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Sales Leaders & Reps Reveal Their Top 4 Challenges

[VIDEO] Watch the recording of our latest webinar and get our top takeaways.

In our recent 2019 State of Sales Performance report, we asked sales leaders and reps about what motivates them and what they need to do their best work.

And this week, I had the pleasure of discussing the top 4 challenges that we learned in the survey alongside two super smart sales leaders themselves: Ellen Stafford (BDR Manager at Vidyard) and Ashley Gagliano (Exec. Dir., Global Sales at AA-ISP).

In this recording, we cover the Top 4 Challenges and a whole lot more:

 

 

Below, check out some of my favorite tidbits directly from our power panel.

 

CHALLENGE 1: BUILDING A TEAM

When it comes to building a team, sales leaders are tasked with hiring, training and developing the talents of a majority-Millennial workforce while also finding strong, diverse team candidates.

Hire for culture fit and pair reps up:

Ellen shared that for her team, when it comes to hiring, they don’t necessarily look at resumes. Instead, they look for characteristics that are valued in their company culture - intrinsically motivated, hungry to learn and develop new skills, and, being a video company, they test to see how the person does on camera.

When it comes to ongoing training, we all shared our love for teammate-centered mentorship programs. These programs give more experienced reps a clear path to leadership and less experienced reps a chance to test their skills in an un-intimidating (and authentic) environment.

 

CHALLENGE 2: PERFORMANCE & PRODUCTIVITY

One of our top survey findings, was that sales & marketing leaders are really aligned on what the big goals are, but they’re not sure exactly how to get there on a weekly or daily basis.

Focus on the little numbers (and hit the big numbers):

I had the pleasure recently of sitting down with our customer Kim who manages Sales Operations (including all SDRs) for GlobalTranz. In the webinar, I share that Kim, who manages all of the SDRs, reports that if she simply gives a vague directive like, “I need X numbers of meetings booked every month…”, feels out of her team’s control and they are much less likely to deliver.

However, by zeroing in on her conversion rate from calls dialed to meetings booked, she is able to forecast - down to the hour - the output required by her team for them to hit their goals. This level of activity tracking lends itself to accuracy, consistency and - even better - allows Kim to relax and focus on the big picture.

 

CHALLENGE 3: COACHING & DEVELOPMENT

If building a team is hard work, making sure they stick around is a whole other beast. In our survey, we found that a whopping 98% of reps will stay if offered ongoing development; however, over 47% of those reps said that the coaching they are receiving doesn’t cut it.

Constant, structured communication is key:

As vendors in an ever-expanding universe of sales tech, we get it - there are *tons* of options when it comes to keeping the wheels turning! Whether it’s using an LMS to ensure your sellers are completing specific learning modules or using tools to help sellers with a specific activity (like Outreach to scale and track emails or Gong, Chorus.AI or Execvision to ensure call quality), having a set appointment for coaching and tools to measure performance matters the most.

Simply put: “water cooler” coaching doesn’t work and your reps will leave to find structure and ongoing development elsewhere.

 

CHALLENGE 4: MOTIVATION & INCENTIVES

When we think of motivation for sales reps, the first thing that springs to mind for a lot of people, unfortunately, are gift cards  and entry into ‘The President’s Club’. Our survey found that if that’s where we go first when we think of incentives, we’re probably missing the mark according to our reps. In fact - the #1 source of motivation for sales reps we surveyed was visibility into the numbers.

But, when it comes to giving out actual rewards, Ashley shared that some of the most successful sales teams she works with don’t offer one, homogenous prize. Instead, when running contests or competitions, some of the most successful incentives were those specifically tailored to each rep. It seems like a no brainer, but by simply looking at your reps as individuals and making time to understand what truly makes them tick - you’ll improve morale, you’ll create a better culture internally and you’ll save a ton of money on unused Outback Steakhouse gift cards in the process.

Want even more non-gift card ideas? Check out the latest blog post chock-full of fresh ideas to keep your team motivated.

 

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Sales Leaders, HR Professionals, and C-Level Executives use Ambition to recognize, motivate, and develop employees into more engaged and productive versions of themselves. Funded by Google, used by the Fortune 500, endorsed by the Harvard Business Review.

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