Every company exists to sell some kind of product or service, to make profits. That is how capitalism works. Sales management is the most important of all managerial processes, that sustain a business.
What is a Sales Management Process?
This process includes all the aspects, resources, and procedures involved in selling. It begins where the manufacturing process ends. It involves every transaction, from the deployment of a product from the assembly line, to its delivery to the customer, and its followup service.
It also involves reverse feedback from the customers to the company, with a purpose of making the product better, ultimately leading to an increase in revenue.
Steps in the Process
Every managerial process is a chain of tasks, dependent on human resources, for its completion. The success of the whole process, in the form of increased sales revenue and profits, depends on the efficient execution of tasks, at every level. Let us see the various steps involved in this process, irrespective of the product or service being sold.
Step 1: Sales Training
This step is reached after the initial field testing of the product is done, where it has been sold in limited amounts, in select localities, to test its response. Necessary improvements have been made, according to field test feedback and now the product is ready to be sold, along with a full-fledged marketing campaign, that is ready to boost sales.
The important task that remains is training the sales representatives about the product. They are educated about all the pros and cons associated with the product and taught what to say and what not to say, when selling it.
Also, they are given sales targets for a month and assigned to different regional sales divisions. An important part of their training is learning selling techniques through various distribution channels.
Step 2: Sales Plan Execution
It involves various modes of selling, which are coupled with marketing campaigns for the product sale. This is the toughest part of the whole process and it's all up to the sales representatives and managers to make it happen. It all depends upon the salesmanship talents of the people who actually interact with end customers.
It involves taking in product inquiries from potential customers, following them up with personal calls or visits and ultimately closing the deals. The ratio of sales inquiries to closed deals or sales is called the 'Conversion Rate'. More the rate, more is the probability of the sales team actually meeting targets.
Step 3: Feedback and Analysis
This step involves review and feedback of the sales performance. Sales force management has a huge impact on the performance. The sales targets, if achieved, are applauded, while sales targets which fall short, are examined. Both cases are explored and the data for this evaluation is retrieved from sales representatives and studied by managers.
The reason for low sales are examined, right from shortcomings in the product or incompetence on the part of sales representatives. The feedback is used to make changes in management techniques.
The most important ingredient, which make a process stand out is experienced sales managers, who have an excellent understanding of ground realities and who know what the customers really want.