The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 5 years ago

5 Things Sales Managers Want From Their Teams


Sales Managers are often faced with ever-increasing challenges, only one of which is making sure the team is delivering the results the company demands. Working to understand their perspective, we are diving in to identify five key things sales reps should be aware of in order to be not only an A-player, but a valued member of the team.

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Welcome to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson, and today we're going to be speak with Brian Burns about the five things sales managers want from their sales reps and team members. You're listening to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience, a podcast dedicated to help with the executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two one. Welcome everyone, and before we jump into the interview today, just a quick reminder. We want to buy you a cup of coffee. In order to do that, we need you, guys, to fill out a feedback form that's on our website. BE TO BE REV exaccom. We want to hear from you guys about what you want to hear on the show, what we can do better to improve it and if you've written a review for us lately, you know let us know that you've done that as well, and if you haven't, please do. But at the end of the day, what we want is your feedback and in order to do that, we're willing to take everybody who gives us feedback, put you in a hat once a week, pull out a name and send you a giftificate starbucks for a cup of coffee on us. If you happen to be in the Denver area, we're happy to of course, meet you in person and do that. Can also make those arrangements, but really would like your feedback. So please take just a few minutes and fill out that feedback form for us. Today we're going to be working with Brian Burns again and we're going to be tackling, you know, the top five thing sales managers want from their sales Reps. we see a lot of sales reps today's struggle not only with the way that the sales landscape is changing, but also kind of their place in an ever changing organization. So Brian and I kind of put together the top five things we think you guys should be aware of, things that you can learn from an implement in order to make you more effective in your organization maybe give you a little bit better understanding of what your sales managers are up against. So, without further ado, let's step into the interview. Who we're talking earlier about. You know, what a managers really want to get out of salespeople? What do they really need? What's one of the things that you have? I would say probably cooperation is one of the big ones, right, if you want them to be able to actually go with the flow. Right, sales is a challenging profession to begin with. Revenue Executive Struggle with all of the impacts that they're having on their teams and, you know, having your reps be able to cooperate as the sales organization moves, cooperate on process changes and things like that. Be Willing, a willing participant, I think, is critical so managers feel comfortable with the team they've got. That's it, you know, because sales people are tend to be, you know, really independent. You know, because they say the least stremely. Yeah, because, you know, at least half of their incomes a variable and if that's not working, they're not happy. Oh and when? Yeah, but managers also have the responsibility to the company about getting things done and not just deals. So yeah, I agree. Be completely well wateration. You and I have talked about it too. We were both, I mean, into his individual tributes. We were lone wolves. So I'm not. I could say that I probably was. Was Not one that fits easily into that category. It definitely and you can also overcooperate, meaning true. Yeah, I've had some reps like that on teams. Like it's like, okay, we're going a little bit far here, let's get back to work. Yeah, where they they're all they care about is making their manager happy instead of their customers. And you know, you know, I've worked with one guy who, you know, hired his best friend and I remember driving around Atlanta with my boss and he called my boss no less than five times and only one of the calls was about work. It was all about, you know, what kind of refrigerator to buy, what kind of car? Should he least it or buy it? And I was just rolling my eyes, going, you know, I don't talk to anybody that much. Right, but you know, he always got the best territory,... know, the best engineer and everything, but you know, a good manager just wouldn't allow that. Right. But I had it for number two was performance, you know, and everyone would think all performance is number one, and it's like, well, you know, when performance is there, it's great, but when it's not there, then you definitely need to cooperate. I've think the guy calling about the refrigerators was trying to cooperate because I'm going to better. Performance wasn't there, and you know that. You know the the bad side of performance is when it's not there. You know what gets blamed and who takes responsibility. You know. You know, you hear a lot of the whining