Welcome to your sales weekly roundup for March 31 - April 7. This week we’ve got 7 killer insights why no one is returning your sales calls, what makes a great manager from the perspective of 60 SDRs, and how to motivate your reps so they don’t quit. Enjoy!
“Sales is the transfer of enthusiasm. You can transfer enthusiasm over the phone, not over email,” says John Barrows, esteemed sales trainer and Owner of J. Barrows Consulting. Despite this, many reps still falter when it comes to using the phone. Potentially because…
1) You don’t leave a message. Say Rep A and Rep B both make 20 calls, but only one leaves voicemail messages—which one do you think has a higher chance of getting called back?
2) You add no value. “Time is the most valuable asset any of us have,” Barrows writes. When it comes to sales calls, this couldn’t be more true. Fluffy phrases like “just checking in” or “just touching base,” don’t add any value to your message, nor does saying you understand a customer’s needs. Instead, deliver specific insights and an enticing message that makes your buyer actually want to return your call.
3) You’re long-winded. “Focus on short and sweet” to try and get your buyer to call you back. There’s nothing worse than a rambling voicemail with no distinct value-prop or call-to-action.
4) You use tricks. Barrows loves sales tips, but hates sales tricks. Leaving a message acting like you know the prospect will only get you so far. Be authentic and you won’t leave your buyer feeling annoyed or gimmicked.
5) You're too scripted. People equally despise scripted performances and pitches. Barrows says he gets more calls back when he screws up than when he delivers a perfect pitch.
6) You use weak words. We all have a bit of a habit of using umms and ahhs, but try to avoid these, as they make your message seem weak and lacking conviction.
7) You have no passion or energy. Professor Mehrabian created a communication model that discusses how body language makes up 55% of the way we communicate as human beings. This means we’re only dealing with 45% of the way people communicate when we talk over the phone. Leaving monotone voicemails that lack emotion are the last thing that make buyers want to call you back. Barrows suggests standing up, as it helps your voice resonate better than sitting hunched over at your desk.
Mihir Deo, co-founder and COO of the free crowd-sourced database of business contacts Elucify, surveyed over 60 sales development reps (SDRs) from 40 companies about what they think makes a great SDR manager. Deo found a gap in the amount of articles written from the manager’s perspective but not from the SDR’s point of view.
Here are the four main characteristics he uncovered.
A Great SDR Manager Has Experience in the SDR Role. It takes one to know one, right?
“It’s really hard to take coaching from someone who hasn’t done the job before,” said one SDR from a Fortune 500 company.
Though, as Deo outlines, this qualification can be tough to meet. The skills needed for SDRs a decade ago are quite different than they are today. Still, time-tested sales business acumen such as prospecting and qualifying is relatively consistent. Coach your reps on that, leveraging the most relevant experience you have.
They’re A Team Member and A Manager. Rather than telling reps what to do all the time, SDR’s respect someone who will join them in the trenches.
As Jeff Cuaron, a BDR at Zuora put it: “ [A great SDR manager is] someone that will get on the phone with the team, one that never stops prospecting and can find new accounts to target.”
They’re Transparent. According to Deo’s research, approximately 75% of SDRs ranked transparency as the top three qualities they want in a manager.
One SDR put it: “If I’m about to be fired or am not doing well at my job, I’d rather know ahead of time than be surprised.” So when your SDRs ask questions like ‘How am I doing?” give them an honest answer—are they meeting or falling behind expectations?
They’re Invested in their SDRs’ Career Growth. While all managers should support their employees’ career goals, SDRs are especially important, Deo says, because often they are fresh out of college. They want their managers to support and advise their career goals, whether than entails a traditional path to an AE or not. Forcing your SDRs into these goals won’t do you any good though. It’s like like forcing a bad-fit prospect into a sale.
Deo says, “Keep SDRs motivated to succeed by identifying what makes them tick and outlining a potential career path -- even if it’s not the traditional SDR-to-AE one.”
VP of Sales for Epos Now, one of the fastest-growing POS companies in the world, David Duncan shares his insights on sales management’s role in motivating new hires. If you don’t motivate reps, Duncan points out, they’ll eventually either jump ship, drastically reduce performance and then jump ship, or create a negative energy that affects the rest of the sales force.
Here are Duncan’s tips on how to motivate your reps:
Step 1: Set Goals & Expectations From The Beginning
The point here is to set realistic expectations. Duncan suggests before offering the role, “show them a documented role profile breaking down exactly how they can affect their basic salary and commission through higher performance (revenue and non-revenue targets).” There’s no point hiring someone if the company’s plans don’t align with the company’s internal goals.
Step 2: Develop a Performance Development Plan
Duncan suggests sales managers complete a PDP (Performance Development Plan) for each rep and store it in the CRM. Epos Now uses a SalesForce HR plugin from the App Store called HR XCD. This app provides a unified and transparent document for monthly 1-1 feedback, including the sales reps’ compensation goals and the KPIs needed to get them there.
Step 3: Have Meaningful and Regular Performance Reviews
If you’re a robot sales manager, you will get robot sales reps. Part of being human in a management role means conducting regular and meaningful feedback. Performance reviews shouldn’t only be around pipeline and revenue, but personal problems that could be affecting performance at work. This is what that looks like on the HR platform.
Using the platform, SVPs can also create custom dashboards to view which managers have completed their 1-on-1’s or set objectives for each rep on their team.
All in all, sales managers need to create an emotional relationship with each rep to coach them in life and in work, effectively communicating they’re more than just a number to the company.