The Beginner’s Guide to Agile Sales Management

Sales is changing – and fast. The tools and tactics that got the job done just ten years ago don’t stand a fighting chance of enabling sales or closing deals today. That’s why we’re introducing an agile sales management framework to help you deal with the ferociously evolving world of sales. But first… 

Consider these three major market shifts that are reshaping sales across the 3 P’s of modern sales leadership – People. Process. Platforms.

Despite these seismic changes, many sales teams are still being managed using the same decades-old framework. Waterfall Management – if you will.

agile sales management vs waterfall sales management

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Agile vs. Waterfall Methodologies

In a sense, every sales organization is working on the same project – hitting quota. Time constraint is the only variable.

For hypothetical purposes, let’s say that your project is hitting Q3 quota.

Here are 3 side-by-side comparisons of waterfall and agile methodologies being used to accomplish that goal.

  1. Performance Analytics: Weekly Excel Reports vs Real-Time Dashboards.
  2. Outbound Messaging: Ironclad Call / Email Scripts vs Collaborative / Flexible Sequences.
  3. Training & Development: Monthly Performance Review vs Live Scorecards and Feedback

Looks different, right? Congratulations – you are now looking at the world through the lens of agile sales management.

An Introduction to Agile Sales Management

In the IT world – where agile management has gone from outlier to industry standard in half a decade – the success rate has been astounding.

According to a recent agile survey, 87% of respondents agreed that agile methodology is improving the quality of work life for their teams.

The defining ethos of agile management is rapid, data-driven optimization – a resonant ideal for B2B sales leaders dealing with complex, dynamic processes and buyers. So why hasn’t agile sales management happened yet?

There is one obvious reason the agile sales management movement has yet to catch on in sales: The IT department and sales department are like oil and water in most organizations.

Tactics sprints, scrum and iterative development make sense for software, project management and even marketing teams. But managing an IT department does not even remotely align with managing a sales force, right? Take a closer look.

How Agile Applies to Modern Sales Management

Let’s apply a few agile methodologies to industry research and best practice espoused by 3 elite sales management experts.

Sprints and Milestones: In Harvard Business Review, Jason Jordan shares critical research on the importance of zeroing sales management focus on activity versus objectives and goals.

Scrum and Stand-Up: Sandler Sales Management trainer Marcus Cauchi advises starting each day with a quick team huddle, where everyone shares their top 3-4 behavioral goals.

Iteration: Aaron Ross subscribes to using a systematic, feedback-driven process for successful outbound prospecting – or iterative development.

As it turns out – the best salespeople, teams and organizations are inherently agile. They think quickly, communicate efficiently and often, and make hair-trigger adjustments every single day – in overcoming buyer objections, engaging prospects at the perfect time, or tailoring their sales process to better serve your market.

In fact, the opposite of agile sales management looks a lot like the discombobulated chaos we see in many sales organizations today:

sales management chaos

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Agile sales management solves for all these. It gives every corner of your organization a synthesized framework and straightforward processes. It enables flexibility and iteration in both strategy and execution.

It gives sales leaders the discretion and insight they need to implement sound plans of action, baseline standards, and checks for quality control at a massive scale.

Last but not least, it uses data analysis to chart the path toward continuous revenue growth for your organization and for your individual contributors.

The Ultimate Guide to Agile Sales Management

Your people, processes, and platforms do not operate in a vacuum. They all affect and influence one another – for better or for worse.

Agile sales management gives you the micro and macro-perspectives to organize these pieces so that they fit together coherently, the strategies to ensure they complement one another and the overarching philosophy to create long-term success.

Jared Houghton is the CSO and Co-Founder of He is a tech Industry veteran who has launched successful softwares into both the B2B and B2C markets. He is a Y Combinator and University of Tennessee graduate, avid rock climber, hiker, and nature lover.

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