Watch This Week's Episode
To celebrate the end of Q3 and to welcome a unique Q4, we mixed up this week’s Weekly Briefing. Jim invited two of our newest AEs to share their experiences joining a company in a remote environment, and how they’ve been able to ramp in record time and close business within their first month at Chorus.
Amanda Jones and Julia Cole were Chorus users before they became Chorus sellers. Now part of our Strategic and Corporate team respectively, they started this week’s Briefing by celebrating and congratulating each other on a great quarter-end.
To help others understand what it’s like to join a company while remote, Jim wanted to know: Why Chorus?
“I came from Lessonly where we leveraged Chorus a lot,” said Julia. “It was my most used tool aside from Salesforce. Whether it’s from a handoff or you’re trying to capture what really happened in a deal, or what top reps are saying, it’s so impactful. Without it I wouldn’t have been able to run sales cycles, to review and prep. That’s why I joined up.”
Amanda echoed a similar motivation.
“I was one of Chorus’s first customers at Outreach,” she said. “Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to listen to the top rep’s calls and ramp up in record time there.”
And they did. Both of them ramped in record time, while remote and in a tough market. They shared their experiences and stories with Jim.
The Weekly Briefing
Remote Sales Onboarding and Coaching in COVID
We’ve seen from past data that hiring mentions have been trending up as people are starting to hire. Even as the market remains uncertain, companies are getting back to business and buyers are ready to invest.
When asked what remote sales onboarding looked like for Julia and Amanda, they were quick to supply their experiences shared by the sales community.
What Remote Onboarding Looks Like
Gearing up your sales motion to meet the needs of the market can’t slow down, even when the environment looks like it does.
“I’ll be honest, interviewing is tough while remote,” said Julia. “You have to make up for emotions over Zoom than if you were in person.”
She shared that her interview process at Chorus - which she described as “thorough” - was part of her ramp. “I had to role play,” Julia said, “I’m not good at role plays. I didn’t really show myself. I got too focused and caught up on specifics.”
And when asked to come back for a second run, she asked if she could have the recording. “That started my experience of onboarding right in the interview process,” she said.
What insight did she take with her into her second sales interview? Intros and taking the time to dig deep.
From the second recording, she learned that: “I didn’t do a great job at introductions. So, I will never not do a good intro ever again. I also didn’t dig deep. After listening to it, I turned that around.” And, clearly, she knocked it out of the park.
Remote Onboarding Tip: Ask for the recording of your interview.
What Feedback Looks Like During Virtual Ramp
Staying connected and constantly improving is part of an ideal sales motion. Amanda shared her experience with virtual ramp, and how feedback from her manager and peers played a key role in her success.
“You’ve got to be proactive,” said Amanda. “My deals have longer sales cycles because I’m in strategic sales. I got with my boss and said: ‘Give me your top reps, I want to listen to all of their calls.’ I wanted to make sure that when I was onboarding with Chorus that I was creating those good sales habits. The kind of habits that sales leadership wants to see.
I use my mobile app a lot, I’d go on walks with my dog and listen to calls. That contributed to the way I would do my discovery calls and demos and ultimately was how I closed a deal in record time here.”
The other tactic she used? Listen to the calls and ask the questions.
“I would ask Sales Engineers to explain this or that,” said Amanda. “You’ve got to be proactive.”
Julia echoed Amanda’s proactive approach and added that you should get feedback from people other than your manager.
“Don’t only rely on your manager,” said Julia. “One day I was feeling a little aggressive and I asked Thiago, our new CRO to listen to my call and give me feedback. When he goes into a call at an exact moment, and says, ‘Hey, we need to pick up on this next time,’ it is so impactful.”
And, by the way, her key learning from that feedback was critical for her success.
“He said we were feature selling at this point and we need to tie it back to our objectives, and he was on point,” Julia shared. “And the very next call I started by saying, ‘Hey I sent this call to our CRO and I want to take a step back and start with what I heard. Let’s focus on you rather than showing a platform.’”
Sales Onboarding Tip: Actively reach out for feedback to improve at every interaction.
Get the Report
How to Stay Connected to a Remote Team
Amanda is based in Austin and Julia is based in Chicago. But everyone is remote right now. Staying connected to a team as a new member is important to feeling aligned with the mission and values of a company.
Amanda shared her first “a-ha” moment where she felt belonging and connection to the wider team.
“We did a really fun wine tasting event,” she said. “I think companies need to get a little more creative to get people connected rather than just Slack or Zoom meetings, because Zoom fatigue is a real thing. But doing something fun and different was great.”
Julia shared that her moment of belonging and feeling connected to the team came a little differently.
“I have a few moments where I realized that this is my team. One was, I remember when Amanda and I were onboarding together and up late together collaborating. Another was being vulnerable and asking members of your team to review a call that you knew wasn’t your best because you just want to get better.”
And finally,” she laughed, “I was working out and I got a notification that Jim Benton commented on my Chorus call. And knowing we’re all connected makes us the best version of ourselves.”
Jim laughed, knowing the comment she referenced. “You know, we’re all in our homes and we’re all wanting to have more connection. I find it fun! It was my way to let you know you did an amazing job and that I hadn’t seen that before. It’s important to share that.”
Sales Onboarding Tip: Creative events and collaborating on deal reviews can help sales teams stay connected.
Best Practices in the Remote Selling Environment
The reason Jim wanted to have them on the show is simple. “In the midst of working from home and a pandemic, you’ve ramped faster than any rep in this company’s history.”
