It doesn’t matter what industry you’re focused on – If you want your field sales team to succeed, you need to exhibit strong field sales management skills.
Few people understand the complexities of the field sales process. If a field rep books a few lunches with prospects, then follows up with a few rounds of golf at the local country club, sales opportunities will not just magically appear in the pipeline.
To close deals, field sales managers need to design effective sales strategies, teach their reps how to implement them, and measure team performance to ensure the success of their departments.
We want to help you out! So in this article, we’ll look at the top field sales management challenges and a few best practices to overcome them.
Challenges in Field Sales Management
Hitting revenue numbers is the biggest challenge that field sales managers face. But, it’s not the only thing you need to worry about – there are other, more tactical, obstacles to think about, too.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most prominent ones.
Monitoring Sales Rep Activity
How do your reps spend their on-the-clock hours? For inside sales managers, this is an easy question to answer. They simply observe their team at their desks.
Field sales managers don’t have this luxury. Instead, your reps spend a significant portion of their time on the road, meeting with potential customers. So monitoring them requires a different approach, namely an investment in modern technology.
Monitoring reps is about something other than trust. It’s about learning which sales tactics work and which should be abandoned—then updating sales strategies to match.
Ensuring Rep Productivity
Are your field reps getting enough done on a daily basis? Once you figure out how to monitor their activity (see above), you can answer this question with confidence.
The question is, how do you improve rep productivity when it starts to lag? Again, modern technology can help. Tools like SPOTIO were built to help field sales teams minimize data entry tasks, design more efficient sales routes, and more.
Note: We’ll talk more about the benefits of SPOTIO for field sales teams in a bit.
Motivating Sales Reps
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face as a field sales manager is keeping your reps motivated. But, if you do, your department will stay strong.
Sadly, there are a ton of things that can demotivate good sellers. Problems at home, the weariness associated with constant travel, a sales slump, etc.
Proper field sales management will only solve some of these problems. But it can definitely help with the majority of them. For example, optimizing sales strategies can help get reps out of sales slumps and back to closing deals.
Hiring and Retaining High-Performing Reps
Studies show that the average sales rep tenure is 18 months. However, according to Xactly Insights, it takes the average sales rep 3 to 5 years to hit peak performance.
What does this mean? It means that most sales reps never achieve their full potential. They need to stick around longer to reach their goals. As a field sales manager, you have to figure out a way to overcome this challenge.
A solid sales strategy, good commission structure, and access to technology that makes the life of a sales rep more convenient are good places to start.
Coaching and Mentoring Sales Reps
To succeed in field sales management, you must commit to coaching and mentoring your sales reps. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to host weekly one-on-one sales meetings, go on regular field rides with each rep under your leadership, schedule group, and individual training seminars, etc.
If you prioritize these things, you may be able to do a few more coaching sessions per week, but it will come at the expense of other priorities.
As a field sales manager, you must learn how to coach your reps and handle your everyday tasks successfully. Being an effective coach will require expert time management skills.
Field Sales Management Best Practices
So, what does it take to succeed at field sales management? Great question!
The truth is everyone has their management style. But the following best practices will almost always help you guide your field sales reps to greater success.
Equip Your Team With the Right Tools
Your reps won’t reach their full potential without quality tools. Once they can automate data entry tasks, schedule sales emails and texts, optimize their routes between prospects, etc., they’ll become more productive and close more deals.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to spend hours researching these kinds of solutions. You just need to invest in SPOTIO, which will allow your reps to do all these things—plus a bunch of other cool stuff. We’ll talk more about SPOTIO soon.
Set Minimum Daily Sales Activities
Don’t leave your reps to their devices. Make sure they complete a minimum number of sales activities every day. Doing so will increase their chances of success.
Notice how we said “sales activities” and not “results.” You should not ask your reps to close X deals per day or week. Instead, ask them to make a certain amount of calls, send a certain amount of emails and texts, etc.
Why is this important? Because your reps can control these things, which largely come down to effort. They have much less control over whether someone buys.
Automate Your Sales Process
Your field sales team has a HUGE advantage over field sales teams of yesteryear: automation. Make sure you take full advantage of this opportunity!
Stop forcing your reps to complete data entry tasks—which they hate and waste time. Stop relying on your reps to remember when to follow up with prospects. Get a solid software (see above) to do these things for your team.
Tools like SPOTIO will enable you to automate everything from administrative tasks to entire sales sequences. Doing so is key to effective field sales management.
Map Strategic Sales Territories
Territory management is essential. If you cut and assign territories the right way, your reps will be able to sell effectively. They might not have enough prospects. Or have too many prospects to keep track of. Both are no bueno.
Instead, make sure that each territory is clearly marked and includes the right amount of leads. Then assign them to the most qualified rep.
(Surprise! This is way easier to do with a proper sales territory management tool.)
Promote Rep Accountability
As mentioned, managing field sales reps can be difficult because they spend so much time away from the office. How do you ensure that time is well spent?
Promote rep accountability by tracking rep travel paths with SPOTIO. That way you always know where they go on company time and how long they stay there. (Note: this feature can be turned off if it makes your reps uncomfortable.)
Just remember, the goal of this feature isn’t to hound your reps. It’s to acquire data, which you can then use to coach them to greater sales success.
Provide an Attractive Compensation Structure
Motivating your reps is one of the challenges you need to overcome as a field sales manager. The easiest way to do this is to offer a stellar commission structure.
When your reps feel well compensated for their efforts, they’ll work harder. Why wouldn’t they? Every hour they spend grinding equals more money in their pockets. And sales reps, like everyone else, always appreciate more money.
Create Friendly Competition
The best field sales teams work together to achieve goals. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stoke the competitive fires now and again. In fact, you should do this.
One of the best ways is to use SPOTIO’s Leaderboards feature or a similar tool. With it, you can track and display specific metrics for each rep on your team. You can then offer prizes to individuals who come out on top each month.
Then again, who needs prizes when one can have bragging rights instead?
Enable Cross-Training Among Reps
Cross-training is what happens when successful sellers take new and/or struggling sellers under their wings and teach them how to close deals consistently.
Cross-training is one of the best things you can do for your field sales team.
Be careful, though. Your top sellers might bristle when asked to mentor other reps. We don’t suggest forcing them to do so if it makes them uncomfortable.
Look for effective sellers who want to train up others. Then pair them with struggling reps and watch as their sales numbers begin to improve.
Simplify Field Sales Management With SPOTIO
As a field sales manager, you have an important job. It’s up to you to make sure your field sales team is motivated, prepared, and able to close deals. To do this, you’ll need to overcome numerous challenges, as we discussed above.
Fortunately, this isn’t an impossible task. If you implement the best practices we just talked about, you’ll begin to excel at field sales management.
This is especially true if you invest in field sales software like SPOTIO. With our industry-leading app, you and your team will be able to:
Manage Sales Activities: Know which sales activities your reps complete on a daily basis and the results each one generates with SPOTIO’s sales tracking feature.
Generate New Leads: Use Lead Machine to find high-quality prospects. The tool’s 200+ filters will help you pinpoint red-hot buyers in a matter of seconds.
Automate Sales Processes: Simplify data entry tasks, send emails and texts automatically, and easily plan entire sales sequences with automation.
Manage Sales Territories: Quickly divide territories based on geographical data, then assign them to the most qualified reps and track performance.
Report on Sales Strategies: Dig into the exact metrics and KPIs you care about, then easily add said metrics and KPIs to your custom sales reports.
Request a free demo of SPOTIO today to see if it’s the right field sales tool for you!