31 January 2024 |

The Horse is a Man

By Gabrielle "GB" Blackwell

The other day I was scrolling through Instagram posts and stories and I stumbled across one post in particular that had me laughing my 🫏off!

This kind of confusion happens all the time in sales where managers leave reps to interpret how they should go or think about things….all the while, reps have no idea what’s going on.

Take for example

I had a new-ish rep who was an internal promotion onto my team. 

They were close to hitting their ramp number in their first quarter, but had been off to a slow start this quarter, despite their best efforts.

In one-on-ones, we isolated two metrics we’d focus on impacting to drive improvements in their performance:

  1. Number of conversations over the phone
  2. Call-to-conversation rate

We came up with a full-proof plan

My rep and I came up with an entire plan that included:

  • Behaviors, i.e. experiment with time of day to make calls
  • Preparation, i.e. have lists built out the day before vs. guessing who to call
  • Warm up email, i.e. send prospects an email sharing when the rep would call the prospect

The warm up email

From there, the rep ran with the plan and executed against it exactly as we had discussed.

We were feeling confident, but then…

Both the rep and myself were feeling really confident in this plan, until the following one-on-one where we saw absolutely no lift in the number of conversations or their call-to-conversation rate.

I could tell my rep was losing steam. 

They were putting in the effort, following the plan to a T, and open to adjusting their approach, but still weren’t getting any of the expected results.

I was getting frustrated too, feeling a bit over my skis on how to help my rep exactly, asking questions like:

  • Does the phone not work for their region?
  • Should we start looking at more drastic changes to their approach?
  • Are they going to be able to make up their gap?

I was spiraling a little bit, unsure of how exactly to help my rep.

The missing piece

Thankfully, the rep found a really easy way to get their conversations and call-to-conversation ratio up!

Another rep on the team shadowed the rep who had been struggling to get conversations and – BOOM – was able to identify the culprit behind the low conversation rates!

🚨Spoiler alert: it was as simple as calling the mobile numbers listed for prospects, not just direct and headquarter numbers.

Following this breakthrough with mobile numbers, the rep would go on to get as many conversations in one day as they previously had gotten in a month! Seriously – game changing! 

Better clear than confused

While I’m glad the rep found a fix, I was slightly annoyed at how obvious the fix was – if I had been more clear in how reps should go about calling, the rep wouldn’t have needed to miss their ramp number or fall behind by a month.

But, this happens all the time as a sales manager…we gloss over the little things that make the biggest difference.

Yet, the solutions we’re looking for are frustratingly simple more often than not. So simple it feels stupid. 

But that’s the job. 

People can’t get in your head…it’s your job to articulate the most detailed things.