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Sales Leader Interview Series – Rachael Foo

Sales Manager of the Future: The Analytical Thinker

Rachael is the Director of Sales Strategy and Interim Director of Sales Development at, a review and remote collaboration SaaS tool for creatives. Prior to joining, she spent over five years working with creative and media companies while leading media investments at venture capital firm Stripes.

In this interview, Rachael shares her perspective on the future of B2B sales, coaching younger sales reps, and the big issues currently facing the sales community. 

What are some of the implications of the current pandemic on B2B sales?

One thing that has become clear with the recent scramble to remote work is that this shift has catalyzed a lot of changes that were already slowly taking place. We’re seeing workflows shift online way faster than we had in the previous few months. From a sales strategy perspective, there’s probably going to be a lot more openness to having reps work remotely. Managers will have to learn how to communicate as effectively with their teams without being in the same space.

I think the sales function as a whole is moving toward better utilization of data, and the sales manager role is shifting with the industry towards favoring analytical thinkers. Successful managers will be the people who can still sit face-to-face with a client, but who are also able to take a backseat and let numbers inform their approach. In the past, sales was seen as an art, not a science, and I think in reality it’s probably a mix of both.

Where do you see a sales manager’s responsibility in coaching younger sales reps?

A main consideration for coaching is that the person helping the younger rep is someone they look up to and whose opinion they respect. I think it’s great to have an environment where the entire team feels like it’s their responsibility to lift folks up. Obviously it’s part of the manager’s responsibility to coach and make everyone better salespeople, but for a junior sales rep it can be less intimidating to be coached by a peer. A culture of peer coaching also decreases the need for managers to watch over their reps like a hawk. 

What do you think are some of the most effective ways to integrate automation tools into a sales process?

I think there are benefits to sales automation, but we caution our reps not to overuse it. Automation unfortunately makes it easy to avoid the hard work of personalising outreach, which is ultimately what gets you in the door in the first place. Automation shouldn’t be wielded bluntly and used for every situation. I think folks often feel like they have to fall on an extreme side of the spectrum; either no automation at all or automating everything. I think it should just be considered another tool in your pocket to give you more leverage and more effectiveness.

For a sales manager, data from automation can also be used to challenge your own assumptions about effective outreach strategy. Going forward, sales managers will need to step into the data cruncher role a little bit more in order to pull out insights and guide their reps on the right path. 

Finally, what do you think are some other issues that are currently facing the sales industry?

We have a really diverse set of folks on our sales team, and while we can obviously always do better, that’s not reflected across the industry. I think sales leaders, especially now when there’s a lot of talent out there, should challenge themselves to make sure their team reflects the world of prospects that they’re trying to reach. That can honestly have a really huge impact on how effective your sales outreach is.

Thanks, Rachael, for the great insight! We especially appreciate your perspective on the importance of placing sales within the larger context of the current social environment. 

Stay tuned for another edition of our weekly Sales Leader Interview series coming soon. In the meantime, check out the BuyerSight Blog for more posts with other sales experts!

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