A Guide to Project Management Sales [Benefits, Tools, Processes]

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

So you're a sales rep starting a new job, hey?

Words to describe your sales team:

  • Highly skilled
  • Professional
  • Smooth

They nail their pitches, they ask the best probing questions, and the prospects are always impressed.

The only thing is maybe they could be a little more organized.

Source

The raw talent is there – but it's all over the place. And if it were just a little more laser-focused, you could easily shorten the sales cycle and close more deals.

It sounds like you could use a project management sales methodology.

When you break it down, sales and project management aren't too different - each has stages, milestones, and tasks - so treating sales like a project can make for a more organized, productive sales cycle.

Easy enough to say - but how do you put that into practice?

This blog details the benefits of project management for sales and marketing, including a six-step how-to guide.

Let's dive in.

What Is Sales Project Management?

Project management for sales is the process of improving and optimizing sales by incorporating project management tactics. This includes organizing the stages of your sale, like a project, assigning specific tasks to team members, tracking and monitoring the sales cycle, and using project management tools. When you break down both concepts, the two are pretty similar.

So it isn't hard to imagine using project management for sales and marketing:

Sales

Project management

Sales stages and pipeline

Project milestones & deliverables

Creating an ICP and prospecting

Gathering project requirements

Setting sales quotas

Resource planning and task assignment

Customer relationship management

Client relationship management

Data-driven to ensure success:

Data-driven to ensure success:

  • Risk management
  • Metrics and KPIs

Monitoring from start to finish to observe metrics and improve the process

< What he said ;)

You can see pretty easily how you can adapt this process.

Let's see why you should.

The Benefits of Project Management for Sales

Benefits of Project Management for Sales

From initial prospecting all the way to sealing the deal, sales really is a project - so it stands to reason that treating your sales process like a project can pay off big time. Utilizing detailed workflows and organization tools provides more sales cycle visibility, boosts productivity, and helps reps understand their responsibilities and timelines.

Sound useful? Let's break that all down.

Increases accountability among reps

Accountability allows sales reps to improve where they're lacking and build upon their strengths.

This isn't possible without clear visibility, and project management provides that visibility, answering questions like:

  • Who did what?
  • How is Task XYZ?
  • Did Team B accomplish task C?

Streamlined project management keeps everyone up-to-date on the overall project progress.

One problem, though: only 16% of sales managers have accountability as a strength. And as a result, accountability is likely only taking place after something goes wrong.

The solution? Proactive > reactive.

Build a sustainable practice that teaches employees to be accountable to themselves without needing a helicopter manager.

And for those managers who just need to be hands-on – it's easier. Sales managers can benefit greatly from the detailed insights into workflow and progression that project management sales processes bring.

Then they can provide solid, actionable advice without micromanaging.

Better productivity

Project management is all about efficiency. It's about streamlining a process so you can reach the finish line within scope, budget, and timeline.

It's a no-brainer that leveraging techniques that have been honed to battle such tight constraints leads to more efficient, effective sales efforts.

The average salesperson spends only 35% of their workweek selling - the other 65% is spent on fiddly tasks like checking email, searching for and gathering information, and juggling collaboration efforts.

Which leads to our next point.

Provides more productively collaborative sales floors

Collaboration and teamwork make a flourishing sales environment.

All those BDRs, AEs, and SDRs living together in harmony.

Source

Okay, it isn't always like that. But isn't it great when it works out that way?

Project management sales methodology makes this a lot more attainable.

Communication is the core element of project management. Adapting these processes can ease cross-functional collaboration between every sales department, from:

  1. Business development
  2. Sales development
  3. Field sales
  4. Account management
  5. Sales operations

Virtually every sales role can benefit from sharing insights, information, and talent with each other, and a project management sales approach encourages solid communication and partnerships.

Offers reps more clarity in terms of their responsibilities

Careful resource planning and management are crucial to the success of a project.

Translation?

Project management processes ensure everybody knows what they're doing when they're doing it, and how.

Project management requires careful delegation of responsibilities between managers, team members, and even clients and stakeholders.

So it makes sense that adapting their processes and methodology to partition responsibilities and assign tasks carefully gives reps a clearer understanding of their expectations and how they can achieve them.

This, in turn, leads to hitting sales quotas more consistently. ✅

Gives salespeople direction through clearly defined timelines

Even when a rep knows exactly what to do, it isn't always clear when they're supposed to do it. Or have it done by.

Undefined timelines can be a massive detriment to overall organization and productivity.

Project management for sales attaches specific timelines to every task a sales rep has for each month or quarter. So it isn't just a quota of "30 sales calls", it's "30 sales calls by November 30th".

Having a defined deadline attached to tasks helps a sales rep to:

  • Understand the work involved
  • Understand expectations
  • Organize their schedule more effectively
  • Prioritize tasks and effort

All these points add up to boosted efficiency, better quota attainment, and increased efficacy.

Why Businesses Need Project Management Performance Tools

Why Businesses need Project Management Performance Tools

"Great," we hear you say, "I'll adopt project management for sales and experience all those neat benefits…"

"But how?"

Don't worry, we have you covered: project management tools.

Adopting a project management sales process is a heck of a lot easier with the right sales productivity tools - but you know that. No wonder 75% of sales professionals say a solid tech stack makes or breaks their productivity.

In that vein, let's check out the top four reasons why project management performance tools improve your sales process.

Dynamic sales strategies

Putting all your reps, territories, and leads in killer project management software has an outstanding effect right out of the box.

It allows for dynamic sales strategies that shift and grow as you do.

