How to Effectively Manage an Outside Sales Team

Creating a sales app and setting up key performance indicators (KPIs) are two ways to do it.

Whether you have a 4000-strong or a three-person sales team, managing sales reps is no easy feat. The focus of this article is outside sales management.

Outside sales reps work hard to bring more business. And it’s essential that they feel supported and part of an organization. 

Creating a sales app and setting up key performance indicators (KPIs) are two ways to do it.

In this article, you’ll find more such tips required to manage your outside sales team. But before that, let’s cover the basics. 

What is Outside Sales?

Selling products or services to customers via in-person meetings is called outside sales. 

The employees responsible for face-to-face sales are outside sales representatives. And they are part of your outside sales team.

Research indicates that 71% of the sales force comprises outside sales reps. They meet prospects:

  • in their office, 
  • or in a restaurant
  • at home
  • at trade shows, industry events, etc.

Also known as field sales reps, they spend most of their working hours outside the office.

Field sales reps have a higher closing rate and strong customer relationships. Some findings put the closing rate at 40%. 

But the benefits aren’t without challenges. Managing a field sales team is one such challenge.

The following section addresses the top outside sales management strategies.

Take a look: 

6 Tips to Manage Outside Sales Team

The six actionable tips below will help you realize their full potential: 

  1. Leverage Sales Tools

Technology is the cornerstone of effective outside sales management.

You want to invest in tools such as:

Most of these tools either have a free plan or a free trial. Yet, finding the right set of technology for managing outside sales reps can be a chore.

With a custom mobile sales app, you can build the most relevant features for your business.

A custom mobile app is 100% tailored to your business requirements. Hence, it’s a great option for successful outside sales management. For instance, think about an app for sales rep, this app will not only help you co-ordinate with your sales representative but also boosts the overall productivity of the sales team.

About 41% of salespeople reported in a study that the most valuable sales tool is a smartphone. Hence, a smartphone with a custom sales app makes perfect sense for an outside sales team.

Building an iOS sales app and android sales app isn’t difficult either. For instance, you can create the best app for sales reps with platforms like Zorp. Zorp help you build custom tools in under 10 minutes! 

2.    Provide Consistent Training

While most companies provide training during onboarding, they don’t provide it consistently. But that’s a costly mistake. 

With the changes in technology and customer preferences, your sales reps must upskill. Moreover, they must stay updated with industry-specific and product knowledge. 

As per research, sales training can increase reps' performance by 20%, on average. Thus, training should be an indispensable part of your outside sales management strategy. 

Ensure the training material is clear and concise so your sales reps don’t feel disengaged. 

3.    Offer Incentives

Companies with an incentive program have a 79% success rate when achieving goals. For effective outside sales management, try utilizing rewards and recognition. 

Every employee desires acknowledgement and appreciation. Sales reps are no exception. But while planning an incentive program, seeking their feedback is important. 

After all, if the rewards aren’t relevant to them, they won’t be motivated to perform their best. You can use survey tools like SurveyMonkey and Zoho Survey to get feedback. 

Rewards can be something as lavish as a paid vacation or small as a day off. It depends on you and your outside sales reps. 

4.    Identify KPIs

You need key performance indicators (KPIs) to manage your outside sales team. Depending on your business requirements, you can identify relevant KPIs. 

Here are some KPIs for sales reps to get you started:

  • Average deal size:

When comparing the closing rates, also consider the average deal size. This way, reps won’t go after deals that are easier to close but are worth pursuing.

  • Sales volume by location: 

This KPI measures sales volume across various locations. It helps you identify the product demand by region. 

If demand is high in certain areas, you can assign your best outside sales rep to get the most business. Try sending other sales reps on rotation to compare the same region's performance.

  • Upsell and cross-sell rates:

Your existing customers are the most qualified leads. Upsell and cross-sell rates tell you which product pitches they respond well with. And which rep is excellent at selling Product X than Product Y.

  • Existing client satisfaction:

Send email surveys with net promoter scores to gauge satisfaction.

You can set up as many KPIs as needed. Use these KPIs to improve your training and incentive program as well. 

5.    Encourage Open Communication

The field sales team should feel comfortable communicating with management and leadership. They look to you for best practices, answers, and guidance. 

It’s only possible by creating a culture of open communication in the company. And it begins with the leadership.

Without open communication, you can't manage sales reps.

6.    Encourage Teamwork

An outside sales team often needs to converse with the inside sales team. To ensure that the communication is seamless, managers must promote teamwork.

You can try team-building activities like:

  • Trivia lunches
  • Scavenger hunts (virtual or in-person)
  • Campfires
  • Community service

Anything that facilitates communication and collaboration between the teams shall benefit you. 

And you can always ask sales reps which activities they would like to participate in to achieve consensus. 

That's it. That's how you manage an outside sales team effortlessly!

Final Note

There’s no one-size-fits-all outside sales management strategy for businesses. 

But, by investing in specific skills and tech, leadership can simplify the process. You get the return on sales investment in enhanced performance and profits.