about the territory, the product, the timing, the economy, and those are all true right and it maybe they're exaggerated, but I think a good rep is the one that kind of owns that responsibility to making it work. Under the case that you're at. Well, yeah, I mean look, sales reps are hired to, you know, know, move sales deals through the funnel, and so if you're if you're not. The thing I love about sales is it's black and white, pretty much like you're either doing it or not, and it's it shows up in your numbers and if you're not performing, then you know, what are you doing? You're wasting your time, the manager's time. I think the sales reps that I've seen that have been the most effective are those that that truly own the fact that they have to put up the numbers. In order to do that, they have to back into the activity right, I've seen we used to call it follow the money exercise, like we'd run the reps through. Okay, here's what you want to earn. This is we know what the stats say on, you know, calls and prospecting and we know what our win percentages are. Right, do the math. It's not. It's not advanced Algebra. It's not. Maybe not easy, but it's not advance Sald. But do the math. Back into your activity level and then do that activity consistently so you get the reliable performance for the company and for the manager. And that's what you see. And if you build those habits, you know, instead of the what I typically see, the quarterly roller coaster. Yeah, you know where the first two weeks of the quarter people are on vacation. Is My managers say, everyone's on vacation and having babies. Yeah, we've timed our pregnancy so that the birth happens the first two weeks of a quarter. That's a salesperson. And then they have the quarterly meeting and then the quarterly review and before you know what, the first month is over and now you get two more months to go and then the last month of the quarter everyone panics and and and then tries to pull in deals. The deals get a little shady, the WHO discounts go up, concessions are made and then the cycle starts all over again. And what I always try to do is like, let me even this out a little bit. You know, every Monday looks like every other Monday. Oh yeah, it's a beginning of the quarter. I still have to do a lot of stuff, I'm at the quarterly meeting, but I still have to work. And if you can build those daily habits, that that really makes your performance more linear and then, instead of luck based would and I think that's the key right, and it's one of the things. I mean, I think you and I've been around long enough that we know that sales reps back in the day always struggled with that consistency and that forming of habits. And and today that's even a bigger challenge, I think, especially for some of them millennials that are out there because of all the distractions as shorter attention spans. They want it now, immediate gratification. You know what, I haven't seen an AI solution or anything come up that's going to change the fact that that consistency of behavior, that consistency of habit, is what's going to produce the results and the performance that you need. And if you don't focus on that, at the end of the day you're going to be on that roller coaster and that's really the last thing the business wants or your manager wants. Right, and now brings back focus, which consistently is what I hear when I talk to great reps today is, instead of, you know, the old work hard focus seems to be coming up because there are so many distractions. I mean you could literally spend your whole day just in linkedin navigator. Oh Yeah,...

...not that it is a waste of time, but it's you have to do a little bit of it, but if you do too much of it, you're not doing that what really counts. And you know, you get this little computer in your pocket all the time, vibrating and beeping and making all kinds of sounds that can really suck up your time powerful but you have to have that proactive control over it. We requires discipline, right, it requires a discipline and and I would say that that you know, if you throw time management in there as like a subthing, like if you can't manage your time effectively and understand you got a block it. I would look. I'm the biggest, one of the biggest tech guys on the planet. Some new gadget comes out, I'm all over it, right. I am that quintessential sales guy, always looking for a silver bullet, but I spend my time looking for that silver bullet on Saturday and Sunday, because Monday through Friday I've got to be hustling, I got to be selling, I got to be on on my routine, and it's the only way to make sure that your pipeline stays consistent and predictable, which is really what your manager wants, what the business wants, right. So if you're not doing that, the emotional toll on yourself and your manager goes through the roof and you're just not going to be as effective, especially if you can't focus and dedicate yourself to that, you know, predictable routine. Yeah, definitely number three. I had teamwork. I think you know when I was a leader, you do want people to be part of the company and you know, sales has this kind of natural, not aggression but the natural course of things