The 11 Biggest Challenges for Managers Handling Fast Team Growth

Scale sales team growth

It’s exciting when your sales team is growing. It means you and your reps have been doing your jobs, hitting revenue targets and closing deals.

That doesn’t mean team growth is easy. When teams grow fast, they can become victims of their own success. Reps get swamped with admin, new hires overwhelm managers and the security measures that worked for a small sales team might not scale well. 

Here’s a list of the 11 most common growing pains, and some solutions, so you can get your team’s focus off the panic of scaling and back where it belongs: selling.

1. Your team isn’t keeping their CRM up to date because they’re drowning in repetitive administrative tasks.

It’s easy for sales teams to get bogged down in annoying, menial tasks. The more complicated the process and the more complicated the tools, the more resistance you’ll come up against.

Getting reps to adopt a process depends on its simplicity and whether it’s actually going to help them to close more deals.

To achieve this, and the scale quickly, you need a CRM that your salespeople will enjoy using that they can pick up quickly—one that they’ll update regularly and accurately. 

In short, you’re looking for a system that simplifies the salesperson’s job, focuses their attention on the right activities and eliminates unnecessary admin.

2. You can’t get an accurate view of your team’s performance

Quality sales performance management demands accurate and actionable tracking. If you can’t figure out how your team is performing, how can you ever set goals that will help them excel?

You need a clear and easily accessible overview of your sales team’s performance. Data should be your goal-setting friend, enabling you to set realistic, activity-based goals that will both challenge and motivate your team to drive sales success.

With Sales Insights and Reports you can customize your dashboard view to track different salespeople and team’s performance. Once you’ve identified the challenges each team faces, you can customize their goals.

You can even analyze your team’s performance and make adjustments to goals and deals on the go with the Sales Insights App.

3. You’re struggling to get your teams to use your sales process consistently

You’ve developed the perfect sales process. It has been carefully crafted to streamline sales activities and make your sales reps more productive. But there is one major obstacle standing in your way: sales process adoption.

Establishing a consistent sales process is essential if you want to scale quickly. But this gets increasingly difficult the larger the organization becomes and the more sales teams you have to manage.

Inconsistent use of tools and processes means things can get messy and deals can easily get lost in the disarray. 

You need a sales process that your teams trust and believe in and the right tools to support it. Getting reps to adopt a process depends on its simplicity, and whether it’s actually going to help them to close more deals. You need to strive towards a process that drives repeatable success. 

4. Your forecast is off… again

Every sales manager understands the importance of an accurate revenue forecast, yet so many struggle to achieve this with clarity and precision. Inaccurate forecasting and team growth estimates lead to missed targets and compromise your sales success. 

You need to start predicting and optimizing your revenue with confidence, able to break your forecast down by team as well as individual reps. A well-researched revenue forecast is fundamental to setting and achieving your sales goals. 

5. Your data security and IT compliance isn’t quite up to scratch

Do you wake up with a dreaded feeling of foreboding data disaster? Every time you log in to your CRM, do you feel something is amiss? What about that rep that just quit? Or the new hire who has access to that sensitive government deal?

As your organization grows and your sales teams multiply, it’s difficult to take control of the data that sales reps have access to. 

You need centralized access, enhanced security and flexible (and versatile) permissions settings to take control of the data in your CRM and ensure information is only visible to those who it’s meant for. You need the right security systems in place to keep your business safeguarded and make sure you sleep at night.

With Pipedrive Professional and Enterprise, you can now set user permissions at a more granular level so you control access to information.

We’ve also developed a new Security Dashboard to give organizations greater peace of mind that customer information is protected. In addition, the dashboard provides suggestions on how to better secure their business data.

6. You’re struggling to set fair compensation and standardized policies across different regions

You find it hard to balance ‘fairness’ and ‘policy.’ Teams across different regions have different motivations, expectations, living costs and work cultures. Somehow you have to maintain a consistent sales process, develop company-wide policies and procedures, but also build in enough space to empower reps to solve their own problems and take initiative. 

