Technology and changes in culture have today’s leaders rethinking the ways they manage. An effective onboarding strategy is one area in particular that they have their eyes on.
Building and retaining a diverse sales team — by making new members feel welcome, supported and valued — is becoming a requirement for good business.
Outreach Senior Director of Product Marketing Riyaz Habibbhai recently hosted a roundtable discussion with three thought leaders representing Twilio, a leading customer engagement platform, to get some ideas on how to manage rapid growth. Here are a few key takeaways to help you set your new sales reps up for success.
5 Key Steps to Build and Evolve Your Sales Team
Invest In Tools For Support
Twilio enjoyed incredible success after going to market four years ago. Its sellers were following about 10,000 leads per week.
The overwhelming workload, though, meant leadership was initially cutting corners with its sales support. They weren’t orchestrated around their coverage strategy, and they had no guided-learning path for reps in place.
“We were lacking a lot of tools and technology to enable our sellers to be effective,” said Alyson Welch, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Twilio.
To help get aligned, Twilio leaders invested in tools like Outreach. The platform gave Twilio the chance to get thoughtful and creative with its customers, Alyson said. It also created repetition and consistency in the sales journey, without representatives becoming robotic.
Since then, Twilio has hired 500 sellers, with a priority on diversity and support.
Leandra Fishman, who recently became Chief Revenue Officer at Intercom, but previously worked at Twilio as Vice President of Growth Sales, said technology like Outreach is important when scaling an organization. The right tools pull in contacts and information, supply context, support customer communication, push information into your CRM system, monitoring activity, and measure results.
Leveraging more technology means leaders can measure how much and how effectively new team members are using it. Such tracking signals to leaders when sellers need support or guidance.
Build Community by Getting Personal
Video conference calls put leaders directly into the homes of their sales reps. To some this might sound scary, but it's allowed leaders to understand their sellers more intimately.
“You learn a lot about people in their personal lives and what they’re going through when you’re seeing them working at home,” said Soumya Srinagesh, Vice President and Head of Global Messaging Exchange Sales at Twilio. “I’ve had some really honest conversations with people on my team about their home situation.”
Seeing that some team members have children, for example, helped create more open conversations about their needs at home. Those chats led to strategy sessions where they figured out when and where they could work best.
For Leandra, the pandemic meant she could not meet any of her new team members at Intercom face-to-face. This took some getting used to, but she said the many virtual “Fun Fridays” she’s since attended with her new coworkers — who live all around the world — were a fun way to kick off her time at the company.
Video conferencing technology, Leandra said, has helped “remind ourselves that we all are connected in that deeper way.”
Change Things Up to Maintain Employee Engagement
Video conferencing has made relationships between workers stronger. But Zoom fatigue is real, and leaders need to pay attention to their sellers’ disposition to make sure they have the energy to be fully engaged.
“If you don’t give yourself a break from the stress of having to be physically present via video, that can come through to your customer, to your team, who is looking to you for energy and inspiration,” Alyson said. “I really try and vary the use of communication through different mediums.”
She likes to make audio-only phone calls while out on a walk instead, while Soumya does her best to work outdoors so she’s getting her Vitamin D fix and staying energized during the work day. They all make it a point to have honest conversations with their teams and take a pulse on engagement levels.
"I'm trying to set the culture from my level and show that I have a life too," Soumya said. "It's not perfect, and everyone can bring themselves to work, and that's okay. I want to reduce the pressure on the team to present a certain way and keep the focus on delivering the results and doing great work."
“Be yourself,” Riyaz summarized. “Be yourself with your team, and be yourself with your customers. It’s OK; I think we’re all in the same boat, and it’s working.”
For more information on how to build, grow, and evolve your enterprise sales team, download our infographic and request a demo.