What is project management, and what does it mean to a sales team?

Anyone in the sales industry has their eye on one color: green. You could say that “it’s all about the Benjamins, baby.”

But without strategic planning and management, no one gets to see the green. Sales executives, business managers, and team leaders must decide what their sales goals are before they move forward in the sales cycle.

The same goes for project management. Whether you’re using mind mapping software (we like MindMiester or XMind) or sitting in a board room, surrounded by your colleagues, planning out a project—goals make everything happen. How else will you know what success looks like?

For example, you probably have a sales quota to meet. If you meet it, high-fives all around! Maybe you have a gong in your office that everybody slams when a new sale comes in. Hurrah!

Milestone is another word for goal, or quota, when it comes to project management. In sales, project management may be a collaborative effort to gain a new client, or it could be that you get pulled into someone else’s project. To plan the path of each project, milestones are created to indicate each level of success, so that team members don’t get burnt out waiting for the high-five at the end—which could take months or even years!

Keep reading to find out what project management looks like when it comes to sales.

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What is project management? A quick overview:

Project management is the strategic organization of a project, including the setting of goals and milestones, and tracking progress of the project along the way.

Generally, a project manager is interfacing with several different people who have the skills and tools to plan, implement, execute, and monitor whatever goals are set.

There are many occasions when project management is used in sales. For example:

The marketing department may come up with a big campaign, and require the help of designers, sales people and copywriters to accomplish it. Maybe they are looking for a sales perspective in the planning phase. Maybe they are in the execution phase and need to train salespeople on how to implement selling the new product or idea.

Your chief executive officer may come to you and say, hey man (or woman), we need to increase sales by 20% over the next six months, or we’re facing layoffs. Come up with a plan. From there, you define some short-term milestones, budget, and a plan. Then you assign tasks, keep track of each milestone, and measure success.

Or maybe there’s a long-term project to manage. Perhaps your sales director comes to you with a new product offering. Your SaaS has a new feature. It’s an upsell that every existing customer can benefit from. You’re tasked with converting 30% of current customers within the next year. In two years, 50% of all current customers should be upgraded … so on and so forth. From here, your project is longer, and so milestones are short-term and long-term. You come up with quick ways to get current customers to upgrade (like a 12-week automated email series), and not so quick ways (direct mail, or a cold-calling campaign).

Focusing on a sales project with unfamiliar circumstances can be challenging, but it’s also rewarding. Everyone involved has their own, unique position that contributes to the project’s success. If the group works together and understands their role or position, managing a project will be a fluid process for everyone.

Learning more about project management can give you a huge advantage in any job. In sales, here are a few benefits:

  • Getting your work done on time and on budget, without any last minute procrastination stress.
  • Better managing your contacts and networking commitments that will result in added sales.
  • Discovering how much you need to spend, in order to make money. That ratio is important to any employer.
  • Promotion! Managing a project isn’t easy work, it involves a lot of moving parts, and not everyone can do it!

Three takeaways for using project management in the sales industry

Takeaway #1:

When sales goals become overwhelming, using project management techniques can help you reframe your sales staff perspective. Set one single goal at a time and work towards it. Having a goal lets everyone know what success means in the project, and when high-fives are in order.

Takeaway #2:

Teamwork is imperative to successful project management. Employees will learn how to work with different personalities. It’ll help them meet their immediate goals. The skills they learn, and the challenges they face, can also translate in future sales with new prospects.

Takeaway #3:

Using project management with your sales team can only make you a better sales manager. Yes, you’ll still have to run meetings and motivate your sales staff, but the steps you need to take to dominate your next plateau will be defined.

One thing you will learn when studying project management is how it can relinquish tasks that take up your valuable time. Blitz can help you automate many of your processes, so your salespeople can spend more of their working time with customers making sales.

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lead-managerLet our automated software simplify your sales process.  Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial of our lead management software and turn more leads into customers with less work!

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How vital is project management to your sales department? Tell us in the comments!