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Do This in 2013 & Boost Inside Sales Productivity

Posted by Matt Bertuzzi on Wed, Dec 19, 2012
 

As we wind down 2012, I want to share a quick snippet from the single best article I read this year on what it means to be a Sales Manager.

Chris Snell, Inside Sales Manager at Care.com, wrote:

My reps time is really valuable to them, and it has to be even more valuable to me. Invites to internal meetings, issues of customer service that they’re not equipped to handle, and requests from colleagues that take them away from their sales efforts – all of these things are distractions, and it’s really my job to keep my reps free from them.

You’re in sales, you understand the necessity of hitting your goals, you know that any time off of the phone building relationships and prospecting affects you financially.

If I’m not able to help keep my reps from these types of diversions, they’re going to feel it, and ultimately, so will the business. You see, I don’t really think of myself as a sales manager, but rather a guardian. I need to guard my team’s time so that they can focus on their goals.

So how do you best guard their time?

One idea is to give them a place to share exactly the issues that are taking them off the phone and away from prospects.

Salesforce.com COO George Hu shared how they did exactly that: they created a chatter group for ‘Airing of Grievances’.

(For those unfamiliar, Chatter is enterprise social network/collaboration platform within Salesforce.com. Here’s a 2 minute Chatter explainer video.)

I think this is pure genius

An “Airing of Grievances” group can offer:

  • An internal place for Reps to share frustrations
  • A platform for the entire sales org to crowd-source solutions
  • Visibility into issues that normally, would never land on the desk of the COO or VP of Sales

Don’t think: the worst of anonymous internet commenting.
Do think: professional, linked to your name & photo, and visible right up to Executive Management.

Listen, you trust your reps to conduct themselves externally on LinkedIn groups. I’m pretty sure they won’t betray that trust internally in a Chatter group.

What do you think? What else can Sales Managers do to act as time guardians?

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(Photo credit: Digby & Rose

 

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COMMENTS

Matt: I enjoyed reading Chris's article about protecting reps and the Grievances idea. As COO, I feel the inside sales role is critical to our success. My job is to create an environment for reps to be successful, so protection of time and finding time for them to air issues are included in the daily management process. I also feel coaching inside reps and inside lead generation reps that expecting to "win" every deal or get a lead from every call is not realistic. The BEST professional baseball players "fail" to get a hit almost 70% of the time. It's important that the VP Sales makes sure reps have the tools, resources and, most important, immediate access to senior management for helping the rep be successful. Don't allow your reps to get into a slump by ignoring their needs- stay involved daily and your trust in the reps will pay dividends.

posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2012 6:55 AM by Dick Orlando


Great point, Dick. It definitely takes skill to coach reps to appreciate 30% "win" as a huge success.

posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:00 AM by Matt Bertuzzi


Matt, 
 
Thanks for the compliment. Coming from you, and knowing that it's also "corporately" from the Inside Sales Experts, that really means a lot. Glad you enjoyed the blog! 
 
Chris

posted @ Wednesday, December 19, 2012 8:31 AM by Chris Snell


I agree that internal discussions, customer service issues and the like can be a pain for inside sales people, and more so thier managers as it takes them away from thier calls and decreases talk time.  
To a certain degree though its good because it gets you out of your shell and allows you to collaborate with other people in the company. Most inside sales reps don't plan on being in inside sales thier whole lives. I guess it depends on the broader goals of the inside sales team and how the company has positioned inside sales to support the customer base.

posted @ Friday, December 21, 2012 2:41 PM by Michael


Great post Matt! I totally agree with Chris. To be a good leader, you need to be a good servant to your staff. Leadership is not a position - it is a choice - a choice to serve, guide and help others find their own voice from within. Airing of grievances is a great idea, it keeps the communication lines open to avoid huge future problems. http://bit.ly/ayeen8

posted @ Tuesday, January 08, 2013 2:19 AM by Ayeen Benoza


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