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Smart Sales Management for Competitive Markets

Goldfish swimming other direction showing smart sales management
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It is important sales management accepts that participating in change is not an option as it affects their industry and company. Smart sales management swims against traditional thinking and modernises.

In the face of overwhelming change and diversity in the competitive landscape, it is often difficult to predict the future with any certainty. As such, sales management must have the flexibility to adapt to and harness changing markets to their advantage. In many cases, the results of such market upheavals cause the need for a shift in your thinking and actions. While this challenge can be difficult for some sales managers to adjust to, one thing is certain: you either can adapt or become redundant. This shift is now defining the careers of many sales professionals. Markets and competitors are unforgiving to the sales manager who resists change.

Successful sales management recognises that many of the traditional sales methods of the past are no longer applicable. There is often rhetoric for change, but the actual result of lasting change is minimal to non-existent. In order for sales managers to excel and support company growth, they must have the skills and commercial acumen to manage shifting markets.

Plateauing sales numbers, lost market share, and diminishing margins describe the gap between successful and non-performing companies. To address this gap and provide sustainable growth, strategically implemented change is required.

It is important for sales managers to accept that participating in change is not an option as it affects their industry and company. The now-defunct autonomous management style has lost relevance and has been replaced by the principles of active performance management and the empowerment of teams. Sales managers must be agile and prepared for action to address competitive markets.

Sales manager’s professional development and their transformation into active performance managers are crucial to the company’s ability to not only survive but prosper. This paradigm shift is the result of the continual analysis of their approach and an accurate self-reflection of their current circumstances.

What should smart sales management consider and adopt when a transformation is required to attain a competitive advantage:

Modernise internally
Smart sales management needs to embrace change and have the knowledge and skill set required for introducing new practices and methodologies for a sustainable competitive advantage. They are required to understand that to attain a competitive advantage, companies must be agile and have fostered a culture that accepts positive change. Companies that fail to adopt new practices, methodologies and technologies will struggle and lag behind the competition widening the gap between success and lacklustre performance.

Seek innovation
Smart sales management must always be seeking new ideas to implement in the business. This intelligence is drawn from a variety of sources, including new ideas and insights acquired by team members in the field. The team are on the front lines where they gather feedback from customers experiencing firsthand what the competition is offering. Sales managers should also do their research and explore innovation from other industries that can be adjusted to fit your industry and sales channels. Success requires a unique iteration and not a copy of what your competitors have already implemented.

Abandon Prejudices
Seasoned sales managers have ingrained personal prejudices resulting from a culmination of their past experiences and successes. Although these may have proved successful in the past, the repetition of these actions does not guarantee future success. Additionally, these pre-formed biases can hinder a sales manager’s ability to listen and provide resistance to the development and implementation of new ideas and concepts.

Sales managers, like all professional executives, must accept that what has worked for them in the past may no longer be effective. In addition, the fact that old processes may still be in place does not justify the absence of forward-strategic thinking. Every effort should be made objectively to evaluate changes for agility and the achievement of a sustainable competitive advantage.

Implement New Ideas
After the review and development of new ideas and the determination of their applicability, prioritisation and implementation become critical milestones to success. As part of this process, the sales manager must adopt a realistic stance on the viability and value of any innovation. They must understand why previous strategies have failed, and there is a need to improve their processes to offset the risk. Smart sales management learns from past failures as they provide assistance to the development of a successful future strategy.

Remove Barriers
Smart sales management must focus on removing barriers that hinder effectiveness, productivity, and efficiency. In the sales force, this can typically include excessive administrative procedures that constrain their ability to be effective salespeople in the field.

Be agile
Do not look for one big change or improvement. Many small tactical changes will keep the company more competitive than one large change. Once you have established a company that is agile and contemporary in its thinking and process, this newfound agility will support your strategic vision to excel in the market.

This comprehensive eBook provides an insight into the profile of those who lead successful transformations. Download your copy now.

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We assist companies and their sales managers to develop contemporary practices and fresh thinking to support an agile company in preparation for market effectiveness. Please contact our office to discuss your own specific situation and what you would like to achieve.

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About the Author: Adele Crane

A leader in Implementation Consulting.
CEOs and Managing Directors have relied on Adele Crane to solve challenges with the performance of their sales and marketing since 1990. Her consulting experience in delivering results in 90-120 days is unprecedented by any other known sales and marketing consulting professional in the world. As an author of 3 acclaimed books, appearances on major media, and publications in USA, NZ and Australia, Adele’s experience brings fresh thinking and contemporary practices to business.