is not to get in order. Right course of things as to lose a deal. And when you do get an order, everyone would like it to look at pristine right and yeah, sign our contract, agree to our terms, pay our way on our time schedule. And what does a customer want to do? They want to pay their way on their paper right and their timeframe. And that friction. You know, the sales reps in the middle of that and sometimes, you know, early in my career I just you know, would cram it down people's throat. I call up the CEEO, I go look, I got the deal, I need your help to get it booked, and he would do it. But then, you know, he would break a lot of eggs making that on. Let you know, and they wouldn't blame him. No, know me well and it's always harder sometimes to sell. I found back when I was an interview contributor it was harder to sell internally that it was a cell of the customers like the you could almost negotiate with the customers easier than I could negotiate internally because, man, if you had to walk into, you know, chief legal officers room and be like hey, they want to change this term or that term. It was like calamity ensued, right, and you always it was kind of new that and I think if today, especially with you know, you see a count based sales and a copies marketing happening, if a manager is really good, if a leaders really good at building in that team essence into, you know, across the sales organization, you get better results, not only the internal team, like can your sales team work? Is A team, but can they work with the rest of the organization? And if a sales rep can do that, I think you're still going to have the struggles world. Look, your CFO doesn't want to change the terms. You see, if it wants to be paid yesterday, they're CFO, once we pay, wants to pay you in ninety days. Right. There's always going to be that. But I think it's easier to overcome an address those challenges if you have that type of, you know, team based culture that has to be led, led by example from the sales leadership. Yeah, yeah, and if it doesn't exist, then a lot of finger pointing happens. And from the REP standpoint, if the order doesn't get booked, we're booked on time or booked correctly. It's not going to help you get your commission check right. Right. So is part of like what reps with a lone wolf thing can go too far where you have to kind of be understand that. You know, you don't...

...own the company. That's tell me. He goes. You're not running the company yet, Brian. So well, it's an interesting it's an interesting tecotomy because they tell you, and I did the same thing when I was running teams, is like Hey, you need to act like you're running your own business. And then that would backfire on me because then the right, the rap would turn around and think, well, I'm running I'm running my business. So, Hey, I need you guys like step up, come on, do this. Okay, now, wait a minute, maybe I went too far with that right. But the end of the day, if if everybody is focused on one goal, and that requires I mean I think it's a bigger challenge than just for sales. Right, you see a lot with all these organizational transformation things that go on. I think it's harder for especially larger organizations to break down those silos and sales. You know, everybody looks at sales with through that cliched Lens Right. Still, even today, you still look at sales that way. Oh, those are sales guys, don't don't worry about them. It's kind of like don't feed the animals at the zoo, right, just don't play with the sales guys. And I think it takes more. You know, sales leaderships got an upward management and I can kind of you know, horizontal management challenge as well to drive that team work in order to create the environment that will reinforce that in his in his or sales organization and then, you know, generate the results that he's looking for. Yeah, and I think managers get really frustrated when the rep won't do that because or they the manager has to clean it up. And you know, I've been in that situation with reps where you have to get the job done for them internally, and that is part of the manager's job. Sure it's not solely the manager's job. And I think the real test of team work is how well sales people work with the marketing team. Because who often, I've said this myself. I said I've given up on them, you know, and you know because they're just doing the wrong thing and they insist on doing it because they get rewarded on the wrong thing. They get rewarded on the number of leads or contact they get. And, especially today, contacts are pretty much free. You know, five, ten years ago, you know, getting a list of, you know, valid contact information with names, emails, phone numbers and a little bit of detail in the company was expensive and time consuming. Today it's free. So the marketing has a different role. What they want to do is attract people who are actively looking or could be a qualified prospect, and that's really hard, you know, because people don't need to convert the way they used to. You know that they can live without your ebook and going to yeah, without a doubt. I mean if you look at it like both sales and marketing, and I'm all right, maybe we're