Welcome to Episode 2 of the Sales Influencer Series. Our guest today is Lori Richardson, recognized on Forbes as one of the “Top 30 Social Sales Influencers” worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams around the country. Lori and I had a great conversation last week focused around the topics of Management-to-Sales Rep communications, process, and feedback.
Sales can be a male-dominated industry, and Lori also acts as a great advocate for the rising number of elite female sales professionals that have publicly emerged over the past decade. As in Episode 1 with John Barrows, we're dividing this post by major topic and including corresponding audio with each section. Enjoy!
Ep 2. Coaching a Winning Sales Team
We're excited to welcome the venerable Lori Richardson to the Ambition Blog today. Our topic today is coaching more sales wins. We're obviously big on sports metaphors here at Ambition, while Lori runs the award-winning Score More Sales Blog
Lori is also one of the most prolific founts of Sales knowledge in Sales today. She writes regularly for multiple publications, and also has her own newsletter, “Sales Ideas In A Minute,” which deliver excellent sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Lots of people claim to be Sales Coaches, but Lori is truly a Sales Coach, in every sense of the word.
Part I. The Prominence of Process
JH: How important is process to you in developing a sales team?
LR: I believe that you need to empower salespeople with an existing structure so that they know what to do and they can keep moving forward to develop sales opportunities. And they know how to qualify opportunities so they don't do it too late.
Because if you wait too long to qualify an opportunity -- if its not a good opportunity, you've wasted a ton of time. And something I've always stressed is that you cannot get your time back in sales. And this is a huge area for improvement that I see a need for in sales teams.
Unless sales teams are measuring, and using tools like Ambition, it's very hard to tell who's doing what, and when and how? Now, in the old days before tools, it was just a black hole. And CEOs and heads of companies would just be really curious, "Well it seems like this person is doing well." Or, "you told me you made a couple great calls."
Nothing was quantifiable. Now, we can quantify things, which is huge, but that's just the technology piece.
Part II. Building Relationships with Reps
JH: When a salesreport dumps out and shows your sales pipeline is empty, really just a lot of those are unqualified prospects. You just need new ones, but people leave the old ones in there for the wrong reasons. Which goes back to the topic of knowing your team.
LR: Like you said, you need insight and people need to be led forward to build their opportunities, to get new opportunities, and to get rid of the ones in their pipeline that are not qualified.
Most salespeople hang onto those unqualified opportunities because it looks like they have something else going on. And then there are the other reps that don't put things in until an opportunity is further along.
That's why it's important to know your team. Take me for example. I'm in a unique position because I've been around sales a long time, but I've also adopted to the modern ways of selling, and modern marketing, and I'm a weird hybrid that what comes from the old school but also understands the successes of new technology and new ways of thinking.
That's because I stay in the field. I work with reps every week. Being out with clients and out in the trenches, hearing what did work or what didn't work -- that's critical to prevent becoming out of touch, and I know that a lot of people are.
Part III. Improving Team Communication
JH: Do you agree that people leave managers and not companies, and how do you deal with feedback?
LR: When I'm giving feedback, I'm also very careful about how I do it. First of all, I'm very direct and very quick to give feedback when I see it needed. You have to give feedback at the time it's going to be most effective, which, ideally, is as soon as you can following the event that triggers it.
And a problem a lot of people have is that it's hard to change, and they expect sales reps to adhere to and specifically understand their communication style.
But the reality is, every sales rep is different, every situation is unique, and you need to tailor your communication style and how you give feedback to get the right message across to your reps and make the maximum impression.
Part IV. Score More Sales Blog
JH: You can't do much Googling about sales these days without landing on your blog. You've been cranking out quality sales gold for quite some time; how long has your blog been going now?
LR: My original project, the Score More Sales blog, has been cranking out content since 2004.
Our latest project is www.salesshebang.com - I am the President of Sales Shebang(R). It's one place where you can find the top women's sales experts -- particularly B2B sales experts -- and I created that site to help get more diversity of speakers on the main stage at conferences. Because -- very classically -- these conferences tend to be very male-dominated. Even in recent years, there might be one or two women that speak, and many times they're not sales experts, but communications specialists and marketing experts.
So I put the site up because there were people who said -- "I don't know any female sales experts." Now that we’ve been up for awhile, we actually have a subset of the featured women on the site that gets together each year in a different city around the country. We share best practices and brainstorm, which is pretty unusual for "competitors" and industry counterparts.
Ultimately, I've been working to develop Sales Shebang as a website where more people go for information on sales best practices. It's not just for women -- anyone in sales can go there for sales tips. So we're starting to record more webinars, create more content, and spread as much information as possible.
Jill Konrath, Trish Bertuzzi, Josiane Feigon, Lauren Bailey, they're all on there. Check it out!
The Sales Influencer Series Library
To check out further episodes and see why CloserIQ has ranked the Sales Influencer Series as one of the very best sales podcasts of 2016, just click on the links below.
Episode 1. John Barrows
Episode 2. Lori Richardson
Episode 3. Max Altschuler
Episode 4. Matt Heinz
Episode 5. Mark Leslie
Episode 6. Kyle Porter
Episode 7. Jon Bradford
Episode 8. Eks Anderson
Episode 9. Matt Hottle
Episode 10. Heather Morgan
Episode 11. Ilan Ferdman
Episode 12. Ryan Jenkins
Episode 13. Tamara Schenk
Episode 14. Mike Weinberg
Episode 15. Scott Britton
Episode 16. Mark Kosoglow
Episode 17. Dionne Mischler
Episode 18. Ken Barton
Episode 19. Kevin Karner
Episode 20. Jill Rowley
Episode 21. Brandon Redlinger
Episode 22. Will Wickey
Episode 23. Drew Woodcock
Episode 24. Dail Wilson
Episode 25. Nathan Sexton
Episode 26. Tucker Max
Episode 27. Bruce Tulgan
Episode 28. Dallas Hogensen
Episode 29. Morgan J. Ingram