<img src="https://ws.zoominfo.com/pixel/4z2e82sWyhmveGlCzuJa" width="1" height="1" style="display: none;">
Untitled presentation (1)

New Times, New Ways to Run the Sales Team!

Authored by Jim Eberlin on March 28, 2020

Jim Eberlin is founder of TopOPPS.  Jim posted this blog on Linkedin. 

It was just a few weeks ago that I was preaching that in order to stay on top of things to give my team and customers what they needed, solve problems and make sure things don't fall through the cracks - I had to be in person.  Obviously that has changed - like it or not.

So, how does the work from home sales manager be effective in running her/his team?  There’s definitely changes that have to be made in how we personally interact, keep the team motivated and keep the team successful in selling.  Putting order and rigor around the following 2 areas will help sales leaders with their work from home teams: 

  • The virtual meeting routine
  • On-line Forecast, Pipeline Reviews and 1:1s

Before I get into the “how to” of these best practices for work from home sales managers - I just want to state the obvious.  Due to the current economic conditions for many B2B companies, more restraint than ever should be taken on the emotional ties to hitting the number and any frustration over committed deals that have been delayed.  The team will appreciate and be encouraged at your additional level of patience and confidence that things will eventually improve.  Also, they’ll appreciate the additional help, coaching or working through next steps with them.

All of us at TopOPPS want to do what we can to be of any service to you.  We have a few suggestions at the end of this blog to help you get these best practices in place quickly and effortlessly to keep your team organized and optimized.  And we’re offering a service for continuous learning and improvement. We want to help you get your sales/revenue operations airtight so you can stay on top of your pipeline and still execute.  Our hope is that with all the services we are putting into place, that you and your team will have something that helps the team and makes them better so that they can execute now and really hit the gas when we come out of this.

Here are a few tips that will help you sales leaders that are working from home with distributed sales teams and doing your best to make adjustments:

The Virtual Meeting Routine

Establish the cadence to meet with your team.  Regular sales meetings with the team and individual 1:1s or check-ins are common - but they will change in the current work from home environment.  You know your team and their experience levels, but there’s a lot of unknowns now so I think it’s best to error on more interactions with the team to ensure you can keep them focused, rolling and overcoming anything that can be an obstacle. 

Make your on-line sales meetings like you’re there in person - video cameras are on. Getting the lighting right is important - so that you don’t look like part of the witness protection program.  No one should be multi-tasking, reading emails or being distracted from activity at home.  I hold myself accountable to keep the meeting interesting and to make sure the content of the meeting is worthy of the team’s full attention.

I try to mix it up in the meetings to make it fun, funny (well at least I think it's funny), but always focused on making the team successful - that’s what they want more than anything else.

Online Forecast and Pipeline Review Process

For most B2B companies, staying on top of the team forecast and working opportunities through the pipeline is as important now as ever.  Better understanding of the opportunities and the prospect or existing customer helps us with providing them with what they want and the best next steps for engagement and meeting strategy.  As much time as possible in the on-line meeting should be reserved to talk strategy.  Traditionally, these meetings have the majority of time focused on opportunity compliance where the manager grills the rep on how qualified the opportunity is and whether they are talking to the right levels and buying roles.  The trick is balancing pipeline compliance time and pipeline strategy time.

The On-Line Dashboard

Our metrics tell the story.  And in the meeting, I move left to right on these metrics asking questions and finding answers.   We have no more than 10 metrics that tell the complete story per point of view.  Here’s what we do:

  • We start with the Quota, then we look at what’s closed won and see what kind of gap we have to fill. To fill the gap, I set rules for the best deals with the most potential.  My rules are based on what happened in the last conversation, the role(s) involved, key activities, reactions by the buyers and where we’re at in the sales cycle.  Let me know if you want me to go into this further and how we score opportunities.
  • Now we can quantify what deals we need to close to fill the gap and we can talk about the next steps on each of these deals.
  • We then look at what's changed - which of our top deals slipped and why. Then we look at any deals that advanced to the middle and later stage.

Focus on the total team number first - talking only to the opportunity owners that will fill the gap.  Then you can focus on the individual team members in a similar fashion either in your team sales meeting or one on one. 

The way we have this organized and automated maximizes our time to talk about our top opportunities strategy and reduces the effort required to determine compliance and qualifications.  It also gives us insights and prescriptions based on the scenarios and selling motions for proper next steps. 

