3 Pieces of Advice for Emerging Sales Leaders

*Editors Note: Recap post of the Deck presented at Sales Hacker Series in Boston on November 18th, 2014 by Devon McDonald, Director of Growth Strategy at OpenView

1. Sending Daily & Weekly Updates 

There is something to be said about sending a daily update to stakeholders within your business with what you accomplished that day. It sounds a little bit crazy, right? We live in the day of automated reports where Salesforce can send your manager your output / activities for the day, but it’s extremely beneficial at the end of the day to reflect upon what you did, what you accomplished, and where you stand against your goals.

But more importantly, what is the context of the conversations you are having with your buyers? From those daily updates you can pull that contextual information and share it with your team(s).

The Context

  • What are Buyers Saying?
  • How are they Responding to Messaging?
  • What are their Objections?
  • What Content are they Asking for?

As a sales rep, particularly if you are a BDR, you’re having more conversations than anyone in your business with your target buyers. That’s gold. Companies that recognize that Inside Sales teams and BDRs are a huge asset to their business are the ones that end up being the most successful.

A lot of that information the reps hear, and sometimes they’ll put it in Salesforce but it doesn’t always make it up to the top, to the people that really care about that stuff. So we have our BDRs (and remember, these are often people that are fresh out school) we have them sending daily updates to their CEOs. Now, that seems a little crazy and probably pretty scary but from what we’ve seen this is gold. They want to see this!

As a result of doing this, other teams in the company get very curious about the conversations that you’re having. The marketing teams should be heavily involved so they can create content around the objections sales is getting and where people are getting stuck around the messaging.

Simple Daily Update Email:

Daily Update Email

2. Don’t Treat Marketing Like The Enemy

There is still a ton of tension between sales and marketing. If reps and managers do what they can to help bridge that gap, everyone is going to be better off. Take initiative with marketing and share with them on a regular basis what you’re hearing from prospects and what is / is not resonating with them. To take is a step further, ask marketing what you can do as a sales rep to help. Marketing teams at startups are strapped for time and it can be a very thankless role. Offer support in whatever way you think you could be valuable. Even if they don’t take it, you will still be seen as a team player and future leader.

Now, you obviously have a busy schedule so you can’t take on writing eBooks for your marketing team, but perhaps there are little things that you could do that show that you care. Again, you’re having tons of conversations with the target audience, so if you enjoy writing offer to write a blog post. Little things like that can be extremely helpful.

Share your feedback on the content they are providing you (regardless of your seniority level):

  • What are you hearing from prospects?
  • What is resonating?
  • Where are your leads getting “stuck”?
  • What do you need more of?

Send a recap of your conversation with the marketing team and let them know what you think would be beneficial to the sales team. Mark the Marketer – “Great catching up today. I appreciate all that you do for our sales team and getting us great content!”

3. Have a Plan for Yourself

Where do you want to be in the long-run? Now, don’t come in week 2 on the job and say “I’m ready for a promotion. I’ve nailed it.” Once you’ve proven yourself (i.e. 2-3 quarters of consistently hitting your goals) bring visibility to your manager as to where you want to be eventually and ask what it will take to get there. Don’t expect it to happen over night, but work with your manager to develop a roadmap to get to that end goal… even it’s a multi-year plan.

When you plant that seed in your managers head to where you want to go, so when that opportunity does come up for organizational changes you will be top-of-mind (especially if you’ve taken the previous two pieces of advice above).

Again, after you met with your manager – document it.

Manager Follow Up

Your managers are busy, just like your marketing leader was, and they might not remember everything you talked about. Give a recap. Too, your manager may have said things to you:

  • “Yes, I want to help you get there.”
  • “Yes, let’s do this.”
  • “Yes, you can get there in the next two years.”

Put that in writing and get them to respond to it. Save it for the future because this stuff will come back to help you.

Bonus: Find the answers to your own questions

Use the resources at your finger tips. Could the answers to your questions easily be found on:

  • Your wiki?
  • Your training docs?
  • Your website?
  • GOOGLE!?

Can’t find your answer after all that? Save a list of the questions you need to ask your manager for the end of the day.

You must self-educate. Don’t expect to be coddled.

  • Read books and top sales/marketing blogs
  • Attend networking events and meet-ups – good job, you are already doing this!
  • Find mentors/coaches who you can turn to for advice
  • Attend events that are relevant to your buyers and the industry you sell into – without being asked, and potentially without being sponsored
  • Take classes outside of work that are relevant to the role you eventually want to be in

Devon McDonald is former Director of Growth and currently Partner at OpenView. Under Devon’s direction, the Sales and Marketing Support team has launched over a dozen lead qualification programs for OpenView’s portfolio companies.

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