How to Manage Sales Data Without Micromanaging Your Sales Team

Manage sensitive sales deals

What’s the difference between a good sales manager and a bad one? Here’s the simple answer: results.

But how can a sales manager deliver those consistent results while driving rapid growth?

Any manager trying to scale up confronts the challenge of maintaining control without slowing things down.

You want to know what everyone in your team is working on; you know your sales process and you want to know where every deal is in your pipeline. If something looks like it’s starting to go wrong, a struggling rep or an important lead stalling, you want to find out fast so you can step in to help.

This visibility is easy to manage with a team of three or four people.

But what happens when you scale up to multiple teams or dozens of reps? You can’t have a weekly one-on-one with 20 sales reps!

So how do you maintain control of your data and your pipeline without slowing the growth of your business?

Don’t be a micromanager

A micromanager is the ‘helicopter parent’ of the sales industry. They are forever hovering; stepping in on everything, with everyone, all the time. Instead of selling, reps spend huge chunks of their day justifying their actions and reporting on progress.

Why? Like a parent bubble-wrapping their child, a micromanager lives in constant fear of losing control, so they tighten their grip on whatever they can.

Any manager can be guilty of micromanagement. Take Steve Jobs: before he addressed his issues with control, the Apple founder once spent 20 minutes telling landscapers where to put sprinkler heads on the lawn at NeXT—a computer company that failed, where Jobs micromanaged everything.

Sales managers of growing teams can’t afford to get stuck for too long in the details of deals, sales targets and the activities of individual team members.

Apart from slowing growth, this management style becomes toxic. The attitude of the manager feels like a lack of trust in the team, so morale dips, staff turnover rates begin to increase and sales targets suddenly become the least of your worries.

How do you maintain control of your team without slowing growth?

Scaling up your team can be overwhelming.

Targets get bigger. You’re hiring faster and faster, trying to maintain your quality standards and keep your team’s culture consistent. You need to ramp up new reps fast to keep fueling those growth rates.

‘Helicopter parenting’ won’t help your growing family of salespeople succeed.

Instead, you need a combination of effective processes and helpful technology to maintain control and deliver those consistent results as you scale.

The three resources you need to build a scalable sales process

1. The Ultimate Guide to Activity-Based-Selling

You can’t control outcomes, but you can control your actions. Learn how to focus your team on the activities they need to take to deliver optimal results. By incorporating an activity-based-selling philosophy into your sales process, you take the pressure off your sales team by helping them understand exactly what you expect from them.

2. Squeezing Inefficiencies out of your Sales Process

These step-by-step guides explain how to minimize admin and focus as much of your time as possible on the highest priority activities. This series will help you build a scalable lead qualification process so you can confidently grow your team and maintain control of consistency. You’ll be able to find and shave more and more inefficiencies out and re-invest more time on the stuff that actually matters.

3. How to Measure, Track and Optimize Performance

Sustainable success demands a repeatable sales process so you can measure, track and analyze performance. You need to monitor your performance to find what’s working and pinpoint problems as soon as possible. This educational series teaches you how to turn gut feelings and guesstimates into the kind of informed, data-backed insights that allow you to make the right decisions fast.

permission sales tech

The sales tech that can help

A solid sales process with repeatable steps will help to make sure every member of your team can perform the same activities and consistently deliver more of that result every executive is looking for: a closed deal.

This consistent sales process allows you to watch the action from the bleachers. You can monitor the scoreboard, adjust the game plan and coach the team without running on with a water bottle and barking orders every few minutes.

But you also need to focus each team member on their own individual role.

Each team member should only be concentrating on the deals, contacts and information they need to know, nothing else.

Scaling up means more leads and information of varying levels of sensitivity in your CRM. It also means more reps to manage, and many more brand new reps who need specific, designated tasks to be effective as they learn the ropes.

But the ‘helicopter parenting’ approach is not the right way to maintain control.

Instead, let technology do the work.

You need permission settings to control your team’s data access

With advanced permissions and visibility settings, you can regulate what your CRM users can see and do.

What are permission settings?

Basically, smart permissions settings help you control who sees what data in your CRM software.

Permissions let a sales manager determine exactly which information and actions will be available to each member of your sales team in your CRM.

Pipedrive Platinum’s permission settings allow you to set up permission sets for specific types of users so you can customize the level of access given to different types of users in your team.

