Use Task Force Teams to End the Great Reshuffle

Using Task Force Teams to End the Great Reshuffle

Inc. Magazine’s recent article “Why Are People Really Unhappy About Their Jobs? The Whole Reason Can Be Summed Up in 2 Words” describes two reasons why the “great shuffle” happens today. Increased salaries and a basic “thank-you” are no longer working for burnt out employees. The studies presented in the article show that leaders must learn how to recognize employees in a way that they will feel valued to end the “great reshuffle”.

Setting Up Task Force Teams for Sales

During my career, the method that I used to win over hearts and minds of was task force teams. These team members should engage in setting processes, policies, metrics and KPIs for the SDR team.

When I am asked to re-tool a SDR or Inside Sales organization, I use task force teams to gain trust and energize team members. To do this, I conducted interviews with each team member within the first week ‌in my role. Then, I created task force teams regarding the specific yet common issues and concerns that I uncovered during these interviews. These issues and concerns have included topics such as Key Performance Indicators (metrics used to manage the team), Commission Rates, Quotas, CRM, Contracts, etc.

I asked that team members join one or more of the task forces to resolve the outstanding issues. I informed them that some executive-level ‌issues—commissions and quotas—may not resolve exactly as envisioned. My teams knew that once our recommendations were approved, we would be held accountable for achieving our projected numbers.

The Process

I limited participation to 5-7 members for each of the task force teams. Here is how I managed the task force teams:

  • I started with a brainstorm session or two which helped us get all ideas on the board for later review
  • Following the brainstorming session(s), I conducted the ideas review. During this phase, task force teams review and eliminate any idea(s) that are not viable
  • The team captures and reviews task force recommendations in a PowerPoint deck prior to presenting to the manager (me in this case)
  • Each Task Force Leader presents the approved recommendations to the entire team. The team understands that they should follow the approved task force recommendations. In most cases, there was a 95%+ agreement rate about the recommendations as outlined by the various task force teams

Task Force Teams—Case Study

One of the organizations that I turned around was the Inside Sales team for a company that had lost half its clients and hadn’t seen any new business since the recession. The Inside Sales team had not hit their revenue targets in many years.

During the assessment of the organization, I found that no one held the sales team accountable for their metrics. For example, Sales Reps didn’t have quotas. The sales funnel was full of opportunities, but 80% of these were no longer viable deals. There was no sales methodology in place to effectively manage deals through the sales pipeline.

In addition, there were no KPIs or metrics in place. Team members made fewer than 10 dials per day. I knew we had to get that number up because this was a phone job and the only opportunity to get more prospects was by calling them. I realized that my Sales Management experience was key in getting this team to achieve their goals and increase revenue.

The Turnaround

Working with the task force teams, we decided on a sales methodology and types of metrics that the team agreed would help them achieve their newly assigned quotas. Everyone agreed to the minimum metrics and worked towards them as a team. At the end of the first year, revenue had increased by 57%, and revenue from new prospects had increased by 80%

Sometimes, I don’t agree with task force recommendations. If their recommendations are way off the mark (from my experience), I work with the team to get their ideas to align with what I know will work. Ultimately, however, the caveat is that if we don’t see improvement within 90-days, we will need to regroup and come up with a better process or set of metrics. This becomes a continuous improvement process in which experimentation is essential. Similarly, Sales Management is not a stagnant process.

As the manager of a team, you need to be flexible and listen to the suggestions of your employees. Sales Management is about working with your employees and, ideally, empowering task force members to work together to analyze the success of their recommendations. Review task force recommendations and results at the end of each quarter.

Increase Productivity

There are many studies about Sales Management and employee involvement in the decision making process. Most research agrees that active participation has positive effects on performance, and thus productivity. For example, C. A. L. Pearson conducted an experiment involving two groups of workers: a group of employees who set goals, and a control group that executed traditional work procedures. The results showed not only that those “who were engaged in participative goal setting reported […] greater job satisfaction”, but that “goal setting and performance were positively related.” [1] Similarly, another paper found that “empowered employees largely improve performance by finding innovative ways of correcting errors in service delivery and redesigning work processes.” [2]

These findings are in line with my own experience, and show that if you get the buy-ins from your employees, you will see an increase in performance, productivity, and eventually revenue.

So… what?

Rather than telling the team what to do, I give my teams the ability to determine their destiny. When teams have the opportunity to provide their input on specific aspects of the job, the manager has their “buy-in,” and team members can work toward the assigned goals. Why wouldn’t they? It’s their plans and ideas and, therefore, their responsibility to make them work. This process has worked for me and has helped my teams greatly improve their performance.

Employee retention should be at the top of every company’s list. Allow them to give input into how they should do their jobs in order to improve morale and reduce exits


Read the book The Radical Pipeline Strategy: How to Grow Pipeline and Revenue by Optimizing Sales Development. This book outlines tested best practices and implementation strategies that I developed while rebooting and building 65 SDR and Inside Sales organizations.

The Radical Pipeline Strategy Book by Alicia Assefa

Find out more about SOMAmetrics’ Intelligent Prospecting Platform and get free resources on our website at www.somametrics.com.