We’ve seen that top-performing reps tell compelling stories.
Both Julia and Amanda quickly agreed that stories were key to their fast ramp and onboarding success.
“I ramped so quickly because we have a strong team in place,” said Julia. “The reps are very confident with stories. It goes a long way because they’re part of the sales journey. It’s not ‘let’s sign a contract, and good luck,’ it’s ‘let’s make sure this is a success.’”
“When you’re hearing directly from the customer and hearing their success,” she added, “being able to share that with other people is incredibly impactful.”
She shared an example of a story she used for a client that found themselves in a very relatable situation.
“A really great customer brought on a consultant and launched a new force management. Reps all over the place but no way of knowing if they are adhering to new methodology,” said Julia. “This is something I hear all the time. And when you can relate that back to people, they know they’re not alone. They know they’re in the right place if we can talk about this.”
Amanda agreed that she’s seen the power of relatable stories in action.
“One of our top customers at Chorus, they released a new product,” Amanda said. “They saw that their reps weren’t talking about it. So with some new coaching and new tools, they were able to see a huge increase in sales of that feature. So when I hear from another customer that they’re hearing the same things, that’s when you know you can tell this story to help them provide social proof to get them excited.”
Remote Onboarding Tip: Share relatable stories that you hear from customers.
When I bring on a new customer, I get emotionally attached to them. I want to know: Are they hitting their goals? And sharing that with new prospects is powerful.
Adding Social Proof to Stories
We’ve seen that top performers include concrete social proof 68% in their stories. By social proof, we mean using specific details and not generalizing experiences shared by others.
Amanda expanded on her point of social proof above and how sales reps should apply it in their calls.
“Bring the story home,” she said. “I’m a rep that sells to other sales teams. So they're doing the same motions as I do. My manager has Chorus alerts, so I don’t even have to raise my hand, he’s right where I need him.
This is the story I tell them. Especially when I’m hearing from them that they’re struggling with how to empower their leadership team with more efficiency or they need to coach better, or they don’t have any visibility into their reps. Just bringing my experiences this home to relate back to them.”
Julia shared that her use of social proof involves the customer success motion as well.
“Partnering with customer success is powerful,” said Julia. “What can you learn from a CSM? Ask them what they hear on Quarterly Reviews. Keep that open dialogue so that you can keep learning from them.
When I bring on a new customer, I get emotionally attached to them. I want to know: Are they hitting their goals? And sharing that with new prospects is powerful.”
“That’s amazing,” said Jim. “It’s not even your story and you’re telling it as if it is your story.”
Sales Onboarding Tip: Leverage relatable stories as social proof, even if they’re not your own.
Get the Deck
Advice to Close Deals as a New Rep
We know that it’s taking 10% more meetings to close deals than it was in Q1.
As a new rep, how do you gain their trust and propel the deal forward quickly?
“Loop in and prep all the right people,” said Julia. “When you have this type of collaboration, it’s hard to beat that. It’s customer-first - that’s the bottom line.”
“I think that’s right,” said Amanda. “I had a great process. At the beginning, I listened to all the calls so I could have a great sales motion. Then I would review feedback from my manager.
I aligned my solutions consultants. I talked to Sophie and Libby in Customer Marketing. I talked to Jordan, our lead of Customer Success to make sure that I was doing well. To me, this is how I ramped up with mass success: Team collaboration.”
Sales Onboarding Tip: Cross-collaboration makes ‘Customer-First’ work.
Does Peer Sales Coaching Work?
The ability to review calls is not exclusive to managers. At Chorus, we nurture a culture of self and peer improvement.
Julia shared that she receives feedback on calls from everyone, from the CRO to Kora, a Chorus rep who crushed this quarter. “Kora commented on my call, ‘Loved this call, this is a great opportunity to ask about their BDR to AE handoff.’ Little things like that are so helpful for the next interaction. I love hearing from my peers. It’s a great way to stay connected while remote.”
Amanda completely agreed. “We do a lot of collaboration. What I hear versus Katrina or Beau or Devin... I want their feedback, I’m eager for their feedback.
I think it’s important to put their ego aside. Our culture here, we’re eager for it. Julia and I at the beginning would just share each other’s calls to get everyone’s feedback.”
Sales Onboarding Tip: Encourage a culture of peer-improvement.
Building an Iconic Team, Remote
“With this iconic team, you’re able to connect and hear from each other,” said Jim. “We haven’t even all met in person.”
This is us, this is Chorus. This is how we learn and grow and stay connected.
How to Kick Off a New Quarter
Amanda’s Advice: Be proactive.
“Go after it,” Amanda said. “I have the mindset of asking a lot of questions, getting answers, and going after it. It’s been a tough year for everybody, but there is so much momentum - especially in our space. So it’s very exciting. Just be proactive.”
Julia’s Advice: Stay authentic.
“Truly bringing excitement to every call,” said Julia. “It’s been a tough year. If you make the call over Zoom impactful, or teach them something or be able to relate to them. That’s what we need right now. Don’t be a typical sales rep. Be yourself and just help. Keep them as your main focus.”
And, as Jim said, we couldn’t be more proud of the team that is moving us forward. If you’re onboarding new reps or considering a new methodology, know that it’s possible to win right out of the gate. Just take it from Julia and Amanda.
Or, take it from Jim: “This is us, this is Chorus. This is how we learn and grow and stay connected.”