Compensation is another constant problem. All teams compare their own remuneration and rewards against those in different countries, regions and cultures.

While it’s your job to set a strong core policy that creates consistency for all your teams, you need to allow your regional managers to manage the details of those policies and compensation. After all, those managers know their teams, regions and cultures better than you do. 

7. Communication is breaking down across teams

It’s difficult to communicate with everyone in your sales organization. You don’t know all your new hires, you don’t meet regularly with all your teams, and reps on far-flung sales teams don’t know who you are. 

You do want your teams and regional sales managers to operate without hand-holding, but you don’t want to be completely absent. When communication breaks down in a large sales organization, your teams, thinking you’re not paying attention to them, start doing their own thing. That can result in a sales process breakdown, unhappy reps and missed targets. 

You need to make sure you see everyone, on all of your teams, regularly. Your teams need to feel heard, and they also need to stay on task and on mission. If you can’t meet with them in person, organize a video chat with the team. And of course, you should be tracking everyone’s progress toward goals in the CRM and reaching out when and if you see a problem.

8. You’re finding it hard to encourage competition without triggering conflict

Competition is healthy, but it curdles easily—especially among salespeople, who are naturally competitive. You have a hard time keeping competition from turning into contention; your reps are vying with one another for leads, backbiting and not working together as a team. 

You need a system that will help you gamify sales in a way that doesn’t pit reps on the same sales team against each other. Look into gamifying the sales process. If you manage multiple sales teams, set up a leaderboard in your CRM (Plecto’s integration with Pipedrive will help you do this) and allow teams to compete against one another. 

If you manage one team, you might encourage teamwork with compensation, offering a bonus to every rep when the team’s sales target is met. 

9. Hiring, induction and training is a constant burden

As a manager of a fast-growing sales organization, it’s tough keeping up with the demand for new salespeople. It takes a lot of time to train new reps and it’s expensive. It’s also a risk: what if they leave before they provide a return on your training investment. 

You need to find, motivate and keep the right reps for your organization. You need to onboard them as quickly as possible, so they can start being productive members of your team.

One way to ramp up new hires quickly is by leaning on your sales process, which should provide a clear outline of the activities a rep needs to complete to hit their targets. You should also use a CRM that’s intuitive and easy to learn, so new reps don’t waste a lot of time learning the ropes. 

10. Fluctuating headcounts and ramping up new reps impacts your forecasts and targets

Sales is a high turnover job, and it seems that once you hire a new rep and get them up to speed they’ve already got one foot out the door. It seems impossible to accurately forecast or set revenue goals when you’re constantly losing reps and hiring brand new ones.

You need a tool that will help you forecast accurately, no matter what your personnel situation is. A CRM with a forecasting tool is key here. As long as your reps are entering their information into the CRM, you’ll be able to reforecast as soon as a rep gives notice, and adjust targets to compensate. 

11. You and your team are buried under administrative tasks

You’ve got a bigger team, and that means you’ve also got more administrative work—a lot more. Your reps are also getting crushed by admin when they should be selling. Even worse, admin is boring and repetitive, so your reps make mistakes—mistakes they then have to go back and correct. 

It’s time to get help... from the machines. Workflow automation lets teams scale up by outsourcing soul-sucking tasks to machines and allows you to focus on the activities you excel at, like selling or managing a sales team.

Help your team scale fast and well without breaking a sweat

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a fast-scaling team. It’s easy to feel like there’s too much work, or your teams are getting away from you. But that doesn’t have to be the case. 

Just because your team is bigger, doesn’t mean you or your reps need to be working harder. Instead, you need to work smarter, using processes and tools that ramp up new reps fast, cut out administrative work and foster healthy competition among salespeople.

Read the lead article in this series for more on managing a sales team. You can also check out the article on the key responsibilities of sales team managers, or download the ebook linked below.