Here’s a collection of user types to give you a rough outline of the different permissions you might like to establish so everyone can focus on the right information:

  • Sales reps: may only need access to the deals and contacts they are working on
  • Sales managers: require reporting and forecasting access, as well as the ability to add new deals and assign activities
  • Finance managers: often only want access to certain dashboards and reports
  • Admin users: need to be able to add new users and assign permission and visibility settings

Why are permission settings so important?

Permission settings help you make sure your team members aren’t distracted by other people’s contacts or overall performance statistics—they see only the information they need to do their job.

Restricting data access also keeps mistakes to a minimum, since users can only input data on tasks they’re allowed to see.

This data control keeps entry-level reps out of the information they really shouldn’t see—like confidential deals, colleague’s performance stats, or company reports and forecasts—but it can also work the other way.

Setting strict permissions helps you protect the sales team’s work against interference from above. If an executive needs access to the CRM for reporting and forecasting data, you don’t want them mistakenly editing contact data or daily activities.

How do you manage Permission settings?

The best sales CRM systems should allow you to categorize your users and dictate what actions they will be allowed to access.

This quick video explainer shows you how to set up and manage permissions with Pipedrive.

Exactly what might you want to hide from some users?

Here’s a quick list of some of the information and options you might want to restrict with the help of permission settings:

  • Export or import data
  • Add or delete things like users, deals and activities
  • Access other user’s performance statistics
  • Produce or access reports or forecasts
  • Edit deals won/lost date
  • Create workflows
  • Bulk edit items
  • Use API
  • Changing billing details

Pipedrive’s permission set feature allows you to organize the members of your sales team into categories using two tools:

  • Visibility groups
  • Permission sets

While visibility groups in Pipedrive dictate what users in your account are able to see, permission sets inform what actions that certain groups of users are allowed to perform within Pipedrive.

Visibility groups

Dictate what info each user group is able to see. An admin can make certain things visible to the whole team, some data available to only the sales managers, and other info available to certain reps. Some data might be shared across specific teams but not others (super helpful for growing companies with different sales teams for each stage of the sales pipeline).

Permission sets

Specify the actions groups of users are allowed to do. Maybe all the contacts are visible to the whole team, but only some reps can edit contact or deal data, for example.

Already a Pipedrive customer?

You can find a step-by-step guide explaining how to set up permissions and visibility settings for your Pipedrive users on the Pipedrive Knowledge Base.

manage users permissions

The growing pains you can solve with permissions and visibility settings

Privacy isn’t the only excuse to change visibility and permission settings. Here are a few reasons you might not want your whole sales team to see the same information:

  1. You don’t want all your reps chasing the same leads
  2. You don’t want reps duplicating work
  3. You want to keep your reps focus isolated to the deals they are working on
  4. Of course, you also might want to keep certain deals or information private from certain teams or users

Let’s quickly break those down.

You don’t want all your reps chasing the same leads

This one is fairly straightforward. Friendly sales competition can be healthy, but a constant battle between reps for one lead is never good for team morale (or for your prospect).

You don’t want reps duplicating labor

You really don’t want reps performing the tasks of another team member. Apart from sucking time away from selling, you’ll almost certainly end up with incorrect data if multiple salespeople are attempting to work on the same activities.

Even worse, if more than one rep is calling the same leads, duplicate calls will confuse—or worse, scare off—your prospects. You want your leads to think of your organization as consistent and trustworthy. If prospects see your sales team as sloppy, buying from you will feel like a risk.

You want to keep your team focused on what matters

Just as one YouTube video can lead to two hours of procrastination, access to reporting features can result in a data deep dive that sucks up a whole morning of productivity.

If you want to scale your sales operations, you need to keep your team members honed in on exactly what they need to do to succeed (and reduce time spent on anything else). Permission sets can help you save hours of collective distraction time each week.

Not everyone should see certain information

You may be handling sensitive deals that need to stay confidential. A government control is the classic example of a deal that needs to be handled with discretion.

For legal reasons, you may want to restrict access to specific information in your CRM. Similarly, when you are managing multiple teams (or in a franchisor/franchisee situation) you might want to prevent access to details of the pipelines of other teams or reps.

Keep control as you scale by managing your data (not micromanaging your team)

Fast growth brings extra responsibilities: more reps to wrangle, more deals to close, more data to manage and more scrutiny from the executives demanding that constantly increasing pile of revenue.

Don’t double down on your power and demand constant updates on everything; don’t be a micromanager.

Lean on your scalable sales process and use the technology available in your CRM to give you control over the information you and your team needs.

Helicopter parenting doesn’t scale.

The sales version of air traffic control works far more effectively.