4 Ways for Manufacturers to Improve Sales Management

Published March 16 2013 by David Kohar
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 Manufacturing organizations are constantly looking to improve their sales organizations and overall sales productivity. For many manufacturing organizations, the Sales Team will consistent of a range of experience from people with 30+ years of experience right through to college graduates. Each has their own unique way of looking at sales.

Here are 4 ways to help make improvements in the way that you are managing sales in your organization:

  1. Create a consistent Sales Process

    Having a consistent and understood Sales Process is critical to working effectively across the Sales Team. Having a common understanding of the Sales Stages that you are looking to put Opportunities into as well as how you want to look at "Probability" as well as "Committed" versus "Upside" forecasts is going to help the Sales Team run more effectively.

    In most Sales organizations that we work with, they typically look at the Sales Pipeline from these 3 critical dimensions:

    1. Sales Stage – these are the key steps and milestones that you typically see a deal progress through. For example, an opportunity may go through these 5 stages:
      1. Qualify
      2. Needs Assessment
      3. Presentation
      4. Quote
      5. Close
    2. Opportunity Rating – this represents the opinion of the Sales Team on how likely you are to win this opportunity. For example, an opportunity may get rated as:
      1. Commit
      2. Most Likely
      3. Upside
      4. No Position
    3. Weighted Pipeline – depending on the type of products and services that you sell and how you want to look at your pipeline, you may want to take the "Estimated Revenue" and multiply it by the "Probability" of winning. Probability can be driven off of Sales Stage (process centric approach) or Opportunity Rating (qualitative centric approach) to drive the Weighted Revenue Pipeline.
  2. Visualize your Sales Pipeline

    Most individuals can better analyze data that is presented visually. As you are reviewing the Sales Pipeline you will want to look at it from multiple perspectives. Having a Sales Stage picture of the Pipeline can be a valuable starting point but drilling in by Opportunity Rating, Weighted Revenue or Sales Team will help you "see" what deals that you want to get into the details on to help coach the team more effectively.

  3. Establish and track Goals & Quotas

    Every sales organization has Goals & Quotas that they need to achieve. Providing an easy way for every member of the Sales Team to be able to visualize their performance and that of the entire Sales Team as they progress through each fiscal period will help motivate them. Specifically, look at:

    1. Targets – What is the goal or quota
    2. Actuals – What has been achieved so far
    3. In progress – What is expected to be completed


  4. Keep on Top of the Pipeline

    Each Sales Team member is always going to have many opportunities that they are managing. What is critical is that they are staying on top of their entire Pipeline or at least the key Opportunities that they are working on or committing in their forecasts. If they haven't updated one of these opportunities in a week or the "Estimated Close Date" is now in the past, is that a potential issue? Having a way to notify the Sales Team and/or their managers when these events are taking place (or not taking place sometimes) will help ensure that key opportunities are not slipping through the cracks.

    Interested in how you can implement these 4 Best Practices for your organization? Reach out to me at david.kohar@zero2ten.com or find out more about Zero2Ten here on our website.

David has an extensive track record within the CRM marketplace and has been involved in the CRM industry since it began. His knowledge has established him as a leading expert in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. David leads Sales Support, Corporate Adoption Programs and Solutions for prospective and current customers.

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