We had a great discussion with Gerry Praysman, Senior Director of Sales Development for SalesLoft—a sales engagement platform that integrates with customer relationship management (CRM) systems to help B2B sales teams close more deals.
In our conversation, we discussed how SalesLoft uses data to build and run a world class sales development team. And we touched on some pretty awesome topics, such as:
- What it means to be data informed versus drowned in data.
- How to build competence in new managers.
- Which metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to focus on.
- How to use data to improve sales development rep (SDR) performance.
- Which metrics leaders look at.
Below, you’ll find an article based on our conversation that focuses on these topics. Ready to dive in? Read on!
What does it mean to be data driven?
These days, with so many points of data and ways to consume it, it’s irresponsible to make any decisions without data support. Gone are the days of sales leaders going with gut feelings. (Or, rather, gone should be those days.)
“Data driven” has become a popular term, but far too many people in sales leadership believe that the second a data point comes in, an action needs to be taken. Not true. When that happens, it is very easy to drown in the data.
Instead, being data informed—meaning making decisions based on carefully analyzed data—should take the place of the knee-jerk reaction. Give the data time to paint a picture.
So, what are some top tips for aspiring data-driven sales managers? Here is what Gerry had to say about how you can become driven by data:
- Start somewhere, and keep it simple. You don’t need to learn every single metric conversion right away. Talk to other leaders to see how they do it. Don’t overburden yourself with too much material.
- Don’t underestimate how much can be learned in a relatively short time. If you keep it simple in the beginning, you’ll be surprised at how much you know a year from now. Be consistent with your learning and empower yourself with all the great resources out there.
- Keep your ear to the ground. Supplement what you’re seeing with relevant data, but remember that you can’t just look at numbers all day. If you need to have more conversations, have more conversations.
How does a manager decide which metrics and KPIs to focus on?
Similar to the approach to utilizing data, keep it simple. Although each sales team differs, you can probably count on measuring these metrics:
As a manager, you need to understand each important metric and how much activity occurs in that metric. How many connections is your team making? How many times were they able to talk to another human being?
From there, you start to understand how your team is working by looking at the activity of each of these metrics and how well that activity is converting to outputs.
Generally speaking, when a rep experiences a problem, it’s a problem with activity. For example, by looking at the data, you can see that a rep is solid with email delivery, but just isn’t dialing enough. From there, you know exactly what to coach them on.
How do you use data to improve rep performance?
Speaking of coaching: When you become a manager, it’s not about whether you’re right about something—it’s about your ability to motivate and inspire your reps to take the right actions for themselves. Having a great perspective is fine, but if you ignore the activity, you won’t grow your reps.
Here are four areas in which you can use data to improve rep performance:
Use insight to communicate and change behavior.
Using a data-driven sales management platform —such as Atrium—during one-on-one meetings allows managers to easily see areas in which a rep is struggling. If an SDR is making half the number of dials that is expected of every SDR on the team, they need to increase activity.
However, telling them is one thing. Motivating them to take action is another thing entirely. Although your reps all have quotas to hit, give them time to create more activity and understand that failure is part of the game. Celebrate those moments of failure! They might fall on their face, but it will ultimately build competency and confidence over time.
Set and monitor goals for leading metrics.
Explicitly setting goals establishes the expectation that each rep makes the dials, sends the emails, and has the meetings to reach quantity and quality standards. With Atrium, these goals are able to be set and monitored. Based on the data from these metrics, managers can lead data-driven coaching conversations.
Make sure managers are having tough conversations.
So much of data-driven management is setting very clear expectations and managing those expectations consistently to make clear what sales reps should be doing.
There are going to be times when those expectations aren’t met. Although these conversations aren’t fun for anyone, they need to be proactive:
- Are there blockers keeping the rep from dialing?
- Does the rep not have enough time on their calendar because they’re getting pulled into other meetings?
- Is the rep not confident in the script?
Although the solution may not always be immediately clear, use the data to inform yourself of what you need to investigate and shape the conversation.
Set the gold standard for sales development!
We hope the highlights of our conversation with Gerry Praysman from SalesLoft have provided some insight into setting the gold standard for sales development at your company. The best part? The conversation doesn’t have to end. In fact, we didn’t even mention the metrics and KPIs that leaders look at. Not to worry: Check out the entire webinar for that information. We look forward to having data-driven sales management conversations with you soon!