Guest blog post by Carolyn Betts, Founder and CEO of Betts Recruiting
Working in the field of recruiting for over a decade has meant I’ve seen how competitive the sales role can be. The average VP of sales stays in their position between 24 and 32 months. With such a fast-moving job, leveling up and showing results quickly is crucial. Joining a new company as a sales VP also means getting a clean slate, with the opportunity to show how your killer strategy can garner wins early and often. Best way to impress right off the bat? Quickly assess the performance of your new sales team and start implementing improvements on day one.
Sounds easier than it is though. We’ve all fallen into a black hole of emails or have had entire days sucked up by long meetings. So how do you assess what makes your reps successful, while still having time to implement high-level strategies? First, find out who your top reps are. Look into your quota crushers’ calls and what makes them translate quickly into deals. Analyzing how they respond to tough questions about the product, what features they focus on, and what they say when a client brings up a competitor will be crucial to your strategy. Here are my top tips for crushing it in your VP of sales role from the start:
1. Come Prepared!
A study by the Harvard Business Review found that 83% of participants thought their outside field sales teams were equipped with the sales strategies, tools, and skills to exceed their numbers - compared to 57% for inside sales and 40% for channel sales. All of that basically boils down to this: do your team a favor and come ready with a plan. Do your research on competition before coming in. Meet with your new team week one to identify needed tools, current pain points, and to establish a workflow. Putting these systems in place immediately will increase their effectiveness, and by extension, yours. Let your expert background as a sales leader guide you as you equip your teams with the best tools to meet goals.
2. Smarter Analysis
Skip sitting in on countless calls to hear exactly what works and what doesn’t. Look into a sales and conversation intelligence tool, such as Chorus, Qualtrics or Vision Critical. The latter two analyze customer behavior, while Chorus uses artificial intelligence to give you immediate sales insights. Chorus helps you get up to speed on the sales team’s messaging rapidly. By tracking metrics you can easily identify top performers, as well as sales reps that need more help. When sales reps are on the phone with prospects, Chorus can show them how to respond to questions about competitors or other frequent topics, such as pain points or key features. Reps won’t need to distract themselves by taking detailed notes because Chorus provides a transcript and recording of the call, as well as an analysis of their performance including optimal talk-to-listen ratio. As an advisor to Chorus, I’ve seen their product develop into a highly effective sales tool.
3. Take Action
Once you know why some sales executives are exceeding quota and some are falling short, you can share the data with your executives to guide feature prioritization, messaging and competitive positioning. Of course it’s crucial to keep checking in regularly with your team, face to face, to review exactly what happens when your team wins deals. Continually analyzing what makes your team more productive and effective will help make their jobs (and yours!) easier. Using smart analytics tools can also give you an easy way to call out wins - which has been widely shown to increase employee satisfaction. Playing your team a recent call from a top rep that nailed the pitch can be both a learning experience and an opportunity to praise great work.
Walking into your new role on day one armed with a tailored strategy, the right analytics, and an action plan will bring about the rapid positive changes in sales results that your new company is waiting for—and you’ll start your tenure on the perfect note.