The Sales Manager Review Process Explained


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The sales manager’s review is the most important part of the job. It’s the quality control over the critical business process – creating revenues, happy customers, referrals, publicity case studies. It’s the management control over the life blood of the business – cash flow. It’s the best source of market intelligence. It’s where anything going wrong gets noticed first.

Back in the old days, sales managers didn’t need a review process to check on their reps sales deals. They went on the important calls, and did most of the serious selling.

Businesses could afford to be inefficient. Reps would park in the centre of business districts, walk around calling in every office and asking who the contact should be. Next day would be follow up on the phone, trying to set a date for an introduction call. If the contact showed interest, the sales manager would show up, make the pitch, ask for commitment to the next steps, agree a buy/sell process for the rep to work on.

He’d come back when things got serious, play the heavy hitter, make the pitch, and close the deal. The sales manager was the closer, making money for everybody. The sales rep was at the bottom of the food chain, the prospect acquisition function, the hunter.

Outputs from Sales Reviews
Sales reps cost too much to get paid for walking the streets. These days, they need to produce revenues, themselves. Sales managers’ jobs are more complex too . They need to make sure what’s in the forecast is real, without calling on every prospect. They need to find ways of improving the performance of sales operations.
They need to find ways of achieving more, with less.

The sales manager’s review is the single most important part of the job. It’s the quality control over the ultimate business process – creating revenues, happy customers, referrals, publicity case studies. Most important, its the management control over the life blood of the business – cash flow. Reviews result in more accurate sales forecasts, improvements in plans for winning sales, and real time market intelligence.

Forecasts are no longer based on guesses, but on milestones achieved – objective, measurable, progress against the plan. There’s no need to rely on a sales rep’s instinct, to calculate weighted probability.

Milestones show how well the sale is progressing, and how likely it is to succeed, highlighting any need for additional action.

Changes in market dynamics – competitor strategies, customer sentiment, external influences – show up first in what customers say, and reported in reviews.

Template for Sales Reviews
No two businesses are the same, and there’s no single recipe for an review process, but this example offers a template for sales managers to use in developing their own.

Our sales review is when we’ll qualify with the hard questions like:
  1. Why will this prospect buy and when?
  2. Is there a budget and a business case to keep the accountants happy?
  3. Who will make the final decision?
  4. What, and who, are the alternatives to our offer?
  5. How do we persuade the prospect we’re the preferred solution and vendor?
  6. Bid or No Bid – this is a deal we want to invest scarce resource in chasing?
Then we’ll be able to plan the sale.
  1. What will we do, and when? Who will be scheduled to do it?
  2. What will the prospect do, and when?
  3. Which milestones make sense?
  4. Which actions achieve those milestones?
  5. Who will be responsible for the those actions?
Along the way we’ll make notes, collect correspondence and other documents supporting our decisions.

By the end of the review we’ll know what we know, what we don’t know, what we need to find out, and what we need to achieve in our process. We’ll have a plan, and we’ll have something to measure our progress against.

Next review we’ll check back against that plan, find out if something which was supposed to work didn’t, and decide what to do about it. We’ll amend the plan, and collect new information in the process. And we’ll have a file of everything in one place we can refer to whenever we need.

Our chances of winning the sale will increase, and our risk of wasting resource by losing the deal will decrease. We’ll walk away when it seems we can’t win.

Reviews for You
In this blog, and our other site, we’re in danger of boring readers with seemingly endless comment about planning, and the management theory Plan, Act, Review.
We’ll make no apology for that. The sales manager review is the perfect example, demonstrating the why and the how.

You might think this is an awfully complex approach to managing something as simple as a sale. But even in the context of the simplest proposition, there are major benefits.
  • Evaluating what works and what doesn’t gives you the chance to get better.
  • Collecting information from prospects tells you what’s going on in your market.
  • You now have a management process you can improve as you learn more.
  • You’ll know when what you’re doing doesn’t work, and have an idea of what to do about it.
And even more understandably you’ll think you just don’t have the systems support to make it work. That’s why we built Front Office Box, and why it works the way it does.

Front Office Box is the ideal tool for small businesses to use in reengineering their sales.
Why doesn’t the traditional approach to selling and sales management work so well any more? What can the modern sales professional do to stay relevant in today’s customer driven markets? Check out our eBook Reengineering Sales Management for ideas on how to embrace the new order of customer driven buyer/seller relationships.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Reeves
Consultant, author, software entrepreneur, business development professional, aspiring saxophonist, busy publishing insight and ideas. Boomer turned Zoomer - thirty year sales professional with experience selling everything from debt collection to outsourcing and milking machines to mainframes. Blogger at Successful Sales Management. Head cook and bottle washer at Front Office Box.


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