The Daily Briefing - May 14, 2020 - What Leaders Should & Shouldn’t Do In Sales Calls They Join

May 14, 2020

Today, Jim Benton was joined by Carole Mahoney, the Founder and Chief Sales Officer of Unbound Growth. They explored Chorus data around executive call participation and sales team productivity, and how leaders can help - and hurt - their long term sales growth by reactively jumping onto calls. Here are the key takeaways: Don’t be afraid to text (once you’ve reached out a few times) When sales leaders join meetings, let the sales person lead the call Coach ahead of time so you trust your team and don’t feel the need to rescue them Recharge your frontline managers. Or “Frontline Captains” Working from home is the new normal, but it’s not for everybody We have all adjusted - almost overnight - to working from home. It’s not been a seamless transition, but some are taking to it better than others. Carole is used to working from home. “I’ve coached, trained, and worked from home so this is normal for me. I find that people are feeling the need to connect with people outside of Zoom. That’s been a lot of the challenge,” she said. “Even though I’ve been working from home for 13 years, I could go out when I wanted to but it’s different now.” Being productive at home takes time to adjust to. And now that many companies are considering letting go of their office space - or have already - managers need to be able to adapt their management styles. “I would say 60-70% of companies I’m talking to say that they are going to bounce back into it,” said Carole, sharing what she’s hearing from companies about returning to the office. “Then others are saying, ‘Why didn’t we do this years ago?’” Instead of spending a fortune on office space, and spending countless hours on a commute, companies can save all of that if they can successfully manage remote teams at scale. The trouble is, not everyone is equipped for it. “The new normal is working from home,” said Carole, “But only about 40-45% of sales people are suited for working from home. Only so many have the skill set and discipline to work from home.” Quality over quantity of meetings Even so, sales teams are staying busy. Overall meetings are up 7% week over week implying increased - or at least maintained - productivity. And yet, like so many things, it’s not just the quantity of the meetings. It’s the quality. “I am seeing that meeting volume is going up,” said Carole. “But the meetings themselves aren’t as impactful as before because they're not ready to make decisions yet. They’re more about discovery.” She expects it also has to do with the nature of the conversations themselves. “Sales people aren’t as comfortable with what to say. They don’t want to offend. More meetings are being booked because they want to connect, but I want to see the quality increase too.” Outbound has to be confident, consistent, and uncanned Outbound teams are getting creative as they’re reaching out. People are no longer in their offices, so where do you contact them easiest? Carole says: Don’t be afraid to text. “A lot of what I’m seeing is a text message to connect,” she said. “I see text messaging becoming a little more commonplace. Not necessarily cold, but if you’ve reached out before it can work.” However you’re reaching out, it must be personalized. Sequences changed over the past months. “We saw them start much shorter,” she said, “around 2-3 weeks. But we’ll see them spread out more. What’s always driven me crazy was that sequences make a lot of assumptions. I hope we’ll get more smart with our sequences, making them more if-then oriented. Tailored to a person's responses.” Lead and coach, don’t save Chorus has reported that there has been a dramatic increase of executive presence on calls. Deals are under higher scrutiny and are facing more objections than even two months ago. Leadership support can go a long way to move a deal forward. But there are subtle mistakes that leaders can make on these calls that will hurt them in the long run, even if they walk away with a won deal. Carole is passionate about the role of leadership in deals. While they can help, their intention for joining matters. They can cause long term harm if they come in just to “save” the deal. Even with so much leadership in the room, there needs to be one person to connect all the dots. “When you have an enterprise sale, there can be multiple C-Level people in the room. Do a dry run go over every scenario,” she said. “Understand that the salesperson is the ringleader of it all,” said Carole. The balance of saving and supporting is something that needs to be dealt with carefully. “Sales leaders join, and then they take over. This downgrades the salesperson role,” she said. To prevent this, she recommends preparation. “Train and coach your team. If you’ve done that, then you trust them to execute on this deal. But if you haven’t trained them, you may feel that you have to step in because you can’t afford to lose this deal.”

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