Sales · · 8 min read

How To Create and Implement A Holistic Sales Management Process

Following a sales management process helps reps develop sales skills, improves customer experience, and streamlines funnels. Here’s how to build one.

sales management process

Let’s say you’ve got killer marketing with lead generation pipelines full. All that’s left is to convert those leads into paying customers. Find leads, engage, and convert. Rinse and repeat. 

That’s how easy your sales pipeline can be with a clearly defined and well-executed sales management process. It’s a systematic approach to sales that ensures consistent revenue.

Here’s where many fall short—poor sales development. Managers need the proper tools and resources to coordinate with their sales team, implement strategies, and gather insights. 

So, how can your managers develop a holistic sales management process? In this guide, we’ll be going over the following:

  • What is a sales management process?
  • What a sales management process looks like?
  • Does your business need a sales manager?
  • Elements of a sales management process
  • The benefits of sales management

What is a Sales Management Process?

The sales management process includes developing a sales force, aligning sales efforts, and implementing strategies that ensure sustainable and profitable pipelines.

A systematic sales management process is essential in B2B SaaS, where the sales cycles can be complex. Sales managers simplify the complexity by ensuring efficiency in all sales efforts. 

This begs the question—can you implement a sales management process without a sales manager? More importantly, do you even need one? 

Does Your Business Need a Sales Manager?

business manager

Small businesses can thrive even without a sales manager. But things get complex fast as you scale. Let’s say you have an SDR that’s amazing at closing leads. 

You might think you could just let that SDR train new hires on your sales team. That’s a viable solution.

However, a good sales manager and salesperson are entirely different people. In many cases, sales managers aren’t as good at sales as SDRs. 

They are good at understanding data, creating a healthy team dynamic, and ensuring salespersons follow sales processes. So, when should you hire a sales manager? 

The consensus is to hire a sales manager if your sales team has more than two people. If you’re starting, you could be filling the sales manager role. 

However, properly executing and understanding sales processes takes time. You could be stretched thin handling different roles, so hiring a sales manager is always recommended. 

Pro tip: Often sales managers earn less than salespeople due to varied commission structures. Don’t get pressured into promoting your best salesperson. Although the skills overlap, it’s an entirely different discipline.

What’s important is understanding how the roles of both manager and sales personnel contribute to the overall performance of your sales process.

The Fundamental Elements of a Sales Management Process 

Most sales processes can be categorized into operations, strategy, and analysis. Here’s a look at each element of the sales management process and how they affect your sales pipelines. 

Sales Operations Team

One of the main tasks of a sales manager is building a dedicated sales team for your business. Your sales manager plays a huge role in finding, qualifying, and onboarding new sales talent. 

The sales manager should also handle sales development, training, and coaching. Fully understanding your products and customers is a vast prerequisite. 

A great sales team shouldn’t just be good sellers. They’re a direct extension of your brand. Sales managers must teach your sales team how to represent your company best. 

If you’re a sales manager or want to hire one, remember to set sales and development targets, build ideal customer profiles, and establish goals and sales quotas in your sales strategy. 

Sales Strategy

A sales strategy covers the entire sales process, from lead generation to conversion. It focuses on optimizing and streamlining sales pipelines, how to engage, and how to nurture. 

For example, sales managers must identify what lead generation strategy can sustain their pipelines. Is your business better for inbound or outbound lead generation? 

Sales managers should also define your target customers, create criteria for sales qualifications, and build a sales cadence for your sales team to follow. 

As your sales team executes the sales strategy, your sales manager should look into performance metrics and analyze the data. 

Sales Analysis

Every business is different and has unique needs. That also applies to sales strategy—iterative practices are the best way to know which works. 

Sales managers must analyze performance data and determine the best way to improve results. Then, they are tasked with reporting this data to company stakeholders.

Performance metrics and goals must be quantifiable when reporting. In most sales funnels, the four key metrics include the number of deals, deal size, conversion rates, and sales velocity. 

Some of the most essential tools for analysis are sales lead management software and CRMs. Both will help your managers develop a well-rounded, customer-centric sales process. 

How to Build a Sales Management Process For B2B SaaS

sales strategy

The sales management process for most B2B SaaS companies focuses on a hybrid sales model, which combines a product-led and sales-led approach. Here’s how to build one: 

Choose a Sales Process Model

Your sales management process depends on the sales model you implement. Three of the most common models are islands, assembly lines, and pods. 

The island model leaves your sellers on their own. SDRs are left to their devices and follow a loosely structured sales process. You see this often with sales teams of 1-2 people. 

The assembly line focuses on having each sales team member specialize in a specific stage of the sales cycle. For example, SDRs can specialize in lead generation, engagement, or closing. 

The assembly line model encourages a collaborative effort. It also allows sales managers to identify issues in the “assembly line” faster. 

But, the assembly line needs a large team. Another drawback is that customers are met with different SDRs at each journey stage, which might cause inconsistencies. 

The pod creates silos within your team, each assigned to specific customer segments. It’s similar to the assembly line model. The most significant difference is that it’s customer-centric. 

SDRs focus on building relationships with specific customer segments, ensuring personalized engagement. This makes the pod great for long sales cycles or account-based marketing. 

