8 Key Strategies for Field Sales Management
January 23, 2023
Field sales management has always been a challenge. Managing a team that isn't onsite requires unique strategies to help them grow and be successful. Your bottom line is highly equated to their success. If a sales manager is a fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants person, they are setting the whole team up for failure. One of the most valuable things you can provide for your sales team is your time. Here are eight strategies that will help you successfully manage your field sales team.
One of the most important strategies to have is to maintain clear communication with your field sales reps and to encourage them to practice good communication skills when in the field. People lead by example. Poor communication quite often results in confusion in expectations, low morale, and loss of sales.
2. 30-60-90 day plan
You can't expect a new sales rep to go out on day one and just kill it. It's important to start at the beginning by teaching them about your company, processes, and procedures the first 30 days. In the next phase, they can begin implementing what they learned. The final phase is a good time to refine processes from examining the previous 30 days. What worked, what didn't and what could be improved. When sales reps have reasonable, measurable goals, they tend to take pride in their work and sales increase.
3. Frequently provide feedback
Providing feedback lets sales reps know what they are excelling at and what they could do better. Feedback isn't only for negative things. When positive feedback is given, it reinforces pride in their job performance and boosts morale. If feedback only comes in the form of negativity, sales reps can't grow and will become frustrated and underperform, and sales will suffer.
4. Make use of project management tools
Having your field sales team be successful without providing them with a way to manage tasks will result in disaster. Project management tools help everyone stay organized and on task. It provides sales reps with clear guidelines and expectations. It will also provide you with greater visibility into individual and team performance that will help you provide them with feedback so they can grow.
5. Consistent coaching and training
This goes hand in hand with providing frequent feedback and making use of project management tools. In order to provide useful and productive feedback and coach your team, you need to be able to identify what they need. Training can range from customer communication skills, the steps in the sales process, and giving a good sales demonstration. There's really no limit to the training and coaching you provide for your field sales team. When it is done on a regular basis, sales reps gain valuable skills to help them be successful in the field.
6. Hire the right people
Not everyone is cut out to be a salesperson. Someone who is introverted and can't maintain eye contact wouldn't be a good candidate. Salespeople should be enthusiastic and eager to listen as well as learn. It's a valuable skill to know that sometimes you can learn much more by listening than by talking. But they should also be able to play conversational tennis. We’ve all met someone and, after a few minutes of talking with them, have thought, "there's a salesperson for sure."
7. Reward your reps
It shouldn't go unnoticed when a salesperson reaches or exceeds the goals you set in the 30-60-90 day plan and beyond. It doesn't have to be a big celebratory event. There are many ways to reward a team member who has gone above and beyond. Maybe you offer them a gift card for a coffee, assign them a special (usually close to the building) parking spot for the week, or give them a shoutout at your weekly sales meeting or in the company newsletter. Never let their victories go unnoticed.
8. Always lead by example
You can't expect your sales team to be successful if the person managing it doesn't practice what they preach. Field sales managers need clear communication, consistent training and coaching, access to project management tools, and to receive frequent feedback (this can even come from your sales team). It's impossible to know how you are doing if someone doesn't provide feedback.
Being an effective field sales manager doesn't mean you'll always get it right. Mistakes will be made. Do it with dignity and class. Show your sales team that it is ok to make mistakes and, even more importantly, learn from them.
The better equipped with knowledge and resources your field sales reps are, the more successful they will be and run like a well-oiled machine.
See what Perenso's field sales software can do to increase your team's sales and efficiency: