Sales in the Subscription Economy #7

"We know from past crises, in fact, that companies that take a slash-and-hold approach fare worse than those that both prune and thoughtfully invest." - McKinsey

Are you investing in your sales team (hiring, onboarding, training, mentoring), sales infrastructure (play book, battle cards, SOPs, etc.), and committing to helping bring the economy back to life, or are you waiting for someone else to do it?

It's our responsibility as sales leaders to ask ourselves: "What do I want our team to look like on the other side of this thing, and what am I going to do about it now?" We all know that fortune favors the bold & nothing happens until someone sells something, so let's get to work!

Sales in the Subscription Economy #6

Since WWII, there hasn't been a more important time to provide demonstrable value to your customers and prospects. You don't have a chance to weather this storm without that at the forefront of your mind.

The focus of my newsletter during this season will be actionable tips on managing remotely and upping your team's game. I'm also offering a value-based Sales Battle Card service right now that will be customized with your UVP in mind, think: objection handling, social proof, empathy statements, and more at the fingertips of your sales team during every call. Email amanda@subscriptioncoach.com for more info.

We all know that sales makes the world go 'round, so let's do it – here's what you need to know this week:

Sales in the Subscription Economy #5

Sales VPs: you don’t have time to read everything out there, but no worries, I’m doing it for you. I read, curate, and summarize the best content on subscription sales & sales team recruiting on the web every week.

Here's what you need to know this week:

Tips for Managing a Remote Workforce During Coronavirus by Lydia Abbot with LinkedIn

Key Takeaways:

  • Establish a remote leadership team: which of your current managers have remote work experience? Rally a team of internal experts to lead the charge who are highly skilled at tackling the communication challenges come with managing a remote team.
  • Create a handbook chock full of true north documentation: keep everyone's eyes on the prize(goals), create clear & well documented expectations for your remote workforce, refine SOPs (standard operating procedures) for everything your team does, ensure your tech stack is up to snuff and everyone knows how to access your full suite of tools from home.
  • Set up a formal, and informal, communication plans: how, when, and where (Zoom?) will your team communicate? How will you need to adjust your management style? How much oversight will you have over your team's daily activity and how will you accomplish that?
  • Prioritize transparency and open communication in all things.
  • Minimize the number of communication tools you're using for collaborative documentation, online team chats, and video conferencing, etc. KISS: keep it simple stupid.
  • Be patient. This is going to be an iterative process. Managing a remote team comes down to trust, communication, and moving toward the same company wide goals.

Sales in the Subscription Economy #4

Sales VPs: you don’t have time to read everything out there, but no worries, I’m doing it for you. I read, curate, and summarize the best content on subscription sales & sales team recruiting on the web every week.

Here's what you need to know this week:

Last week I told you how much reading it takes to become a business legend. You don't become one without being a dedicated, life long student. Here's a killer list of books that all sales leaders, ahem, YOU, should read, courtesy of Kathryn Aragon & SalesHacker.

How to onboard reps faster, more effectively, and retain them longer by Tirzah Thornburg of the Center for Sales Strategy

Key Takeaways:

  • The statistics are alarming: 46% of new reps get fired within 18 months with an average ramp up time of 6-9 months. This sucks and is astronomically expensive to your organization.

  • First, If this sounds like your team, you need better quality reps, let's talk.

  • Second, you need to up level your onboarding efforts. Here's how:

    • Get clear on expectations. What are the big picture goals and what (exactly) is the new rep's role in helping achieve them? Create a 30, 60, and 90 day plan and break down the granular steps to achieve the stated objectives. Hold them accountable to the baby steps required to meet the big goals.
    • Assign the new rep to shadow a (willing) sales veteran. Let them observe a variety of selling situations: how the veteran handles prospecting, follow up, objections, closing, upselling, and losing deals.
    • Use sales enablement tools like a sales battle card to ensure the rep understands the company's unique value proposition, ICPs, and can fluidly handle objections.
    • Let the new rep know that you've got their back: have an open door policy, encourage dialogue, and provide regular feedback.

Sales in the Subscription Economy #3

Here's what you need to know this week:

What Gates, Buffet, Oprah & Musk do that you should be doing too!

