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Effective Sales Management

By: Liz Heiman
Categories: Business Owners, Closing the deal, Productivity, Sales, Sales Coaching, Sales leadership, Sales Management

Are you desperate for better results from your sales team? Before you fire them all, try the 5 Cs of effective sales management. Provide clarity, consistency, coaching, collaboration and don’t forget to celebrate!

The 5 Cs of Effective Sales Management

1. Clarity

When asked, sales reps are surprisingly unclear about the sales process, priorities, goals, expectations and even how to put information into the CRM. The clearer you are about what is expected, the more effective your sales team will be in delivering the results you need.

Set Goals – Work with each rep to develop a plan to achieve that goal. Specify clients, products, opportunities, regions or verticals to focus on.  The more specific the plan, the easier it is to execute.

Provide Guidelines for Success  – Discuss things like average sales cycles, ideal number of calls and meetings, typical pricing structures, the balance of the funnel, which activities and questions happen at each stage of the funnel and other things that will support success.

Clarify Definitions – If you want predictable results, start with your sales process and CRM. If the data in the CRM isn’t consistent, then forecasts won’t be accurate. Clearly define each and how an opportunity moves to the next stage, then map it to your CRM.

2. Consistency

When salespeople don’t know what to expect, they don’t know how to respond. The more consistent you are, the more consistent they will be.

Sales Meetings – Have a set agenda for your weekly sales meeting. Include successes, training, a review of the numbers and a team strategy session. Leave individual opportunity or funnel reviews for one-to-one sessions. If the conversation doesn’t include the whole team, it shouldn’t happen at the team sales meeting.

Funnel/Pipeline Reviews – Have a regularly scheduled funnel review with each sales rep. Set the expectation that the opportunities, close dates, next actions, and stages be updated before the session. During each review, assess the shape, check velocity through the sales process, review progress on all opportunities, eliminate dead leads, and select opportunities to strategize.

One-to-Ones – Have an agenda and follow it. Use this time to discuss individual performance issues including how they are positioned to achieve their goals and what they will need to do to succeed. Discuss individual development plans then coach and train to achieve those.

Strategy Sessions – The reward for a funnel review is a strategy session. That is an opportunity to work together to strategize an account you haven’t looked at recently and to look for threats and opportunities. Follow the same process each time.

3. Coaching

Every member of your team deserves coaching, even the rock stars. Coaching is not managing or rescuing. Coaching is asking good questions and guiding the reps as they think through the problem and figure out what to do. Good coaching develops stronger salespeople.

Good coaching develops stronger salespeople @LizRHeiman Click To Tweet

Listen – When you are coaching listen carefully to fully understand the situation. Listen for cues to use as triggers for guiding.

Ask – Ask questions to help you understand and to help them understand. Good questions provide aha moments that change immediate performance and future performance.

Guide – Ask what they think they should do, what information they need or what questions they could be asking. Offer suggestions and ask how they think that would work in this situation. Encourage them to try things. Let them know when you think something is a good idea and why.

4. Collaboration

It’s no fun to work alone all the time, and there is tremendous learning in working together. Make opportunities to collaborate.

Strategy Sessions – A great collaboration opportunity is a strategy session. Choose an opportunity to strategize as a team following a specific process. Everyone enjoys strategy sessions, they all feel good about the effort when they are done, and everyone learns in the process.

Key Account Plans – It is no longer sufficient to have one rep be fully responsible for major accounts. Put together a team of people who interact with the account and appoint a leader. Create a Key Account Plan and meet quarterly to make sure the team is on track achieving the goals around that account.

Brainstorming – Sales reps face the same issues all day long. Having the opportunity to work as a team to find solutions is a great idea. Asking good questions, value proposition, handling objections, and closing deals are all topics that are perfect for brainstorming. Take time each meeting to brainstorm about one of the topics above.

5. Celebration

The sales profession is full of obstacles, rejections, and disappointments.  Salespeople accept that as part of the job. It isn’t the fun part though. The fun part is the successes and those are a lot more fun when we celebrate them with others.

Celebrating successes helps your salespeople stay positive @LizRHeiman Click To Tweet

Successes – Start each sales meeting with everyone sharing a success. It doesn’t matter if it is closing a deal, getting an appointment, or getting a commitment that moves the deal forward. Whatever it is, celebrating successes helps salespeople stay positive.

Close Deals – Every deal is worth celebrating. Share the success at a meeting. Send an email with congratulations and copy the team. Do a happy dance. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as long as the salesperson gets the opportunity to celebrate with you.

Improvement – Don’t miss the little things. As sales reps are developing, they need encouragement. Make sure to notice that they are getting better at asking good questions, getting in touch with all the buying influences or closing deals when expected. Noticing the little things may make the big things happen more often.

Hitting Goals – Leaders are really good at beating up reps when they don’t hit their goals. Be equally excited when they do hit their goals. Of course, it’s expected, but it’s still worth celebrating.

You don’t need to micromanage your team to get the results you need. By putting consistent systems and expectations in place you will get better results and your team will be happier.  Start today. Think about what things you can clarify for your team and start adding those clarifications to the team meetings.


How do you plan to implement the 5 Cs in your sales organization? Leave a comment below!

Liz Heiman
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Liz Heiman

Sales leadership coach at Alice Heiman LLC
A strategic thinker, sales strategist, Japanist, and Rotarian, Liz is a coach, trainer, and prolific speaker on the topics of sales and sales leadership. Liz loves sales, and enjoys working with sales leaders to create strategies and processes that make sense AND bring in results.
Liz Heiman
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