biased because we live and make our money in this market, but I think sales and marketing are both dealing with a speed of technological change combined with, you know, changes in buyer and, you know, access to data and and they're buying habits that makes it really difficult as individuals, to individual organizations, to be effective. So when we go back to that team working, if you can get sales and marketing on the same page, you have a much more powerful engine. It is not something I have seen consistently done, though, and I wish I had the answer. Probably making it make a million bucks and retire, but it's one of those things that I see people struggle with and I think it starts with, like you said, the willingness from both sides to, you know, engage in a team based approach. That's it. And it's mostly based off of purport and reward system. And if the reward system is in place, meaning it's based off of, you know, real revenue, not vanity metrics or counting contacts, then you have a chance. And and the salesperson's got to know what they really want. You just can't say hey, I want people who want to buy in the next quarter. That well, that marketing can't... that right, you know. But they can set up, you know, webinars, they can set up partnerships, they can set up trips, they can do you account based advertising, they can sponsor things, they can get you in front of qualified people and and they've got budget that they usually have more budget than sales. You know, we're kind of constraint to a steak dinner and a flight. Yeah, it better be a reasonably pressed stake or the see if I was going to want it. Some answers put a lot of names on it. No, Joe Smith. Joe Smith was there with me. I swear he was there. That's it. They do have budget and but they also have to know what they're doing. You know, because I've been with marketing people, that they'll set up, you know, a breakfast at a trade show. That really doesn't attract the right people, but they think it does. And you know, they're more activity focused then sales people and I think if you, as a salesperson, can kind of guide them into the right trade shows, the right activities, it to kind of explore it and work with them then then and then give them feedback on what is working. I think that as a manager, I think people would love sales reps to do even if you've been in sales for decades, new technology, new buyers and new dynamics create challenges your team may not be ready for value. Prime solutions enables you to focus on sales, on the prospects and customers, not the noise, and the sales framework you implement with them is simple, scalable and proven. CHECK OUT VALUE PRIME SOLUTIONSCOM and ask how they can help you beat your target. What was your next one? I really for me there's a lot of I see a lot of and I don't know if I would put this one of the top five, but it is one I can keeps coming up. Is I've seen a lot of managers want to have their sales reps increase their business acumen right, especially in B tob sales. Maybe not be to be in read or B Toc in retail, but when you look at the complexity of the sale today and being able to quantify value, going back to, you know, being able to analyze a business, and we're not talking, you know, hours and hours we're talking, but just be able to look at the you know, financial statements, if they're public, and figure out if there's some financial health they're not, and then help your people build the internal business case right so that that level of just general business acumen. And I think this could when you and I talked about specialization on another episode, and I think this becomes part of the challenge that we're seeing. As they get more specialized, sales people get more specialized, there seems to be a lack of the macro understanding of how business is work and how executives work. So when you know it's this also helps with the selling internally. If your rep can come to you and say, Hey, I'm working with company a BNC. They're trying to, you know, increase revenue by twenty percent. Person I'm talking to is focused on this business issue and it quantifies out based on, you know, if it season costs. Like this, your manager has a much better case to be explaining internally right and helping get marketing and sales on the same page because they're speaking the same language. Using that business acumen is kind of a core foundation and I just don't see how see a lot of reps focusing on that. Maybe because it feels too I don't maybe doesn't feel heavy enough, maybe it doesn't feel important enough, but that general level of business acumen is one that I've seen managers ask for. It's one of the things we get the most calls on, right is how do I uplevel my sales reps business acumen so that they're just better in general at working with customers and understanding business and telling a consistent story. Yeah, I think that's a good one because, you know, in the bigger deals that I've done, when you bring your CEO into talk to their CEO, you're like wow, that's a very different conversation than I typically have. You know, is that they are talking about market share, growth rate, you know, in calm evaluation, market cap, competitive...

