|TAG Panel on “How Dynamic Sales Orgs Drive Results”. Pictured from left to right: Jon Birdsong, Mary Ford, Ryan Radding, Eric Mercado, and Kyle Tothill|
- Jon Birdsong (CEO, WideAngle)
- Mary Ford (Director of Sales Operations and Strategy, Dell SecureWorks)
- Ryan Radding (AVP, Salesforce)
- Eric Mercado (VP of Business Development, Force Marketing)
- Kyle Tothill (Partner and Managing Director, eHire)
The majority of the discussion revolved around engaging sales teams either in mentoring and coaching or via direct incentives. Here are a few take-aways:
- There’s a spectrum of engagement and performance that ranges from (low to high): Resistant, Reluctant, Existent, Compliant, Committed, and Compelled. Mitigate (or remove) reps in the first three groups while promoting and sharing practices of the high performance reps who exhibit innovation and leadership.
- Drive engagement in these areas: Connection (connect individuals together to form the team), Support (mentoring and coaching), Reward (incentives), Progress (clear career progression model), and Structure (ensure alignment and understanding of roles and responsibilities).
- Measuring success and engagement should go beyond metrics and activities. Include personal goals – set, met, exceeded? Understand that the “outside” lives of reps has a very real impact on work performance.
- Beyond retention and promotion stats, evaluate the effectiveness and engagement of the team with referrals by reps and how quickly reps ramp up.
- Gamification plays to the competitive nature of sales reps with a layer of transparency and accountability.
- Pull ideas from reps on selling, don’t just push “best practices”. Sales reps can be innovative in how they sell and pushing “best practices” may not be conducive to the reps’ individual styles.
- Coaching tends to have a “master-subordinate” structure set with boundaries while mentoring allows freer structure and less formality. Mentors tend to go beyond sales topics or even at the current job. Have/ establish both.
Good points raised by the team, and continues to illustrate that to drive sales, it’s all about driving engagement from the team. Companies are organizations of people. Engaging the people within, at the group and individual level, can produce a culture that drives sustainable practices for business growth and team motivation.
- Tier 1 – The Brand’s National (or international) campaigns. What’s happening nationally? This is all brand-based, and it’s necessarily to drive people into dealerships. Think: Superbowl commercials.
- Tier 2 – The Brand’s Regional campaigns. This can be regional like the Southeast, or more local-driven like campaigns for Atlanta-area dealerships. These campaigns do try to bring in consumers down the funnel.
- Tier 3 – The Dealership-Level campaigns. These can be specific commercials or even print media (print? Yes, print) to drive consumers to a specific dealership.
- Building the brand (Tier 1). With Body Boss, we eventually wanted to go into B2C after more traction in the B2B space, but we consistently published material like blogs, social media posts, and the like to establish ourselves as thought leaders and connectors in strength and conditioning.
- PR in startups (Tier 1). It’s highly doubtful our target audience of strength coaches were going to be visitors to design and creative websites like awwwards.comor were going to visit techno-blogs like nibletz.com. However, we wanted to continue to build our brand even in those spaces – you never know who knows who. All that, of course, should be secondary to driving PR in the relevant industry of your target audience. Reaching out to the experts and connectors (like major publications, LinkedIn groups, professional organizations) will be the primary tool for PR in driving your brand’s existence to then drive sales.
- SEO and SEM for drive inbound marketing (Tier 1/2). – This is kind of a mix, but the general thought here is that especially with technology, the world is “local” or at least “regional”. The most important element is driving potential consumers into and further down the sales funnel. This is where good content like through blogging and guest writing experts can lead many in.
- Tradeshows and conferences (Tier 2). If you can obtain a list of the conference attendees, you can send out a nice little message that can be more of your larger campaign (maybe Tier 1). Otherwise, on the conference floor, your goal is to introduce your brand to everyone there who could be interested in your offering. I love these for many reasons, but in general, if done right, you can get a lot of people started and down your funnel quick. Your drive shouldn’t be to make the sale then and there, but to set up an appointment later.
- Business Developers/ Salespersons (Tier 2/3). I was tempted to just write salespeople because that’s in many ways the goal here, right? To make sales? Make money? Anyways, as a sales person, I’m constantly making cold calls and emails (and tweets, etc.). My method is very different than that of my CEO’s, so for me, I can definitely see the “dealership-level” type of strategy where I’m creating my smaller marketing initiatives aligning with the larger brand’s, and then trying to get prospects in the door. And hopefully, a handshake to move forward, of course.
- Random pitches (Tier 1/2/3). Okay, so maybe not the formal definition of “pitches”, but everytime you walk out your door and speak about your company, you’re doing some marketing activity. Sometimes, it’s a complete stranger who sees your shirt and is intrigued – could he/ she be a potential buyer? Maybe someone with a good connection? Or maybe even an investor? You never know who you’re going to meet.