Trish Bertuzzi is an expert in what it takes to build and grow an inside sales team, which is often the linchpin of marketing and sales alignment. I caught up with Trish between major snow storms on the East Coast over the past few weeks.
Steve:You’ve been teaching and consulting for inside sales organizations for many years. What do you see this year as the biggest area of focus for inside sales leaders?
Trish: I would love to see Inside Sales leaders get back to the basics of selling. I think the bright, shiny toys that have emerged over the last few years have been distracting and we need to go back to our foundational building blocks. Who are we selling to, how can we help them build a better business, what value can we provide to them in every interaction of the sales and marketing process and finally, how do we ensure they receive the value we promised?
These are the tenets of sales that have been around forever and all the gobble-de-gook about inbound vs outbound, social selling, dialers, big data…those are just lipstick on the pig. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love all that lipstick but you need to have that solid foundation first. You can’t plug an amazing technology into a flawed process and then blame the technology.
So, to answer your question… I think sales leaders need to focus on their building blocks. And when I say focus, I mean actually listen and observe the interactions between your sellers and your potential buyers. Don’t just assume that because you built a process it is being followed. Get involved and don’t just manage with your nose to a SFDC dashboard!
Steve: The tele qualification function has gotten a lot of attention lately as the key transition point between sales and marketing. How can organizations better equip their in house sales development representatives to be successful?
Trish: Hiring great sales development reps is a major challenge as demand far outstrips supply. What that means is that we have gone downstream from an experience perspective and have started to hire right out of college. This necessitates an entirely different onboarding process.
If hiring out of college, you have to spend time teaching your reps about the business you are in, and more importantly the business your buyers are in. What does a day in their life look like? What challenges do they face? How are they currently addressing those challenges? After your SDRs – understand that then, and only then, do you start to teach them about you and what you do. BTW, I wrote an ebook on Sales Onboarding for anyone interested it can be found here: http://bit.ly/1dxs2Hg
Combine the requirement above with the fact that SDRs – are young and inexperienced. Also, if they are just out of college, they have been told what to do every day of their lives for 22 years. Don’t just hire them and say “have at it”. Give them a roadmap to be successful. Provide them with the structure of what a good day looks like. I am not talking about micro managing but I am talking about giving these reps guidance. They all want to be successful so figure out the formula for them and then give it to them.
Steve: Recently in your blog you talked about the increasing specialization of roles of prospectors and closers. What is something these organizations can do today to work better together?
Trish: The biggest point of leakage in the sales pipeline today is in the handoff between prospectors and closers. It is so bad that I wrote this post about it:http://bit.ly/OB7oRo The reason there is leakage is because we have a great process for finding and qualifying opportunities but rarely does that extend to the hand off. If an SDR team supports 20 closers there are probably 10 unique processes in place for what happens next with that opportunity. For some reason we want to control the SDR process but then when it gets to sales we just assume they know what to do with it. Wrong!
That point of interaction should be consistent and evaluated for efficiency on a regular basis. I personally think anyone can be a closer…all you have to do is be willing to ask the hard questions. But, being a prospector, that is a much tougher job. That is where you truly have to be interesting, arouse curiosity and get the prospect to take the biggest step in the sales process and that is to move forward.
BTW, all the closers who are offended … I make the statement with tongue in cheek. 🙂
Steve: What’s the biggest mistake you see organizations making today in managing their inside sales function?
Trish: Easy, they don’t invest in growing the skills of the people. They buy technology, they pay recruiters, they agonize about compensation plans but they don’t have a plan in place for each of their reps that outlines a strategy for their personal and professional growth. Why I ask…why?
Steve: Do you see any cool new technologies for inside sales that you are excited about?
Trish: The problem is I get excited about all of them! How about if I answer it this way and tell you what I use on a daily basis…
SFDC – CRM. I am addicted
InsideView – for account info, trigger event tracking and following my prospects socially
TimeTrade – for appointment setting, saves me and my clients/prospects untold aggravation on a daily basis
Yesware – email tracking plus a ton of bells and whistles
Hubspot – inbound marketing platform that has transformed our business
InsideSales.com – dialer technology with local presence – love it!
Trello – project management that ensures every client’s expectations are met
Evernote – for storing and finding all those things I know I will need eventually
Trish Bertuzzi, President and Chief Strategist at the Bridge Group. Trish is widely considered to be an expert in building inside sales teams through her work with over 130 technology sector clients. You can read more of her work athttp://blog.bridgegroupinc.com/