability and better employee retention.