4 Lessons After 6 Months and 100+ Hours of Virtual Sales Training

By Erica Abt

Like many of you, our Symmetrics Group team spent the majority of 2020 getting smarter about the functionality of tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and WebEx, so that we can more effectively work with our clients in the virtual world.

On the various platforms we studied things like: How to manage chat questions and live chat conversations, launch polling questions, build surveys, and manage virtual break-out rooms for group exercises. Our objective was learning how to best imitate an effective in-person training experience.

Though our team has worked virtually for years, we still faced a learning curve to make sure the virtual training experience felt easy and seamless to participants.

After several months of delivering 100+ hours of only virtual training and workshops to clients across a variety of industries, our Symmetrics Group team regrouped to reflect on what we had learned and where we had opportunities to improve. We arrived at four key lessons.

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The 4 C's of Sales Strategy and Restructuring

By Warren Shiver

We’ve worked with several clients on elements of their sales strategy, which clearly define who you are selling to, what you are selling, how you are selling, and why you are different -- all to support better returns for the sales organization (Revenues – Cost of Sales). Asking fundamental questions like these begin to point to significant gaps and opportunities around sales structure and alignment.

While decisions related to sales strategy, model, and structure are highly unique to an organization, we find that investigating four core areas -- what we call the 4 C's of sales strategy -- can help guide those decisions:

  • Customer – How do you segment customers based on size, potential, needs, capacity, location, etc?  Which are your highest priority segments?
  • Coverage – Based on what you learned in customer analyses, how should you define your coverage model to best align with your highest value segments?
  • Capacity – What is the workload required to sell and service customers and how do we size/resource our team (and selling roles within it) accordingly?
  • Capability – What competencies do our people need in order to engage in the right conversations with different levels of customers, which for many companies span strategic/consultative selling to tactical selling?

We unpack these decisions in our comprehensive Guide to Sales Resource Optimization. By examining each of these areas, a sales organization can maximize both selling efficiencies (e.g., reducing overlapping resources, reducing T&E, and expanding the “bag” of solutions) and sales effectiveness (e.g., more value for the customer through broader solutions, better experience through single point of contact).

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The Case for Sales Onboarding and How to Do It Right

By Joni Santos

The business case for good employee onboarding is nowhere more glaring than in the sales organization. Companies spend more to hire talent in sales than in any other part of the organization and also experience some of the highest turnover rates (25% to 30% annually). When a seller leaves, the departure can cost a company between $75K to $300K each year, before considering lost revenue (Cespedes/Weinfurter, HBR). After hiring a replacement, it takes an additional three to six months for a sales rep to become productive.

Benefits of Good Onboarding

Experts agree that a well-executed onboarding program can reduce risk, accelerate the path to productivity, and reduce attrition. CEB research on sales onboarding tells us that engaged employees are 9 times less likely to leave, and effective onboarding programs have the potential to increase employee performance by 15%. Research by Glassdoor found that organizations with a strong onboarding process improve new hire retention by 82 percent and productivity by over 70 percent.

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Sales Leaders: What’s Your Plan for the Next 90 Days?

By Hope Eyre

A couple of years ago we published an e-book called A Sales Leader’s First 90 Days. It was inspired by the classic Michael Watkins book, but tailored specifically for Sales VPs, SVPs and CROs who had recently taken over a new organization. (For broader context on our Sales Leader's First 90 Days program, check out our introductory blog.)

Since so many companies have either re-organized or are in the midst of doing so, we find many of our "First 90 Days" principles relevant as established sales leaders plan their next 90 days.

We’ve condensed 90-day lessons into four key questions sales leaders can ask themselves as their companies undergo shifting strategies. Which of these challenges pertain to you and how can you address them in the next 90 days?

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Sales Restructuring Decisions in a Virtual Selling Environment

By Hope Eyre

You’ve heard the phrase, “we’re all Inside Sales now.” It’s meant as a nod to virtual selling solidarity. Not to be taken literally. But still, it made us think.

So many of our clients have had to make, or are in the process of making, sales org restructuring decisions to fit economic realities. The now outdated “Inside/Outside” sales terminology can muddy the waters on these decisions, particularly if your company doesn’t have clearly defined sales roles, which is a common enough occurrence.

Leaders looking hard at their sales organizations to determine if they need to restructure an “Outside Sales” force that can no longer work outside should ignore the terminology altogether and look instead at the specialization of roles required to achieve their revenue targets. Especially if they have personnel decisions to make.

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9 Steps to Improving Your Virtual Sales Calls: For a "Better Normal"

By Rachel Cavallo

We know many sellers who are about to bust down the doors of their home offices … craving the ability to shake a (sanitized) hand and engage with more than a head on Zoom.  Unfortunately, this may not be possible for a while longer.

See our 9 steps for improving virtual sales calls in a handy infographic.

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Creating a Customer for Life in Volatile Times

By Rachel Cavallo

What if TODAY, during this crazy pandemic, is the day that you create a customer for life?

If you’ve sold to small or mid-sized businesses, you’ve inevitably run into THAT customer who isn’t going to buy from you no matter how low you drop your price or how superior your offering is.  This customer is fully dedicated to one supplier because that company helped his business in a fundamental way – either by helping him get his start, or saving him from a fate that threatened his business.  He has relentless loyalty and implicit trust in this supplier.

What if TODAY is the day you create this kind of loyalty with customers? Not just “right now” loyalty, but enduring loyalty that your customers will talk about 5 or 10 years from now? The kind of loyalty that gets you out of the price game and into the value game?

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Descartes Philosophy: Applied to Modern Sales Challenges

By Hope Eyre

“Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” -- Morpheus, The Matrix (1999)

Last week, we attended our first large-scale virtual conference.

Organized by an industry association client of ours, it was in every way analogous to a sales kick-off meeting. About 8000 attendees registered. At any one time, 1800-1900 people were viewing a main-stage event, attending education sessions, browsing exhibitor booths or virtually networking.

The conference interface was intuitive and easy to navigate. You could go into and out of live sessions as easily as walking into or out of a hotel ballroom – easier, actually. You didn’t disturb anyone by opening a physical door. If you wanted collateral or presentation material, you picked it up and dropped it into your virtual briefcase for later viewing. You could chat with just about everyone.

Who would have thought 4 ½ months ago that an organization could pull this off virtually?

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Sales Leaders: Assess Skills Gaps Now to Avoid Pipeline Issues Later

By Hope Eyre

We suspected this would happen, and then we got confirmation from the Sales Ops team at our largest client.

“Some of our best sellers have become some of our worst,” they said.

The client was describing a subset of sellers who had historically been star performers based on the strength of their relationships; especially those who had relied heavily on face-to-face socializing.

“It’s the ones who never had to lean into any technology, because they were successful without it,” the lament continued. Pipelines already under stress were absolutely going to be affected.

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7 Tips to Get the Most Value from Your Virtual Meetings

By Warren Shiver

Like you, I’ve been working to adjust to a world of 100% meetings and most social interactions through my devices. Stress of the overall situation aside, it’s been fascinating to experiment and learn what’s working and not. Trust me, I’m still learning.

Since for those of you in sales, there is a strong chance that this remote environment will endure for a while given that even when companies welcome back their employees, how much longer will it be before they welcome you -- An outsider who just flew on a plane with 180 others to get to their front door?

Certainly, I welcome that day, but in the meantime, here are the best virtual meeting and engagement tips and ideas we’ve come across.

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