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.

Why Your Product Company Needs a Subscription Model by Amy Konary of Zuora

Key Takeaways:

  • If you're reading this, you're probably a sales leader in a subscription model organization. If so, these are great tips for sales reps in overcoming ownership vs. usership objections.

  • If you've not yet jumped on the subscription bandwagon, here's why you should and I can help you make that transition.

  • The way that people buy has changed for good. We want outcomes, not mere product ownership. We want constant improvement and ongoing value, not just another product to buy that becomes a paperweight too soon.

  • This shift to usership requires companies to leverage the software inside their smart products to enable subscription-based services where the focus moves from units and profit margins to customers and recurring revenue.

  • Customer relationships stop being one-off transactions and become ongoing, long-term exchanges. And innovation changes from a one-hit approach to one where never-ending products deliver increasing value over time.

  • If you’re at the helm of a product company today, ask yourself these three questions:

    • What are our customers really trying to achieve through the use of our product?
    • How can our product become a conduit for valuable, software-enabled services?
    • How can our customers, and our business, benefit by a shift to subscriptions?

How to Coach Underperforming Sales Reps by James Meincke, CloserIQ

Key Takeaways

  • *Amanda's note: To do any of the following effectively, you must be creating a culture of feedback that's a 2 way street. You can't both be an asshole to your subordinates and effectively, amicably, problem solve with them :)
  • Get to the root of the rep's problem: if they're not prospecting enough, maybe the root cause is because they've never been taught how to effectively prospect in order to reach quota. Coach them up!
  • Ask open ended questions that allow the rep to self-evaluate with the end goal of getting to the root cause of the underperformance.
  • Do your due diligence in identifying your reps' missteps throughout the sales process: listen in on their calls, read email exchanges and Inmails, then provide immediate, helpful feedback. You should be doing this with reps as a matter of course, before problems arise anyway.
  • Create a plan together with your rep to improve their performance. Break the plan down in to granular steps and ensure they understand exactly what they need to do and what is absolutely expected of them. Set milestones, check in times, and make it clear what will happen if they stray from the plan.
  • Provide additional training as needed. You're being proactive about identifying problem areas and skill gaps with your reps before they become glaring problems – just make sure to follow through with the training necessary to close the gap.

Grab Hubspot's Ultimate Guide to Sales Management:

  • This guide is a total beast and I deemed it unsummarizable, but it's worthy of your time, so go get a free copy!

Nicely done! You’re fully informed for the week on subscription sales & recruiting news – now go crush it!

Visit Let's talk about building out a sales team of A+ performers and crushing your quota every quarter, because no one likes their boss up their ass about quota...

Follow me on Twitter @NorthcuttAmanda