With a high level of visibility into your sales cycle, you can actively make the right decisions to streamline your unique process.

Did Rep A complete all their tasks on time, but Rep B is struggling? Have Rep A jump in and lend a hand.

Just as people move and change with time, so do sales cycles. Project management tools provide visibility allows you to make quick adjustments to optimize your sales process to suit whatever comes your way.

Boosts organization and productivity

Sales project management tools enable tangible visualization for clarifying objectives, determining milestones, and keeping on top of what's done and what isn't.

Even the most disorganized reps have no problems dragging and dropping tasks from a "to-be-done" bin into a "done" one.

This eliminates that all-too-common point in a workday where you cradle your head and think: "Wait…what have I done and what's left to do?"

Create a repeatable process

Creating a repeatable process is an essential factor in project management, so project tech is built to facilitate that.

Do we even have to say that sales can benefit from tools like this - when something succeeds once, don't you always want to do it again?

You can build a repeatable process with:

  1. Structured workflows
  2. Standardized documentation for each task
  3. Historical data on past successful (or unsuccessful) deals

All of these lead to better consistency across salespeople and a stronger sales funnel.

It's also super useful for onboarding (imagine you're in that new rep's shoes, having all this structure would be a huge relief, right?).

Create alignment between goal and sales plan

The best effort can be achieved when a sales team can see their goals and watch them unfold.

Many people find it difficult to tie an action to a consequence. Especially a sale - a cold email is such a tiny part of the process it's pretty hard to imagine it leads to a several-thousand-dollar deal.

Project management sales tools help you define and label your goals, keeping them top-of-mind. This visually helps your team see a goal as a tangible, attainable thing.

Defining your goals is also an excellent way for sales managers to understand what's possible with your team's current capabilities. If your goal requires high-level skills your team doesn't possess, it might be time to scale down the goal or upskill the team.

6 Key Steps in the Project Management Sales Process

Key Steps in the Project Management Sales Process

Adopting a project management sales process isn't something we expect you to know already. But that doesn't mean it's complicated.

There are six key steps in implementing project management for sales professionals:

Step

Description

1. Define goals and milestones

Determine your sales goals and objectives

2. Determine costs and budget

Consider your budget and monitor it

3. Create a sales plan

Build a starting sales plan to get the ball rolling

4. Break the plan down into tasks

Break your sales plan into manageable milestones and tasks

5. Assign tasks

Assign tasks to team members based on skill sets and capability

6. Monitor the progress

Track and monitor the progress of your sales process for continuous improvement

Now, let's dig into these six steps.

1. Define goals and milestones

Like any professional plan, deciding what you intend to achieve or accomplish is the first step (and one of the most important).

This probably entails determining sales quotas and breaking them down by weekly/monthly/quarterly revenue.

Goals and milestones can also include the number of prospects you hope to reach or the number of new customers you want to collect.

2. Determine costs and budget

Next question - what do you need to spend to make this project happen?

Careful planning of your costs and budget is essential - 55% of sales professionals cite those budget restraints are either the first or second most common reason sales opportunities are lost.

Okay, that might seem obvious - but sweeping it aside as "obvious" may very well be why it's such a big problem.

Mapping out your sales strategy like a project enables you to plan and monitor your budget carefully, so expenses go where they're needed most. Most project management tools even include a way to manage costs, employee salaries, and investments.

3. Create a sales plan

After outlining your objectives and expectations, then detailing the resources that you need to achieve them, it's time to start your sales plan.

The best way to do this is to involve your entire team. Which team member is a good fit for this task? Can this team member handle a quota this high?

Collect this information and build your sales project management strategy - preferably within some nice organization software.

But remember, your sales plan is a living, breathing entity that's constantly subject to change. This isn't the final draft. It's just the outline to get you started.

4. Break the plan down into tasks

Now, take your sales plan and begin to break it down into milestones and tasks.

To make it easier, think of it as a step-by-step process. Start with the first step, which is your first milestone, then break that step into individual tasks.

Do this with every step from prospect to close.

This makes a sales cycle more manageable and visible and allows you to monitor and understand progress more clearly.

5. Assign tasks

The plan has been made and broken into manageable chunks, so it's time to start assigning tasks.

Each team member should be given tasks that match their skill set and level of experience. Maybe Alice is great at creating reports, while Bob is a whiz at market research.

Throughout the process, you can hold regular check-in meetings to monitor team progress, encourage collaboration, and keep everyone on the same page.

6. Monitor the progress

Monitoring, measuring, and acting on KPIs and metrics is invaluable to sales teams - and it just so happens to be the #1 priority for project management.

Projects typically have processes to monitor team performance, project progression, budget usage, and much more.

Studies show that sales teams that utilize data can improve:

  • Lead generation
  • Lead qualification
  • Productivity
  • Performance

Analytics can include comparing sales quotas versus results, measuring the number of leads generated, or simply viewing the overall success and timeline of the sales cycle.

This definitely isn't new to sales teams (hello, call scoring!), but taking a project management approach and using project tech is a great way to do it.

Sales and Project Management - Like Peanut Butter and Jelly

Sales and Project Management

Just like that tried-and-true lunchtime classic, project management goes hand-in-hand with sales and marketing, leading to a more organized, productive sales team with better results.

Treating a sales cycle like a project works because it is essentially a project. It has defined goals, milestones, and resources and benefits from visibility and collaboration.

And it's a lot simpler when you have the right tech stack, so try incorporating a project management tool into your team's tech.

While you're at it, if you're in need of renewing your sales CRM, request a demo with Ringy to pair a great piece of sales tech with your new project management tech.

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