Even if you have a knack for closing deals or have effective brochures, advertising and website pages for generating individual sales, that’s often not enough to maximize your profits. Using a variety of sales management techniques to reach that extra 5 percent to 10 percent of your potential can mean the difference between keeping your head above water and generating profits that fund your continued growth and expansion.
Sales management includes more than tracking the business you book and providing support for your sales team. It starts with helping develop the right products, setting the right prices and distributing in the right places, and continues with marketing messaging, customer service and other selling efforts. All of these efforts must be coordinated so one doesn’t interfere any of the others. Setting plans, monitoring them and tracking results lets you continue to adapt, eliminate weaknesses and take advantage of opportunities.
Improves Product Development
A sales management program includes having your sales staff keep in close touch with customers and watching the competition to determine if your product line is as relevant as it can be. Adding a new product to your line, changing or eliminating features or dropping items from your product mix can all help you maximize your sales and profits. Conduct regular reviews of what you sell to make sure you offer the optimal product or service to generate high sales volumes and profit margins.
Sales reports not only provide you with information about what’s selling and how much you’re selling, but where you are making your sales. A sales management program evaluates your distribution methods and maximizes their use. For example, if your online sales are strong but your retail volumes are lagging, you might find this is because customers get more information when they shop online, helping them buy with confidence. To improve retail sales, you might provide better retailer training, more in-store promotions and change your product packaging.
Better Financial Decisions
Some of your best-selling products, in terms of volume, might provide your lowest profit margins, causing a burden on your production and administration departments. Detailed sales reports provide you with information on your overhead and production costs, cost-of-sales expenses and profit margins. A low-margin item with high sales volumes might provide a nice profit margin, making it a no-brainer item to keep in your line. If you can eliminate this item, causing a corresponding increase in higher-margin item sales, you might want to discontinue selling it. Sales management looks at the profit contribution, opportunity cost and impact of carrying each product on your operations.
Improves Staff Quality
A sales plan is only as good as the people who use it, and a key part of any sales management program is recruiting, training and managing sales staff. This includes developing their product knowledge, coaching them on calls, improving writing and presentation skills and helping them work their territories effectively.