The remaining best practices for a holistic predictable revenue operation will be addressed in a weekly blog over the next five weeks.  The topics will include: 

  • The Pipeline (Buyer and Seller Aligned Process)
  • Pipeline Analytics
  • Account Coverage - how to measure effectiveness
  • Coaching and Learning reinforcement - by scenario and the team's personal results
  • Holistic Predictable Revenue - the complete revenue picture

How we can help you

At TopOPPS we can help your sales leadership, sales operations leadership and sellers with our solution - easing the burden of admin activities while helping each role do their jobs better. We’re offering that to you for three months free to get you through the current economic conditions without the expense.  Click here for more information. 

Additionally, we’re going to be holding office hours with top sales leadership and top analysts with more tips on leading your sales team - we’ll be publishing these times that we’ll be on-line and live on our website.

We are in this with you - let’s figure it out and come out of this together even better than what we were before!  Let us know if there's anything more we can do to help you.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Lists by Topic

Leverage these best practices with automation and AI driven by TopOPPS

Learn how our customers are winning with artificial intelligence in their CRM:

  • Predictive Sales Forecasting
  • Automated Pipeline Management
  • Significantly More Updates from Reps

Watch Videos

More Recent Posts:

August 11, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Always Know the Next Step

The most important step in any sales process is the NEXT step.   It is a hurdle that must be cleared to give you the right to move to the “NEXT, NEXT” step.  The next step is not granted, but earned by successful completion of the current step.  The next step has to be set up with the buyer as you finish out the current step.  ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility, sales opportunity management

August 4, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Guided Selling

Guided selling is the process of prescribing optimal sales execution steps to the sales reps to enforce a consistent and efficient sales process. The tasks and process are based on sales patterns of past close-won, and close-lost opportunities. Dynamic guided selling is the automated collection of prospect interactions and seller activities with the application of artificial intelligence and pattern matching to prescribe optimal buyer role based sales execution steps  and coaching ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, sales best practices, sales milestones

July 28, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Account Management

This blog may be a little controversial.  Many blogs and white papers talk about account management as a sales function.  Sales reps target accounts to sell to.  They then flush out sales opportunities within the account and work on closing those opportunities.  At TopOPPS we take a broader approach to account management.  We believe account management starts with marketing.  It includes both marketing and sales. ...

Sales Funnel, Marketing Funnel, sales best practices, sales opportunity management, sales account management

July 13, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Opportunity Management

This next couple of blog posts will focus on Sales Opportunity Management.  This is the third category of blog series Best Practices for B2B Sales Pipeline and Forecast Management based on the original blog post for this best practice series started on January 21st. ...

Sales Pipelines, Guided Selling, guide winning behaviors, best practices, sales best practices, sales opportunity management

June 29, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales-Pipeline Monitoring & Closing Deals

This blog provides more details into the final two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: Monitor the sales pipeline from different perspectives depending on the users role (sales rep, sales management, sales opperations, sales leadership) Focus on closing the best leads, nurturing the new leads and “close loss” opportunities as soon as possible Monitor the pipeline from different perspectives  The sales pipeline is the beating heart of the sales process and the revenue engine. ...

Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility

June 17, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Proactive Follow Up & Content Delivery

This blog provides more details into the next two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: Proactive follow up on opportunities in the sales pipeline Proactive delivery of the right sales content and insights to members of the buying team and guidance to the sales team It may feel like these two best practices could be consolidated into one called proactive selling. Both could be handled via alerting and prompting solutions or optimized with a process we call “Alerts Requiring Action”.    However, there are subtle differences between the two that make a big impact on sales.  ...

AI for Sales, Guided Selling, guide winning behaviors, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility

May 15, 2020

Best Practices For B2B Sales-Sales Pipeline Data & Process Improvement

This blog reviews best practices related to two of the six tactical best practices outlined in the previous blog “Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline”.  It focuses on: The ability to easily update the sales pipeline on a regular basis Sales process review and improvement An accurate sales forecast requires an accurate, timely and always up-to-data sales pipeline.  This data includes up-to-date: sales activity and buyer/seller interactions; buying team members and roles; opportunity descriptors and attributes; and company descriptors and attributes, in the CRM.  It also includes integrated reporting from the CRM to produce the sales pipeline, porting CRM information to Excel is not an option. ...

Pipeline Optimization, Sales Pipeline Management, AI for Sales, sales best practices

April 28, 2020

Best Practices for B2B Sales - Sales Pipeline

In my original blog in this series “Best Practices for B-2-B Sales,  I outlined five categories of best practices: The previous five blogs in this series, reviewed the best practices related to data.  The next three categories, Sales Process, Opportunity Management and Pipeline Analytics all are driven off of the sales pipeline. This blog introduces 6 different best practices related to the sales pipeline.  These best practices cut across all  three areas. ...

Sales Pipelines, Sales Process, Sales Tools, sales best practices, Sales Pipeline Visibility