Most sales managers I know have the best intentions. They don’t want to manage their reps, they want to coach them to achieve greatness – or at least quota. Many of them, though, struggle with where to start. The comfortable beginning is, “do what I did.” Soon, they realize, that doesn’t work. So, I get asked, “What can I do RIGHT NOW to make a difference?”
For these managers, here’s my response. I ask two simple questions regarding email:

  1. Are your reps sending out recap emails of their interactions?
  2. Are you reviewing your reps outbound emails on all forecasted or about to be forecasted opportunities?

If the answer isn’t 100% “Yes” to both questions for at least all reps who are below quota, then I suggest the following –
Set the sales team culture as one of support and coaching. Get buy-in on this. As a manifestation of those cultural values, require that your reps “bcc” you on all meaningful prospect and customer correspondence so you can figure out what is going on with their conversations and opportunities. Only then will you be able to “attaboy” or “attagirl” the good and coach the gaps.
The recap email is the artifact of any meaningful conversation. It should follow a simple format:

  1. What was the goal or purpose of the call?
  2. What is the current situation, with data points?
  3. What capabilities or proof or documentation does the prospect need to move to the next step in the buy-sell process?
  4. What’s the value of the above to them?
  5. How does the above fit into the buying process? Next steps?

If a sales manager is not getting bcc’d – or if correspondence is not automatically going into the CRM system, how does she know what was discussed on the last sales call? How does she know if the rep forgot to ask about a key data point or timing or a key player’s role? How does she know on what process step, messaging tool or script, or behavior to focus her coaching?
One last thing, I like bcc, regardless of whether the emails go into the CRM. I have found the reps prepare better and are more focused during the conversations and pay more attention to detail while writing if they know they are going to be bcc’ing their manager.
Try it, let me know how it goes.

SalesReformSchool Food for Thought

strunkwhiteWhat if you are worried that your sales team while good at selling is awful at writing? You’re not alone. I have two recommendations: 1) Share this essay on why writing skills are so important and 2) Buy this little book for everyone on your team.

SalesReformSchool Extracurricular

Winter is coming. No, really. This is not a fanboy plot to get you to watch Game of Thrones, although I do recommend it. With winter comes colder nights curled up with… Netflix.
Am I wrong?
This list is a fantastic compilation of old and new, artsy and mainstream. Really, something for everyone. How many have you seen?
Me? 41.  Don’t judge.
That’s all for today.
Good Selling (and watching)!

P.S.  I’ve had some interest lately in providing keynote addresses for year-end or new year kickoff programs based on some of the things I’ve written you about. Email or call me if you want more information.

P.P.S. Did you like this email? Any comments you’d like to share?  Please post a reply or  email me and consider sharing this post!

Through SalesReformSchool, I am available to you for Sales Process Design, Sales Messaging Creation, On-boarding/In-boarding Sales Team Workshops, Keynote Addresses, Facilitation, Group or One-on-One Coaching, Pipeline Reviews and other Sales Management Consulting.