Whether you’re managing a sales team for the first time or you’re a sales management veteran, this playbook is your home for sales management resources. Read through this guide for an intro to key sales management topics and check out the additional resources for more in-depth tips and information about how to manage a sales team.
Sales management is the process of developing, organizing, optimizing, and overseeing sales teams, strategies, and processes. The role of a sales manager includes hiring and managing sales representatives, setting goals, defining processes, and reporting results.
What goes into managing a sales team? Sales managers’ responsibilities range from creating company-wide sales strategies to managing day-to-day activities to hiring new sales representatives to build out their teams.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways sales managers can have an impact on their teams’ and their company’s success.
Discover some of the most impactful ways to create a successful sales team:
One essential role of a sales manager is creating and implementing a sales strategy that guides how the sales team functions. The sales strategy lays out a plan for how the team will reach its goals.
A sales strategy should define elements such as target markets and value propositions as well as the channels and tactics that will be used to achieve sales goals.
Developing and executing a sales strategy requires research, analysis, and collaboration, as the sales strategy should align with the company’s overall goals and incorporate the sales team’s knowledge. Sales managers should regularly review their sales strategies and refine them as needed.
Learn more about sales strategy:
Setting well-defined goals is an essential sales management strategy because it keeps sales team on track and lets sales representatives know what’s expected of them. Sales managers may set goals for key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales volume, customer acquisition, and revenue.
It’s helpful to break goals down by timeframe such as by year, quarter, and month and by the whole organization, by team, and by individual.
Learn more about setting sales goals:
A sales process defines the steps your sales team takes to convert prospects into customers. It creates consistency and accountability and gives your sales team a concrete plan for what to do when. Like with sales strategies, sales managers should regularly review and update their sales process.
Implementing your sales process in a CRM like Nutshell enables you to keep your process organized and automate elements of your process such as assigning leads to sales representatives and moving them through your pipeline.
Learn more about creating a sales process:
Through training and coaching, sales managers can elevate their team’s skills and performance. Sales managers might provide training themselves or plan and oversee training programs.
Trainings may cover product knowledge, sales techniques, customer service, and other relevant topics. Sales managers can provide coaching through one-on-one meetings, group sessions, or other formats and should tailor coaching to team members’ needs, experience, and skill levels.
Learn more about sales training and coaching:
Regular meetings, when run well, keep sales teams informed, aligned, and engaged. During these meetings, teams can discuss progress toward goals, challenges sales reps are facing, and opportunities for improvement and growth.
These meetings should be well-structured with a clear focus and agenda and opportunities for all team members to participate. Both one-on-one and team meetings can be valuable.
Explore these resources for tips on how to run effective sales meetings:
Another way sales managers can help their teams succeed is by making an effort to keep them motivated and inspired.
Some ways sales managers can inspire their teams include:
As a sales manager, you can gather feedback from your team on what motivates them so you can tailor your efforts to your team and individual reps.
Get more tips for motivating your sales team:
Managing team performance is another important aspect of how to manage a sales team. Team managers should monitor and regularly evaluate each sales rep’s performance and provide feedback.
This may involve reviewing performance data as well as listening in on or joining sales calls. These reviews keep managers up to date on potential issues and things that are working well. They can then address these issues individually or with the whole team if they apply to everyone.
Providing regular constructive, objective, and supportive feedback helps ensure sales reps are aware of their strengths, potential opportunities for improvement, and progress toward their goals.
Learn more about managing sales team performance:
The right resources and support are essential for sales teams’ success. It’s important to regularly check in with team members to make sure they have the tools they need to achieve their goals.
Sales managers should ensure their teams have access to the right resources such as:
Providing this support is often called sales enablement.
Learn more about sales enablement:
Sales managers also need to manage team dynamics to help set their teams up for success. This involves creating a positive culture, promoting collaboration, and managing conflicts.
Creating a positive team culture is key to team morale and performance. Sales managers can foster a positive team culture through clear communication, setting clear expectations, and providing recognition and support.
Providing opportunities for team members to get to know each other through events can also help improve a team’s culture and dynamics.
Another important role that sales managers have is establishing compensation expectations, including base salary and commission. Sales managers often work with other leaders in their organization on this task.
Learn more about sales commission structures:
Managing the team’s budget and resources involves ensuring the team has the resources it needs while staying within budget limitations. Sales managers may set budgets, track expenses, and determine how to allocate resources. Regularly reviewing budgets and adjusting them as needed helps ensure sales teams continue to have the resources they need.
Learn more about managing your team’s budget and resources:
Sales managers play an important role, along with talent acquisition teams, HR departments, and others in their organization, in recruiting and hiring new sales reps for their team.
Managers need to be able to identify their team’s personnel needs, find candidates that have the right skills and qualities, and recruit those candidates through job postings, networking, and other methods.
Retaining your sales team is another important area for sales managers to focus on. Many of the tips above, including keeping your team motivated, creating a positive team culture, and providing training and coaching, can help with this.
Check out these resources for tips on hiring an amazing sales team:
Creating a smooth onboarding process is essential for the success of your sales team. A well-designed onboarding process gets new team members up to speed quickly and helps them develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
Onboarding may include training on product knowledge, sales techniques, your sales process, and more. As a sales manager, you may handle onboarding and training directly or plan and oversee an onboarding program.
Get tips for onboarding sales reps here:
Sales managers need to track the effectiveness of their sales strategy and teams and progress toward their goals. Tracking, analyzing, and reporting KPIs makes this possible.
These reports and KPIs enable sales managers to adjust their sales strategy and processes as needed, provide the necessary training and coaching, ensure their teams are on track with their goals, and keep the sales team aligned with broader business objectives.
Learn more about KPIs for sales managers:
Some important reports for sales managers include:
Learn more about reporting:
Some important metrics to track include:
Learn more about sales metrics:
One of the most impactful ways sales managers can set their teams up for success is by ensuring they have the right tools and technology. Managers should evaluate their team’s needs and choose tools that are user-friendly, have the right features, and will help the team reach its goals.
Some important tools for sales teams include:
One of the most important tools for any sales team is CRM software. CRMs enable you to organize and track your sales processes, keep track of relationships with leads and contacts, automate elements of your sales process, and track your progress toward your goals.
Learn more about software for sales managers:
Some CRMs, like Nutshell, also include email marketing capabilities so you can use email to convert more leads and keep up with your customers right from your CRM.
Features you should look for in a CRM include:
The best sales managers are always learning new skills and sales management techniques, keeping up with the latest sales trends, and building their expertise. Check out the article below for some of the most helpful resources for sales managers, from blogs to books to newsletters.
Explore additional resources for sales managers:
Jump to: Back to top
Join 30,000+ other sales and marketing professionals. Subscribe to our Sell to Win newsletter!