Our recent surveys and mingle events polls have confirmed that delivering profitable business growth remains a top priority for 2015 among European Senior leaders in Business to Business (B2B) companies. In today’s environment these senior leaders know they will face more pressure in 2015 to deliver on this business growth and will be expected to sell more, faster, and in some cases with fewer resources.

This post focuses on the business growth levers senior leaders can use in the area of sales and sales management. As we were previously advising it in our 2015 Business resolutions for New Year, those levers that can boost sales performance require an effective sales management covering certain issues:

  • How can I better leverage my sales managers to manage the desired sales roles in the organisation?
    Is this done systematically?
  • Do my sales managers drive the required behaviours of the different sales teams we have today?
  • How can my sales managers drive the desired changes that will help us get more business growth?
  • When was the last time we invested in our sales managers? Do we have the capabilities in place today?
  • Is there a common approach across our sales managers within my organisation?

B2B business leaders often overlook the importance of sales management and the critical role of their managers. The sales managers are the ones who steer (or should steer) a large number of sales representatives. They need to coach and guide sales representatives to ensure that they put their time and efforts where expected. Sales managers are essential to make sure that the key sales roles are executed as planned – ranging from sales coverage, account management, funnel and opportunity management, to customer meeting readiness, and even more.

Business leaders can find solutions to get more business growth from its sales management by answering to the following questions:

  • How to optimise sales coverage (Where do I assign my different sales representatives? On what should my
    sales farming team put the focus? Where should I assign my sales hunters? What role should my indirect
    channels play?)
  • How to do more business from our large “key accounts”? How to better execute account plans and tactics to
    ensure these generate new sales opportunities and wins?
  • How to enhance the success and conversion rates of our sales opportunities that are in our sales funnel?
  • How to improve the productivity and return from every sales customer visit and sales calls so that these
    generate more opportunities per visit?

Extensive research has been done by our partner Vantage Point Performance on how leading sales forces use data to manage their salespeople, and apply a set of frameworks that enables sales managers to sift through the data and identify the few key metrics that will drive increased sales results for each of the sales people.

The research has led to formal sales management approach, training programs and the bestselling book “Cracking The Sales Management Code®”. In 2014 this approach has been launched in Europe and several leading European companies have already deployed it to help get more business growth in addition to the many Fortune 500 companies and 1000 sales managers who have been trained on this method over the past 5 years.

For those of you who are looking for more specific information on the topic, we are organising two-day public workshops for sales managers in Belgium, France and Netherlands.