...positioning, and I think it comes down to, you know, reps are really focused on, you know, how to beat the competition, how to get the technical win. It's kind of you know, internally, it's not natural. There's nothing really driving it. It's something that I think individuals have to want to learn about and especially if you're in a like a vertical you know, if you have petroleum or finance or telecom or federal. If you don't know their vocabulary and what's hot and what they care about, then your conversations won't be very long, but just not. Yeah, they're really not going to be, especially when you know, we everybody talks about how we need access to power or, you know, whatever sales methodology it is. Somebody's got a word for it. Right. We need access to the power people, people are actually going to sign a check. Well, fact of the matter is they think differently. They're thinking about the business they're not thinking about your feature, they're not even quite honestly, they're not even thinking about the problem you're trying to solve for your primary contact. Those power people, those executives, they're thinking about the business differently and and I'm not saying you have to be in an MBA to figure it out. It doesn't. Again, it's not rocket science. It takes a little bit more of that focus and, you know, determination that we've talked about. But be able to understand how those executives, those power people, think, so you can have the credibility to have a conversation. You don't have to have all the answers, but at least need to know what they're talking about when they say things like margins right, and how those are calculated, or they're talking about market share right, or they're talking about, you know, entering a new market or product portfolio, things like that. If you're not able to if you have that look on your face like my dog does when I throw the ball the wrong wind right like TV, yeah, the power people just aren't going to play and so I think it's it's really frustrating for the that I've seen, for sales managers when their reps just don't don't have that and they struggle with how to got to get it, how to provide it. So I mean if reps are willing to take again, be that willing learner, take a step towards educating themselves on how executives think, I think they'll go a long way with the managers and again with technology in the Internet and you know, all these data sources, and even the free ones. There's no real excuse for not knowing that. You know, even if the companies private, you can tell who fund at them, who's on their board? Oh, you know, what's their history? What are they writing about? You know what's their view on certain things? What do they care about? You know, how do they compare against their competition? You know, on Linkedin you can see, you know, the number of employees, the growth, where they're coming from, how long have they been there? You know, all of the stuff will give you an idea of what that person is going to care about. You know, if the person's only been there for six months to probably not going to want to make a big change right or you know, if it's a family business, you know it's you know it's about. You know their lifestyle, on their legacy and their reputation, things like that. You can very quickly learn about it. There's no you don't have to go get a business degree and it is really all you can do is probably spent an hour before that big meeting. And when you do get in front of that powerful person that can signed the check out, the economic buy or whatever you want to call it, they don't care about you, your company, your product, and if you can't talk about something else what they care about, that conversation's going to not going to be very, very long or very fruitful. And it doesn't. Again, it doesn't take it doesn't take a lot of time to figure it figure most of the stuff out. I mean I spent I did a reinforcement session with the clients team yesterday and I've been real time. Told them to give me a company name and the gave me a company name and in seventeen minutes I had done the research, knew...

...what their, you know, financial health had been and showed them. It doesn't take long. It does not take a longer to it now I might have back when all the data wasn't there. I remember when we didn't have access to all this right there was a thing called the library and that we write and the great place to spend a summer. Heay. Well, yeah, it was great, but now you can do it's all right here your fingertips. I think the trick maybe, you know, deciphering it, deciphering what's important, and I think that really comes down to focusing on how executive thing and what's going to be important to them and just have that general that General Business Acumen. Yeah, yeah, and I I do a couple of episodes. I did one with a CEO when I asked him, we know, what does he care about as far as when a new sales repped approaches him, and what does he care about when they're doing a large deal? And it wasn't anything about the product. It was about, you know, how's it going to impact the culture of the company? How's it going to impact you productivity, growth rate, competitiveness? And it's not just top line revenue and bottom line costs. That's a huge part of it, but everyone talks about you got to get deeper into it and start thinking about it and, you know, even go up to your own CEO and just ask them, you know, what do you care about? You know when some it amazes. That was funny. It's came up yesterday. I'm like you got, look, you have access to a CEO your sore corner. Go ask him what does he