Building a Sales Machine in a Time of Crisis
Donny Dye is the founder of Quota NYC, a consultancy that helps companies build sales systems that scale efficiently. Donny has over 15 years of SaaS and enterprise sales experience selling, leading, and guiding companies to scale predictable revenue.
We sat down with Donny to get his take on leading teams through COVID-19 pandemic and building a truly modern “sales machine.”
What are some recommendations for sales managers leading teams through a time of external or economic crisis?
The number one tip I would give is don’t allow the one or two sales meetings you have each week to be the only time you interact with the members of your team. Slack or text is a great way of checking in, but I also like dialing and actually hearing their voice and talking to them.
Another important thing is that you should be the steady voice on your team as the manager or leader. You don’t want to be the one who’s echoing concerns about the marketplace. You want to be candid and honest with your team, but at the same time, you want to be the one saying, “listen, we will survive this, we will drive through this.”
If a manager suspects a rep is having a rough time during an external crisis like the current pandemic, how do you recommend approaching the conversation?
The first thing to do is address it head on. What usually happens is the number of actual calls they’re making drops, the number of deals they have starts falling, the pipeline gets thinner. There are a lot of warning signs that you see, just like in any sales environment.
A lot of success for managers, though, hinges on the idea of candor. If you’re not candid with your sales team, if you don’t have a culture of candor and disclosure, you’re going to struggle as a manager. You want to have candid conversations that address issues head on, especially in a time like this.
What are some of the important differences between managing sales reps in the office and managing remote sales reps?
I think that the biggest difference is that it forces managers to have a higher level of trust in their team. It’s easier for a manager to obtain the pulse of the team if people are in the office.
One recommendation is to set expectations around goals as opposed to activity. Talk about what you want to get done, not about how much you want them to do. You want a culture of results as opposed to a culture of activity, which allows reps to be a bit more independent.
How do you think the current crisis might change the work of sales managers going forward?
Managers have to get comfortable with the idea of a “sales machine” versus a “sales team.” Every client that I work with, we’ve built them into a high velocity sales machine at some point. We’re getting away from, “I’m going to hire a guy with a Rolodex and they’re going to make my business grow.” You’re not going to just hire your way to success.
It’s important to remember that there are a lot of managers who know how to sell well, but there are very few good sellers who know how to manage well. Let’s be honest, there are a lot of managers that are just extra layers that people that you may not need. The second that revenue goes thin, they’re not going to look at the front line, they’re not going to look at the back line, they’re going to look right in the middle.
Some great advice from Donny! Feel free to get in touch with him if interested in more sales wisdom.
Also, you can always find additional practical tips for sales managers and food for thought on the BuyerSight blog.