Does your sales team need project management?
You may have wondered this before (or maybe it hasn’t come up). Either way, there’s a strong argument for managing sales projects just like you would any other agency deliverables.
If you want to set your sales department up for big success, using traditional project management principles may be the strategy you’re looking for.
How would project management increase your sales team’s productivity, elevate client satisfaction, and set your agency apart from your competition? Read on for those answers and more.
What is project management?
When we say “project management,” we mean the practice of planning, collaborating, reviewing, and delivering a product or service within a deadline.
A sales project manager, along with other participants and stakeholders, often handles the expectations and outcomes of a project plan. Setting milestones, addressing obstacles, adjusting workflows, and communicating progress are some of the relevant integral project management actions.
Sales project management integrates the precision of project management with the dynamism of sales.Managed effectively, itacts as a linchpin in the fast-paced agency environment we all operate in today, ensuring sales professionals meet their targets.
The intersection of sales and project management
Traditional sales tactics may not produce the results they once did. Today’s buyers have more businesses competing for their attention, and more competition means your team has to work harder for its piece of the pie.
The structured project management approach can give your sales reps the leg up they need. By increasing sales process efficiency, sales project management helps them attain success. This success, of course, translates into higher revenue for your agency.
Benefits of project management for sales
Implementing project management tools into your agency’s strategic sales plan allows you to reap some exciting rewards that can have long-ranging effects.
Unclear goals and murky timelines can wreak havoc on a sales team’s performance. Succinct expectations about sales activities, like prospecting, demonstrating, and negotiating, ensure each member of the salesforce knows their target.
Sales project management eliminates ambiguity, which can cause frustration, miscommunications, and wasted time.
The sales cycle benefits from open communication with other salespeople and across departments. Sales pros who can easily engage in dialogue with client success, IT, accounting, and marketing can close more business and decrease the time it takes to do it. Structured project management fosters a collaborative environment, bridging gaps between departments for a united goal.
Effective resource allocation
Would you rather get $10,000 worth of work from your salespeople or $15,000? The answer’s obvious — right?
Using every resource to your agency’s advantage is a pivotal element of success. This includes your sales resources.
Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sales “strategies” waste resources and don’t offer the return on investment (ROI) you could have achieved.
Project management software like Teamwork.com is especially valuable in productively managing your agency’s sales resources, offering:
A bird’s-eye-view of the project’s progress
Improved time management and organization
Without a project management initiative, your sales team may stare at the clock and wonder where their day went. Meticulous time tracking can enhance efficiency, ensuring productive sales activities, timely customer engagements, and follow-ups.
Project management software with time-tracking tools deduces how salespeople spend their time. They also show your team what they should do to achieve their goals.
Accountability and ownership from team members
Improving the visibility of your sales operations makes everyone more accountable. Delegating tasks clearly fosters a sense of responsibility and ownership among team members.
When sales reps own their activities, they’re more motivated to perform well, meet due dates, and exceed customer needs.
Key components of sales project management
A few elements make up a successful project management strategy:
Defining objectives and project goals
“Sell as much as you can” might sound like a great goal on paper, but it isn’t practical. To drive the entire sales project forward, you need to think about where you want your sales team to go. Once you determine this trajectory, you can create a plan that maximizes resources and reduces challenges to get there.
Planning milestones and strategy
Breaking projects into smaller chunks helps stakeholders focus on what’s important and keeps them from getting overwhelmed. Plotting consistent milestones guides teams toward their final objective.
Considering potential risks
Several internal and external situations can cause projects to stall. Proactively anticipating challenges and crafting mitigation strategies keep the project moving forward.
Keeping communication channels open
Transparent communication helps successful sales teams avoid misunderstandings and stay aligned with the overall goal. Using a project management software’s collaboration feature and messaging tools makes tasks smoother and keeps everyone in the loop.
Managing time and delegating tasks effectively
Leaders must understand each stakeholder’s strengths to create the most efficient project plan possible. This information allows them to assign tasks and establish workflows that make the most of everyone’s strengths.
Identifying wins and challenges after the project closes
Agencies can learn a lot from analyzing previous projects.
What fell short?
Is there a better way to do things??
Answering these questions helps refine future sales strategies and continuously improve project performance.
Common challenges in sales project management (and how to overcome them)
Even with the most honed project management skills, handling sales projects will inevitably cause issues that threaten success.
Understanding the problems sales teams most frequently run into offers insight into how to handle them to minimize their impact.
Scope creep occurs when a project’s demands and requirements exceed the agreed-upon expectations. Unfortunately, it’s a common and costly problem for many agencies. Left unchecked, it can quickly siphon off the most significant part of your profits.
For example, say a client agreed to a fundamental website overhaul. During the project, however, they insisted on weekly check-in meetings and slowly started adding pages to the update list.
Some helpful strategies to keep the project scope operating within its defined boundaries are:
Clear documentation: Establish a detailed contract that lays out every project stage and requires both parties to read and sign it.
Regular client check-ins: Schedule periodic meetings (either virtual or in-person) to discuss progress and next steps. Frequent communication decreases the chances of client expectations getting out of control. Every stakeholder should log the takeaways into your customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Feature prioritization: Before the project starts, pinpoint the client’s priorities and verbalize them. As the task moves forward, mention these priorities to maintain alignment.
Project templates: Using pre-built templates that break the project into portions with established timelines helps minimize scope creep.
Friction between departments can stem from different opinions and ideas. Find ways around these issues by fostering unity.
Joint alignment meetings: If every stakeholder sees how others impact the outcome, they may be more inclined to soften their stances during conflict.
Regular syncs: Transparency is valuable to show everyone the contributions others make to the sales project. This clarity can rouse the “all for one!” motivation.
Establishing rules and guidelines: Setting basic rules for engagement and respectfulness serves as a loose outline for what’s acceptable. Leading by example is also helpful for forging diversity and inclusion.
Training sessions: Knowledge is power, which makes training a smart way to empower every team member and show them that they’re valuable.
Changing market dynamics
Fluctuations in the economy, increases in competition, changes in material costs and deliveries, and many other external factors can cause serious obstacles to your sales project. Building adaptability and agility into your plan is crucial for staying on track.
Additionally, the sales project manager should continuously monitor information about the project and listen carefully to the feedback loop that team members and clients share.
Many sales projects run short of labor, money, or both. Not having enough resources to fulfill the project within the set deadline may mean you have to reassign tasks to other team members and find ways to shave off steps.
Fortunately, implementing automation can help resolve many resource constraints.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Not putting enough thought and research into your planning can cause you to fail, too.
Miscalculating sales forecasts based on incorrect or incomplete information can cause you to not plan for enough labor, miss deadlines, and clog up your workflow. Using data-driven prediction methods from automated software algorithms can increase your forecast’s accuracy and help your team excel efficiently.
Let Teamwork.com guide your sales project management efforts
Agencies can use several methodologies for managing their sales teams. By employing sales project management techniques, everyone involved understands the goals, timelines, and their assigned responsibilities.
It helps keep costs in line, reduces risk, fosters agency-wide collaboration, and aids sales teams in meeting — and surpassing — their goals.
Teamwork.com’s user-friendly dashboard, workflow management, communication features, and robust reporting allow you to plan, implement, and review projects from beginning to end.