Three Things that Keep Sales Managers from Making Intelligent Decisions

Author: 
Reza Mohsin, CEO of Speakeasy

When it comes to the productivity, effectiveness and overall success of sales teams, data is key. Having accurate and useful data can make or break a sales team, but on the other side of that coin, focusing too much time and resources gathering, analyzing and reporting data can be a hindrance to a successful sales cycle as well.

 The problem becomes even more complex because of a dissonance between those who desire data (sales managers) and those who are, or should be, creating the data (sales development reps, sales account executives and others). Managers want data to ensure they are making the best decisions, but sales reps know time is money and constantly feel the pressure of hitting their numbers, often using phrases like “smile and dial.” But many times that’s not enough to ensure powerful products make it to the hands of the customer. The mantra sales should really be focusing on is “work smarter, not harder,” or better yet, “work smarter AND harder.”

Meeting quotas is important, but taking the time to input data can have exponential returns. Sales managers need to fully understand the inner workings of the team and ensure they’re not only hitting quotas, but that they’re doing it in the most efficient way possible. Here are three hurdles I’ve found sales managers come up against when trying to get a clear picture of their teams’ performance.  

Pipeline Visibility
Not having insight into the companies or individuals your sales staff is working with can create confusion within the organization and even disrupt deals. Detailed visibility into companies and individuals their teams are meeting with enables sales managers to properly support account executives in the deal-making process. Maybe the product is a great fit, and the customer is interested, but the account executive isn’t meeting with the right decision maker.

Sales managers also need to analyze the correlation between meetings and opportunities. This allows managers to identify trends and outliers that help with refining the sales process. If one particular rep is closing a higher percentage of his deals, there could be an approach that would benefit widespread deployment across the sales organization.

Process Compliance
Ensuring deals are progressing appropriately and moving down the sales funnel in the right way is key to hitting the quota. However, many reps look at parts of the process as unimportant.

Logging calls is a big part of process compliance and ensures managers have the data intelligence to better understand the needs of their sales organizations. Finding ways to automate the logging of calls, and extraction of the team’s data, can streamline process compliance and simplify account administration for sales reps. By reducing the hassle of logging calls, managers can ensure team members complete every necessary step in the compliance process. As a bonus, having everyone on the team working in the same systems maximizes time and increases visibility.

Time
It’s not uncommon for an average sales team to be using several disparate tools to run their processes. This hodgepodge of systems makes it difficult for sales managers to find the time required to unlock the intelligence within their CRMs and other management tools.

Creating processes that deliver the information you need, when you need it, with minimal time investment and effort is essential to understanding how your teams operate. However, data shows 71 percent of sales representatives say they spend too much time on data entry, so these processes need to require little-to-no time investment.

At Speakeasy, we’ve noticed that account executives spend much of their time logging and trying to keep an accurate record of what they’re doing. Switching between apps and taking notes, sharing files, sending meeting summaries and logging information in different places often makes it feel like technology is impeding the sales process instead of enabling it. And when you consider sales personnel are paid on deals closed, and not deals logged, it becomes easy to see why data might not be 100 percent accurate.

The key to an optimized sales team is maximizing efficiency in these three areas with minimal effort. Sales managers can help make this happen by employing the right tools for their teams – tools that simplify the sales process instead of making it more complex.

It’s also important to remember that each team member in the sales cycle can benefit from different tools. For example, sales development representatives have tools such as InsideSales.com. Customer success and retention managers can benefit from tools like Gainsight. My team at Speakeasy is focused on tools that enable sales account executives. Using the right tool for the job, and employing effective processes, that increase pipeline visibility, ensure process compliance, and save time, will take your sales team to the next level so you can all close more deals and keep customers happy.

Reza Mohsin is CEO of Speakeasy, providers of a sales acceleration and engagement system.