Define Pipeline Stages

Sales managers must define the stages of the sales pipeline, so SDRs meet the right prospects at the right stage. Each pipeline has prospecting, qualification, engagement, and closing. 

Clearly defining each stage of your pipeline aligns your sales team with your business goals and promotes collaborations between marketing and sales. 

Prospecting requires SDRs to find verified leads to add to the top funnel. When qualified, they go down to the middle for nurturing and engagement. 

When prospects meet the criteria for sales qualification, your account executives (AEs) or closers negotiate terms and pass them on to your post-purchase nurturing pipelines. 

Align Sales Activities With Pipeline Stages

You can’t control how prospects react. You can control how SDRs handle sales activities at each stage of the sales pipeline. 

Each activity must contribute to leads going down the sales pipeline with as little friction as possible. To achieve this, sales managers often create “playbooks” for each sales activity.

These activities are unique to each business and industry. For example, if you sell HVAC services, one of the stages in your pipeline could say, “Quote Sent.” 

The playbooks set clear goals for the sales activity in each stage. For example, your playbook could say leads under the “Quote Sent” stage should be added to a sales email sequence. 

Prospecting: Find, Segment, and Qualify Leads

sales management systems

Prospecting covers the bulk of the sales process. The better your prospecting, the easier for account executives to close deals. It starts with finding leads, segmenting, and qualifying.

Inbound marketing strategies can help you find highly interested prospects. However, filling up your pipelines with inbound leads takes time. 

If you want something more proactive and sustainable, you can leverage lead finder tools like Instantly B2B Lead Finder. It has a database of over 160 million verified leads. 

That means no more double-checking whether a lead exists. Segmenting is easier, too, thanks to advanced filters that let you find leads that fit your ICPs and sales qualifications. 

Sales Forecasting

Forecasting estimates potential revenue based on historical sales data. It’s an excellent way to measure and anticipate potential issues before they cause trouble in your pipelines.

With the proper sales forecasting tools, you can estimate your weekly, quarterly, or annual sales. Let’s say the data shows that your team is projected to reach 80% of sales goals. 

Sales managers with forecasting tools can identify the problem and take action. The issue might not be internal; competitors could launch aggressive discount campaigns. 

Another key benefit of forecasting is resource planning. It helps you fully optimize the budget to include sales development, quota-setting, and onboarding new sales talent to your team. 

Track Activity Metrics

Activity metrics give the sales manager a clear overview of what SDRs are doing daily, including the number of leads generated, the volume of emails sent, and the number of meetings booked. 

Sales managers can’t directly influence these activities. However, an overview can help managers determine how to improve individual productivity and performance. 

If an SDR doesn’t meet the individual goals, it may be time for one-on-one coaching. Ensure your managers have the proper sales enablement tools and resources. 

Tracking activity metrics also works at a macro level, helping sales managers understand the overall performance of your sales process and how to iterate on best practices. 

Review Metrics and Iterate

Analytics tools help identify each stage of your sales pipeline's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.

Some key metrics you need to consider are the sales cycle length, conversion rates, win rate, average deal size, open opportunities, and closed opportunities. 

Each metric offers insight into team performance, which allows sales managers to optimize their sales strategy, scale down on underperforming ones, and iterate on best practices. 

How to Use the Sales Management Process to Improve Sales

sales process

No matter the sales process, revenue becomes the bottom line. Here are three essential best practices that ensure your sales management process leads to improved sales: 

Develop Essential Sales Skills

You must equip sales managers with the proper training to help them hone crucial sales development skills. These include training, coaching, sales planning, organizing, leadership, and delegation. This multi-faceted skillset allows sales managers to sharpen and improve their sales teams’ activity, such as prospecting, demos, product tours, or negotiation skills. 

Improve the Customer Experience

The best sales management processes are customer-centric. Your sales team must tailor their sales activity to each customer segment, which is why the model works for many businesses. 

As your sales activity scales, manually personalizing for each customer segment becomes unsustainable. That’s when lead intelligence tools come in. These can help you automate personalization and enrich your lead lists at scale. 

Leverage Automated Sales Engagement

As mentioned, the sales management process should be systemized. That means every stage of the sales process should be repeated like clockwork. When a sales activity repeats, it can be automated.

Prospecting and engagement are among the most repetitive aspects of the sales process. With tools like Instantly, both can be streamlined, personalized, and automated at scale. 

You can easily find prospects that fit your ICP with Lead Finder and send personalized business proposal emails to each. All are automated with just a few clicks. 

Key Takeaways

The sales management process is essential to ensuring sustainable revenue in your pipelines. To recap, here are some key insights you need to consider:

  • The sales management process can be categorized into operations, strategy, and analysis. 
  • To build an effective sales management process, choose a sales model, define pipeline stages, align activity to each stage and prospect, and track key metrics. 
  • If you want to ensure that your sales management process leads to sales, develop your sales managers' essential sales skills, improve the customer experience, and leverage automated sales engagement. 

With Instantly, automating sales processes has never been easier. Combined with Lead Finder, it becomes a potent tool for personalized sales engagement at scale. Try it out today! 

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