Sales in the Subscription Economy #15

Here's what you need to know this week:

Close put out a new ebook, Leading Sales Teams Through Crisis, this week. It's free, it's great, it's timely. You get the idea, go get it!

I guess I'm all about Close this week: check this article out. It's chock-full of disastrous emails that real salespeople have sent to folks at Close during the COVID crisis. It's a true field guide on what not to do & why. But even better, Amy Copadis offers more empathetically worded phraseology that will resonate with your prospects. Great job, Amy!

10 Good Habits of Natural Salespeople by the Xant Team

Key Takeaways:

  • Know your product: duh, right? But often overlooked. Not only does each member of your team need to know your product like the back of their hand, but how it solves problems and brings demonstrable value to your customers.
  • Be persistent: The data shows it doesn't just take 7 outreaches anymore to get a response, try 14...
  • Personalize your pitch: show the customer that you care about who they are as a person, not just as a source of cash. You care so much, in fact, that you set aside a block of time to look into the customer’s wants and needs.
  • Don't be salesy: Disarm your prospect by doing away with the sales cliches. You want to come off as someone who loves the product and wants to share it with others.
  • Listen & remember: emotional intelligence is pivotal. A salesperson's ability to pick up on the customer’s ongoing feelings and thoughts during a sale and change their own behavior accordingly is one of the things that sets apart decent and great salespeople.
  • Show you're listening: active listening, anyone?
  • Look happy: Look excited about the product, and that feeling will spread to your customer. Even if you’re on the phone, customers can detect a smile in your voice.
  • Ask good questions: Make sure whatever questions you ask are interesting and engaging. No “what keeps you up at night” cliches. Boring questions are the quickest way to annoy a customer.
  • Ask for referrals: Customers who you were referred to by a mutual acquaintance are much, much easier sells than leads which you don’t know at all going in — 50-70% compared to 10-30% from other lead sources.
  • Follow up: up to 14 times in fact!

5 Ways to Motivate Your Team With Empathy and Authority by Nancy Duarte on the MIT Sloan Management Review

Key Takeaways:

  • Mix up your delivery channels: let your team hear from you via email, recorded video, 1:1 on video, and always present empathy, sincerity, and honesty.
  • Let your employees ask questions: Even if you think you know what questions are on your employees’ minds, giving them the opportunity to ask makes all the difference in how “heard” they feel. Be transparent. Your team needs to know that you can tackle the tough questions and have the humility to admit when you don't have all the answers.
  • Tell stories: this is the fifth financial crisis in Duarte, Inc.'s 29+ years. At the beginning of the shelter in place orders, we told our team a story from each season of crisis, what we learned from it, how each crisis shaped our values, and how we emerged stronger – different, but stronger! The week that followed was one of our finest.
  • Leverage Symbols: Be on the lookout for new symbols that can take on potent meaning in this season. At one meeting early Zoom meetings in this crisis, an employee shared stories about what she had learned in the past year from her son, who has Down syndrome. She said he had taught her to be brave, and she used the American Sign Language sign for brave. That sign has become the symbol of the season, and we end a lot of meetings with that gesture.
  • Recommunicate the vision: As a leader, when you state and restate your vision, you provide stability and build trust — the two major factors in inspiring and motivating people. At the end of one of my employee videos, I leaned way into the camera and reminded the team that we’re all still going to the same place and that when we get there and look back, we’ll all be proud of what we did in this season.
  • Leading isn’t for the fearful. How you show up and how you communicate can dissipate anxiety and help your team be more connected to the purpose of your company and to one another. It can also help them be productive while getting there.

A New Hire's POV: 7+ Ways My Employer Kept Me Engaged While Onboarding Remotely by Jacques Begin of SalesLoft

Key Takeaways:

  • From new employees to those responsible for onboarding, training, and managing them, life is a lot different than it was pre-COVID-19. Without the advantage of in-person, immersive onboarding, we had to get creative.
  • Tech: Ship a laptop with all the applications needed to start the onboarding process. Provide some simple instructions (think mail and calendar access). A responsive support team goes a long way in those first few days of onboarding.
  • 30-60-90 Day Plan: Establish a clear expectation of what a new hire can expect and will be responsible for in their first 30, 60, and 90 days. This gives your new hire a clear picture and provides comfort in a challenging time of transition.
  • Daily Stand-Ups: Give your team a short daily opportunity to keep each other updated. Take turns going through what each team member accomplished the day before, what’s on the docket for today, and any issues or blockers that could impede progress.
  • 1-on-1s: Provide a list of people in the organization your new hires should be introducing themselves to via 30-minute one-on-one meetings. Have a two- or three-bullet agenda and ask about what books people would recommend. This begins to develop the relationships that they might typically make in day-to-day office interactions.
  • Brain Dumps: Have new hires take dedicated time (an hour a week outside of onboarding) to meet with a seasoned team member to ask questions — any questions — and learn the team dynamics, company culture, process, and roles and responsibilities.
  • Team Lunch: Team lunches have been a great, informal way to get to know the team. We’ve even inserted activities — like an online game — to lighten the mood.
  • Happy Hours: Virtual happy hours for the extended team are a good “get to know you” activity. We make an agenda for ours to keep things interactive. Scavenger hunts (within the confines of your home) are great for bonding and entertainment.
  • Tie back to a why: Make sure to clearly articulate each individual’s contribution (purpose) and how it plays an important role in the company.

New Sales in the Subscription Economy Podcast!

Listen to episode 14 with special guest Troy Conquer, co-founder and CRO at Go Nimbly! Troy challenges us to create a North Star by asking, "How can we build the best ship together", how your culture permeates everything, and more!

Listen to Sales in the Subscription Economy at, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or your favorite app.

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