Interview with Sales for Startups' Alice Smith
Alice Smith is an agile sales coach and leader in B2B, Ed-Tech, SAAS and business information subscription sales.
Alice's experience spans building, developing and finessing revenue teams in private equity backed businesses, and taking them to exit and/or the next investment round. With experience in recruiting for and building new business, account management and client service teams, her mantra to success is coach, coach and coach again.
As part of our whitepaper case study on how SaaS companies have adapted to remote work, we interviewed a number of experts, below are Alice’s insights:
How Alice Has Observed Collaboration In The Pandemic
Alice notes that she’s been really optimistic about the sales profession as she’s seen an increase in people collaborating. Sales can be an incredibly individualistic and quite selfish role so honing in on contact with the team is important. Increasing communication is really crucial.
Allowing someone to come in and look at your processes can mean they have a really clean view on something without any emotional attachment.
All of the different sales technologies that are out there are finally being utilised in sales enablement and operations. This has meant that especially older sales professionals have gone through a personal technological transformation which is a bonus of the shift to remote working.
How Sales Leaders Are Adapting Their Management Tactics
With lots of individuals under your care, it can be hard to know who is struggling. Sales leaders are having to change their tactics to understand people’s personal circumstances and mindset a bit better.
How Remote Work Has Affected The Teams Alice Works With
Sales leaders have had to start having one to one check ins with some of their team rather than having sales and development discussions.
Sales leaders need to be ensuring that everyone on the team is taking responsibility to check in on other individuals and to spend time with them online. Even just calling up and saying, right, “how are you getting on with x?” or perhaps “what's your pitch response to x?”.
Tracking not only sales performance but wellness and mental health is really important, but it’s one of the harder aspects of remote working. If business leaders have had their eyes opened to the importance of happiness, positivity and fun as part of one's life, then that's a really good outcome from what has been a horrific situation for a lot of people.
Alice's Observations On Best Onboarding Practices
Sales leaders are now having to ensure that new recruits have as much information as possible and that the information is fed to them in an appropriate rhythm for them to engage with. People need to be able to hit the ground running in a remote environment, then it’s a case of topping up that information.
Hiring managers, or the individuals responsible for onboarding, have to really make sure that the onboarding process is really, really robust. Setting people up for success is crucial, and that's what onboarding should be about. When you're creating your onboarding and delivering it, the success of the new recruit should always be at the fore of one's mind.
Within their first six months, Alice recommends having significant milestones where a new recruit can perform scenarios and tick off what they know. This helps get a clear idea of how someone is doing over a longer period of time than the initial onboarding.
Firing off real life questions like “what would you say if a client said this?” or “how would you respond if they did this'' means that new sales professionals can experience a real sales environment in a safe space. Sales leaders should look at helping team members improve in their weak area with certifications as they progress.
This interview was conducted as part of our whitepaper study on remote work in the SaaS world. Get your free copy here.