OPEN BAR: Virtual Selling Expert Forum & Best Practice Sharing [Video + Q&A]
Check out the answers to the questions we asked our panelists during the Open Bar.
Q – What are some best practices you’d suggest for capitalizing on the positive momentum reps experience individually on the frontlines? Previously, in the office, we can all hear each other – we can high five and praise something that goes well or laugh about a bad call/intro/etc. Obviously, we’ve lost some of that, so what are things you’ve tried to continue capturing that feeling?
A – “The great news is that technology enables us to get the same feeling without being physically in the same location. Zoom is a great tool and I like to carve some time during the weekly calls to praise 1-2 employees for their contribution.
Last week we sent a breakfast kit to all employees to enjoy so they know we are thinking about them. We have virtual birthday cards that are signed by all to celebrate bdays. We do shout outs once a week.
The key is not to over do it and be very specific when praising employees.
One word of advice, never praise an employee for “working hard”. This is very subjective and gives others the feeling that if they are not available all the time, they are not good enough. Try to focus on measurable metrics.” – Gaby Koren | General Manager | Glassbox Digital
Q – What are your best tips for handling difficult conversations with reps? For example – what if you need to have a really hard conversation – like your rep did something that does not meet expectations and it’s pretty serious?
A – “I know I mentioned several times yesterday that video is being overused when managing remote teams. Difficult conversations, however, are a scenario where I believe using video is necessary. In an office environment, critical conversations need to be had one-to-one and face-to-face. Having those conversations remotely is no different. Much like in-office, I encourage those conversations to happen in a timely manner vs. putting them off for some arbitrary reason. There is one nuance to having them remote that I’d strongly encourage though.
Years ago, I had a “difficult conversation” with a rep who was working from home. Without knowing it, I was reprimanding him in front of his wife and two kids in their living room. Ever since then, I’ve been hyper conscious to keep it from happening again. For remote employees that I need to have critical conversations with, I now tell them in advance a difficult conversation is coming. My hope is it allows them to go somewhere they feel more comfortable: away from a roommate, significant other, or (even worse) their kids. I’ll shoot them a note saying “John, I need to talk to you about something I heard on your call this morning. I’m concerned about it and we need to talk face-to-face. When are you available for a video call with me?” I would also make sure you are in a place absent of distractions. It’s not a great scene for you to be having this difficult conversation and your own kids jump into the screen turning a cartwheel and laughing.” – Adam Chambliss | Manager | Field Edge
Q – What’s the best way to apply pressure to your sales reps when doing the online/remote status calls? When you have reps that aren’t making their numbers… in-person meetings make it easy to read body language and see if pressure is too much. Obviously, the goal is to motivate to hit quota but there are different techniques to motivate. Remote is a new approach for me….
A – “My recommendations are based on the premise that the rep in question has the right skill set and is coachable. If not, you’ll have to decide if they can be saved. Hiring isn’t an exact science and despite best efforts we don’t always get it right. It’s also possible that the rep is great in the office but not able to make the transition to remote work. We always want to be fair to people, but prolonging the inevitable can be a disservice to your team. Assuming that’s not the case, here are my suggestions:
- Start with analyzing whatever sales data you have available – call records, contacts, lead to close ratio, etc… Using those in coaching not only validates what coaching is needed but makes it easier for them to accept since it’s not your opinion.
- Verify they understand individual or team goals. You may need to get more granular with a rep who is unsuccessful remotely. For example, break a monthly goal down into weekly and daily management goals. Increase your 1:1s accordingly. I also have experience with a couple technology platforms that can really assist with this. If anyone is interested in hearing more feel free to contact me through LinkedIn.
- Audit their pipeline and communications more closely. For example, call recordings, emails in SFDC, gaps in follow up, etc. Create an action plan around what you find.
- To keep the coaching balanced, find out their motivators and ways to recognize and celebrate wins accordingly. Ideally, a salesperson is motivated by their commission check, but in my experience if they’ve fallen far enough behind, that quota feels out of reach and tapping into other motivators is key.” – Paul Butterfield | Vice President | Global Enablement Perspective
Q – The social aspect of the group environment that we had when in an office environment has gone down as a result of WFH. We have incorporated virtual happy hours, coffee hours, etc. to try to combat that. Are there any other ideas out there to help keep that team “social” aspect going?
A – “I do believe there is a mental short term hit to the “feelings” you were accustomed when you were actively engaged among coworkers to in the office. I would encourage leaders to think about their teams and participate with them, welcome suggestions from their team about what they want to do and drive actions to make sure something does happen. You want to keep your team healthy. Here are some suggestions that have come in from our teams:
- Agree with the ones above – virtual happy hours & coffee hours
- Some mentioned the other day – like showing off the family & games – LB you showed whiteboarding 😊for Pictionary
- If you can – take a walk together – 20 minute walk outside – maybe set a time around lunch
- Connect everyday – maybe you switch up the times each day of the week to make it something to look forward to rather than it getting old like a “meeting”
- Healthy competition – come up with a theme
- Do themed days – crazy shirts – socks – hats – sports day – best quote of the day
Another suggestion that came in from one of my direct leaders was to send something by mail – NOT email – like a note or card. Something unexpected…
The bottom line is that it needs to feel real and true. Your teams will be open to whatever you do if they trust and believe you. Don’t over think it – ask your teams… they will have a lot of suggestions!” – Margaret Askew | Vice President | Elsevier