In the latest installment of our How We’re Managing Sales Teams *Right Now* video series, our co-founder Brian Trautschold sits down with Austin Hitchcock, Director of Account Development at Highspot.
In this short video, they talk about how Austin and his team of 10 managers and nearly 100 account development reps are staying motivated, trained, and accountable while working remotely.
Austin’s Top 3 Tips for Managing His Sales Team Right Now:
1.) Keeping Reps Motivated is Priority #1 (and Requires Empathy Over Gimmicks)
When some people hear the word “motivation”, they probably first think of incentives or prizes. When Austin at Highspot hears it, he thinks about leading with humanity. The current sales team at Highspot is predominantly young, fresh out of college, and less-experienced when it comes to working in *any* environment, much less one that is being rocked by structural upheaval and change. And going remote has been particularly challenging for Austin and his team, some of whom are in their first-ever selling role.
Some of the best, simplest ways that they’ve found to keep spirits high are:
Keep meetings really structured to avoid information overload. With everyone suddenly sitting in 20-30% more meetings, Austin’s team models how to best use time internally so reps can take those lessons to meetings with prospects, too.
Build in time at the beginning of those otherwise structured meetings to have deliberately unstructured talk about their personal lives, hobbies, and interests. Watercooler chatter doesn’t have to go away - it is vital and just has to look a little different.
Never forget that sales reps, some of whom may not be in ideal living situations conducive to working from home, require an empathetic tone from leadership and some may need extra 1:1 time.
2.) Holding Reps Accountable In Real-Time is Really Important and Really Fun
While everyone on the Highspot sales team is an individual contributor, and prior to going remote, there were few times that the team had an excuse to really collaborate on shared goals, team competitions have become a vital component of Austin’s overall strategy to keep his reps accountable to the big numbers in a fun, engaging way. Instead of pitting reps against each other, team goals ignite the competitive and collaborative spirit simultaneously and they also have the added bonus of making everyone’s discretionary efforts more visible, too.
Austin afforded us one of the best unsolicited plugs ever for Ambition’s gamification platform by explaining that his 10 teams of 10 sales reps are currently engaging in something called “April Anarchy”. The gist is that every day the teams set out during a specific time around 1 shared KPI - like “most dials made” or “most meetings set” - and whichever team wins the most competitions in April, is the winner.
Specifically, Ambition’s benching feature allows managers the ability to evenly distribute each team member’s contribution to the total team score. That way, Team A doesn’t automatically lose to Team B if two of its ‘players’ are off doing other activities like conducting demos during the specified competition times. Benching allows the matchups to be fair and allows for competitions not to accidentally dissuade a rep from engaging in a higher-value activity, as a result.
3.) Helping Reps Stand Out and Provide Value During Prospecting Is Key
We’ve heard this recently from our own front-line sales team at Ambition, but now more than ever, key decisions makers are answering calls and willing to sit through a rep’s sales pitch. One of the main reasons seems to be that right now, leaders are looking for answers that may give them a competitive edge in the marketplace. And smart leaders know that the sales people on the front lines are hearing what works, what doesn’t work, and what other businesses are struggling with right now.
Leveraging this knowledge is a huge opportunity for reps if they’re providing real answer and value. The Highspot team has started leveraging their own tools to get video content in front of prospective buyers faster (and see what’s resonating and what isn’t) to stand out in the crowded inboxes of busy execs. They’re also sharing industry-specific thought leadership content first - even if it has nothing to do with their product - because personalized messaging converts.
To learn more about Austin’s strategy and how Highspot’s diverse sales hiring culture fosters sky-high close rates, watch the video below now:
Ambition helps distributed sales teams make the most of remote work, head to ambition.com/remote/ to see how!