Sales managers are often top reps who were promoted into the role. This makes them under-trained and lacking the tools needed to identify who to coach, what to coach them, and how to prescribe specific actions to change their behaviors. They end up struggling to meet expectations, just like the sales managers that only spend 10 percent of their time developing reps.
Salespeople are social beings to the core, so we love to discuss all things sales nerdy with sales professionals across industries.
Pete Kazanjy led a masterclass on how the best sales managers use data to improve team performance. He had Marissa Fuhrer from Figma on as a guest lecturer, and they walked through how the best sales managers use data to:
- Accelerate onboarding and ramp time
- Set and communicate smart goals
- Coach and develop reps
The following article provides highlights from the conversation, including Marissa’s use of Atrium to lead a data-driven sales team.
Accelerating Onboarding and Ramp Time
According to Marissa, data informs. And when you’re informed, you can be a better coach and a better leader.
When it comes to managing onboarding and ramp, both require a foundation of data in three main areas so that the rep knows what values to embody when they join a team:
- Quantitative values, which include pipelines created, penetration into Fortune 100, ongoing education, and other measurable achievements.
- Qualitative values, such as using playbooks to give reps and managers a common sales language and pairing new reps with successful buddies.
- Mile-markers, such as weekly insights and one-on-one conversations.
Here are Marissa's three tips on how to ramp reps more effectively and speed up their path to productivity:
- Define the blueprint for success: In utilizing historical data from previously ramped reps, this blueprint provides an idea about where each rep should be over a certain amount of time.
- Show what success looks like: Over time, reps can see how they are performing compared to the expected ramp goals, making adjustments where needed.
- Identify the micro-wins: A part of ramping is also celebrating when reps ramp above average to get those dopamine hits of progress.
At this stage, it is all about recognizing areas in need of development and celebrating the wins, even if they might not result in revenue quite yet.
Setting and Communicating Smart Goals
When setting goals, Marissa looks at key performance indicators (KPIs) and outcomes. Atrium shows Marissa where her team should be on a weekly and monthly basis without setting a standard that is impossible to accomplish.
Marissa believes that language matters when communicating goals. Here’s why:
- Data doesn’t lie, but sometimes it can look like a bunch of numbers on a screen. That’s why communicating the why is critical. With data as a foundation, the manager should enter the performance conversation with a hypothesis, then work with the account executive (AE) to discover what the data is saying.
- An overwhelming amount of data is no good. Although we love data, you should never have too much of a good thing. As a manager, only share a few of the most important metrics that work or need work. Start with 1-3 data points and explain why they are important.
Keep it to context, storytelling, and actionability.
Coaching and Developing Your Reps
For Marissa, coaching reps with data is all about preparation. Begin each week by looking at the data and seeing what insights can be gained in that week’s one-on-ones. Whether the meetings are 15 minutes spent discussing metrics or 60 minutes spent diving deeper into deals, preparation makes the most out of everyone’s time.
Marissa also recommends creating positive changes during these meetings by:
- Being consistent so reps know what to expect at each meeting.
- Keeping it simple to avoid overwhelm and provide clear next steps.
- Discovering insights together to foster collaboration and participation.
- Remaining open to feedback to iterate and improve on the process.
Throughout the meeting, be sure to focus on changes, celebrations, and warnings without becoming too rigid and limiting the conversation.
Figma Is Lost Without Data (And So Are You!)
As Marissa states, her sales team wouldn’t be what it is without data.
In using Atrium’s sales management platform, you can leave behind the gut reactions and use data to gain insight into the nuances of your reps’ performance—both the excellencies and the areas for improvement.
Our platform informs performance, ramp times, outcomes, and more. Get started on your data-driven sales management journey by requesting a demo of Atrium’s sales performance platform.