Key Takeaways:

  • Most of these business legends set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that could be classified as deliberate practice or learning
  • The activities: reading, reflection, and experimentation
  • Warren B spends 5-6 hours/day reading; Gates reads 50 books/year; Elon read 2 books/day growing up – yes, per day; Mark Cuban reads for 3+ hours/day – Wow!
  • Do you ever schedule in time to think? If you don't, you're behind. Get quiet and let your brain get to work, no distractions.
  • Do you promote a culture of experimentation and permission to fail? Experiments lead to innovation – innovation will make you look good. Let people you trust run with the ball. If they fall on their face, be the first to congratulate them on getting closer to a win.
  • Though I (Amanda) don't schedule myself 2 hours/day to think, I do allow myself a half day strategy session once/month on how to drive my business forward. If you're new to this, start with an hour.
  • I read. A lot. I've completed 15 books year to date and am tearing down 4 more as we speak. I get up early to read; I listen to Audible while running errands, walking to the dog, driving. We most often skip Netflix at night in favor of a books. If you want to uplevel, there's no substitute for just doing the damn work. Set goals, reprioritize, and make hard cuts.

Sales in the Subscription Economy #2

Here's what you need to know this week:

Saleshacker put together a stellar list of the best sales conferences of 2020. Which ones are right for you and your team?

Steli Efti, sales grand master & CEO of Close.com breaks down Kim Scott's book, Radical Candor, with a sales team twist.

Key Takeaways:

  • Radical Candor requires a culture where everyone on your team feels respected, heard, and empowered.
  • Caring personally (taking the time to build authentic, real, human relationships) + Challenging Directly (respectfully confronting colleagues face-to-face when someone's upset the apple cart) = a culture of trust, vulnerability, and positive change.
  • Radical Candor is a 2 way street, sales leaders. These same rules should apply when a subordinate approaches you with a conflict or problem.
  • Salespeople can apply these principles by truly caring about their prospects and demonstrating that they understand their situation, rather than using manipulative sales tactics for a quick sale. After all, it's not 1992, but some sales teams still promote a culture of manipulation and putting the squeeze on prospects – just stop. Seriously, stop it.
  • Read the full article, but here's the gist of implementing Radical Candor successfully: assume the best of others, be genuinely interested in them & then don't be an asshole.

Sales in the Subscription Economy #1

How to effectively recruit & interview top sales talent, negotiate better, and more:

Sales VPs: you don’t have time to read everything out there, but no worries, I’m doing it for you. I read, curate, and summarize the best content on subscription sales & sales team recruiting on the web every week.

Here’s what you need to know this week:

How to Successfully Negotiate Via Email

Key Takeaways:

  1. KISS – keep it simple stupid. If your email is more than 5 sentences, it’s too long. Make one point with the email and GTFP, fast.
  2. Before you hit send, read the email out loud in the harshest tone possible, because that’s how the receiver is going to read it.
  3. Use diffusing language like, “I’m sorry” and “I’m afraid”
  4. If the email is delivering bad news, call it out in the subject line, “This is going to sound horrible”. Though counterintuitive, will help your message land softer.
  5. End the email on a positive note!

Notes & Summary: The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired by Lou Adler

In The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired, Lou Adler makes a strong case for what he calls Performance Based Hiring.

What follows is a combination of quotes from Lou’s book, my summaries of his ideas, and occasional additions and interjections of my own. This is one of the best books I’ve read on the hiring process soup to nuts and I highly recommend purchasing, studying, and highlighting the daylights out of it if you’re in talent acquisition or HR.

The Gist

If you want to improve your ability to hire strong people, here’s how: clearly define the performance required for success. Use this description for recruitment advertising and screening and then find people who have done something comparable. In the process, you'll discover if your candidates have exactly the right level of skills, experience, and motivation to do the job. This is what performance based hiring is all about.

Clarifying objectives up front has been shown to increase employee satisfaction, improve on the job performance, and reduce turnover.

Minimize the risk of hiring someone who isn't a perfect fit by having the candidate demonstrate evidence of exceptional past performance – any pattern of achievement in a variety of comparable situations.