Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

Through the course of your inside sales management career, you will encounter many challenges. If you fail to appropriately tackle these challenges, they could hamstring your company from achieving maximum success and even cost you your job.  These are 7 of the most common challenges you will encounter as an inside sales manager, with tips on how to rise overcome them:

1. Sales coaching

is one of your biggest responsibilities as a sales manager, and among the most difficult to successfully execute.  It is easy to become overwhelmed with your responsibilities and neglect the development of your reps.  Don’t try to tell your team what to do.  Instead, focus on helping them discover how to tackle different challenges and work through their individual problems.  While end results are important, the right process and a keen understanding of the process can be just as paramount.

2. Data-driven approaches and data analysis

should be a key asset to you and your team, but when applied incorrectly data can cause confusion and frustration.  You can’t get lost in spreadsheets while your team is waiting for your insight.  You also can’t be careless about your data or it could lead you could draw the wrong conclusions.  Use tools that help you organize, analyze and report so that you can easily understand the analysis and share these actionable insights with your team.  Good-quality data and the key sales performance metrics will help you diagnose problems in your sales process, leaks in your sales pipeline and separate your best reps from underperforming ones.

3. Time management

can be a tricky beast to tame. In such a fast-paced and constantly evolving position, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of responsibilities on your plate. Still, you need to stay on track and carve out enough time to focus solely on managing your reps.  You should be meeting with each member of your team individually as well as in a group.  Dedicate times slots in your calendar in advance to make sure you see everyone you need to see regularly.

4. Stepping back

from the act of selling can be really tough.  Chances are, you used to be a sales rep before becoming a sales manager.  Even if you weren’t, you might want to step in and close a deal if your reps seem to be in danger of losing it. You need to remember that you are not r job is to coach the reps and develop the sales strategy – you are not here to sell.  Trust your reps to do their job and allow them to make their own mistakes – and learn from them.

5. Maintaining consistency

is key for a sales manager, so why is it so hard?  You are going to want to treat some reps differently based on who you connect with better or who you trust more.  You might let your top sellers get away with using their own techniques rather than the company-established selling process.  You might expect one rep to make significantly more calls than another, even though they are at the same level.  This inconsistent management can’t happen.  The reps will notice that they are being treated differently, and will become frustrated.  Inconsistency from you will undermine your company culture.

6. Motivating reps

can be a challenging exercise, primarily in avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach.  What motivates some will not motivate others.  Some might want time off instead of bonuses.  Others will be more motivated by intrasquad competition.  Make a varied program based on coaching and rewards that will motivate each one of your team members.

7. Aligning with marketing

has never been easy for sales teams. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it – marketing and sales alignment is crucial to the success of your company.  You should have regular meetings with the marketing team just like you do with the sales team.  Make sure that you are united around common goals so that you can tackle selling together.  Each team should have their tasks clearly outlined so that they don’t end up overlapping. A prosperous relationship between marketing and sales can go a long way toward ensuring that the sales pipeline is always full of high-quality, marketing-provided leads that the sales team and work on closing.

What are some other common inside sales challenges you face as a sales manager? How do you work through them?

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