care about? Like it's again, it's just not it's not hard and I think I wonder sometimes, I'm this kind of nonsachrist one er sometimes, if all of this information in the different facets are becoming much clear. Like we can see kind of the pieces of the puzzle, but the overall number of pieces in the puzzle are getting smaller and more complex because of all of the information now that people have access to. They don't know where to focus on, what to work on first, right, so, sales managers when they're putting together and enablement plan for their teams. So well, do I focus first on, you know, getting them product knowledge or Business Acumen, or do I focus on, you know, getting them to work with marketing? Or do I focus on, Hey, this is our crm and we're going to spend, you know, two weeks so you don't screw up the data? Right? It just I think it's getting to be a little bit more complex of a puzzle than it used to be. And I definitely know some sales managers that are struggling with that. Yeah, and I think as a wrap you got to say, look, you're going through you university, meaning that you are the dean. You know, the Internet is your campus and your motivation. You know, is what's saving you the money to not go to that NBA school. And you know, because the barrier, you don't have to find the big building with the pillars in the the old guy and with a robe to learn from a smart person anymore. They're on Youtube, they're on PODCAST, they're on audible and you don't have to even pick up a book. You just plug in your ear buds and you can learn everything you need to do it. And the I think the value of business acumen is that it's going to get you higher up in the Org. Bigger deals, faster deals, more reliable deals exactly, and that should be motivation enough. I think one other I had was internal champion, and I think this is really what I always thought the manager's job was. I always valued the manager who was my internal champion, not just championing me but championing the right thing. You know, what product features do we need? What marketing campaigns should we have? What complants should look like. You know, how do we reduce the friction instead of, you know, making us constantly as reps adapt to the system? And you know, I've worked at you know, I got acquired by a huge company and they was still using, you know, literally, you know, mainframe stuff with an html interface. You know, coball programmers. You wouldn't. It would bring up the interface and I'd have some manager alway, you use in kicks or wax or Jacks has, and I'm like what? They send me a link and I go, I think it's loading, you know, and like okay,...

...go to column seventy three. You didn't fill that in. Oh sorry, that was three monitors away. I couldn't see seveny there. Yeah, and you that's you know, but everyone's kind of got to be that internal champion. Know, pick your battles, but you know, getting the corporation to you know, do the right thing is kind of everybody's responsibility instead of just everyone being a little soldier, you know, continuing to do what isn't working well, and especially especially when you see organizations that are investing in I've got one client is doing a big organizational transformation initiative. Is Basically to breakdown those silos that just kind of naturally happen. Well, the only way that works is if everybody involved, regardless of the the team you're on or the part of the org you're in, are focused on the overwriting goals for the organization and are willing to listen as somebody else is telling you what they're trying to do, and you have the patients to leal hear them. You got to hear them and then be able to turn around and champion what your team's doing in a way that hopefully they will understand. So it requires much more communication and I can remember, man, when I first started running teams, I had people that wouldn't that. You didn't want to talk to anybody else in the organization. Look, I filled out my forecast. I'm talking to you boss. I don't need I don't need talking about else. I'm not going to mess with the marketing stuff. They don't get it. I don't have the time. I'm out here, you know, hitting the streets, pound on the pavement, and I think there there has to be, especially as organizations grow, in order to be more cohesive. I think everybody has a responsibility to understand not just their role in the organization but the whole as well. All right, everyone that does it for this episode of the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. We appreciate you guys listening again, if you want a cup of coffee, stop by the website. BE TO BE REV exectcom. Fill out that feedback form. When you guys in the drawing for the cups of coffee. Hopefully we'll get to meet some of you in person. If you haven't had a chance yet, please go to itunes or two, stitcher or whatever you're listening to this podcast in. Write us a review. We use those reviews to help us figure out which best guests and topics to cover on the show. It's been an absolute pleasure to work with Brian Burns and have you guys listening today. If you guys want to get in touch with us, please just shoot us an email at accelerate at value prime solutionscom. Send US your suggestions, comments, feedback. We're looking for all of it. Want to make sure the show is happy and healthy for you guys, so please don't hesitate to reach out and until next time, we value prime solutions with you and yours, nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show and Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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