How to Write Engaging B2B Email Sequences

As email marketing has become the most effective way to initiate contact with leads today, thoughtfully coordinated and targeted email sequences can drive curiosity and engagement in prospects — which will prepare them to eventually schedule an appointment with a Sales rep. Understanding your audience when crafting email marketing campaigns is vital to sending out content that will engage leads. As the bridge between Sales and Marketing, Sales Enablement can play a functional role in managing and automating these emails. 

b2b email marketing sales enablement business development representative bdr training.png

Email Sequences and the Pandemic

During the pandemic, as the push towards virtual business incentivized Business Development Reps (BDRs) to transition their work online, email marketing became the new strategy for contacting leads before calling them. Though email marketing is certainly a wise choice for this, many BDRs were not adequately trained to write compelling emails to connect with leads, especially given how sudden the urge was to shift to virtual engagement.

Many resorted to sending out overused (and, as a result, ineffective) template emails from their prospecting tools that garnered little attention. The result was a series of unpromising emails that didn’t reflect the full selling potential of the company. Worse, they lacked the compelling content needed in emails to spark interest in leads. 

Centrally approved messaging and email sequencing are now the most effective ways to help BDRs meaningfully connect with leads through email marketing. These strategies save the BDR from having to create their own messaging and content and instead will equip them with a library of targeted messaging crafted by Marketing and Sales Enablement. 

Email Sequencing That Makes an Impact

To craft impactful email marketing campaigns, the customer must come first. Sales Enablement should use an intimate understanding of the target audience (e.g., busy executives) to craft compelling emails that will stand out from the rest. High-level decision makers budget their time and read emails on the go; hence, email content should be highly scannable, focused, and bring unique value to the recipient. 

Each email should also use numbers, easily scanned bullet points, and short-form content (e.g., checklists, infographics) to share meaningful information. Each email should be connected to 6-9 emails that altogether educate and inspire trust in the recipient gradually. 

Prospect engagement content should also be distributed with these email sequences, resulting in a streamlined catalog of messaging for BDRs that supports approved positioning. The end goal for any communication should be to educate the recipient enough on the product to encourage them to call or meet with a Sales rep. 

Sales Enablement’s Role in Email Sequencing

As a liaison between Sales and Marketing, Sales Enablement’s primary role in email sequencing should be to ensure that the right content is created and is targeting the right persona profiles. There should be a robust and continuously updated library of content available to BDRs, and Sales Enablement should ensure that BDRs are comfortable accessing key content to share with leads. 

To build on this training, Sales Enablement should also educate BDRs on the various persona profiles they’ll be contacting in order to help them locate which emails and email sequences they should use when initiating contact. 

On the technological side, Sales Enablement should oversee that these emails are collected into thoughtfully arranged sequences with specific personas in mind, as well as including differentiation between inbound and outbound audiences to deliver specific and on-point messaging. 

Operational support in Sales Enablement will also play a large part in automating the sending of each email a sequence. This will give BDRs more time to focus on what matters most in their role: connecting with leads. 

Recapping

Email sequencing is an important part of email marketing in today’s world. Writing engaging emails and making sure they get sent in the right order and to the right people are both roles that Sales Enablement teams can adopt. To read more about how Sales Enablement can drive sales through email sequencing, click here
You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

The Innovative Content That Engages Leads to Talk With Sales Reps

Engaging online content is quickly becoming one of the most important resources available to Business Development Representatives (BDRs) today. As email marketing has become the most efficient way to initiate contact with leads, BDRs are turning to prospect engagement content to get attention and pique interest when sending out emails. In the following sections, we’ll look at why content is so important today, as well as what types of content BDRs need and what roles Sales Enablement can adopt in managing and creating content. 

innovative engaging content email marketing business development representative bdr sales enablement

Why Content is So Important for Engagement Today  

Because emailing is the rising medium for lead engagement today, one of the most effective ways to pique interest in any communication with a prospective customer is to share compelling, high-quality content.

Email marketing is used to connect with leads before calling them over the phone. During this stage of the buyer’s journey, relevant and helpful information should be shared with leads over email to educate them on the product and inspire a willingness to meet with a Sales rep. The goal is to engage leads enough over email so that when a BDR calls them, they’ll already have the information they need to want to book an appointment to talk with a Sales rep. 

BDRs, then, will need an array of engaging and compelling content to send to leads over email. This content should be specific, highly targeted for specific persona profiles, and come in multiple mediums to reflect the modern trends of today. Additionally, having set email sequencing available to BDRs can streamline and optimize this process. Click here for more information on email sequencing. 

The Types of Content That Best Engage Leads

In a hugely virtual world today, having modern and interesting content is essential to stand out from the crowd. We once lived in an era where PowerPoint seemed fresh and modern, but nowadays, the content that’s most likely to pique a lead’s interest will look a little different. 

Sales Enablement will want to make a wide variety of content available in various mediums, many of which should be easily shareable online. Types of content in this area can include blog posts, white papers, webinars, videos, ebooks, product demo decks, podcasts, infographics, presentations, mobile apps, articles, social media, websites, games, online demos, and tutorials. The key is to have content that’s targeted to the specific industries and personas it will be shared with and to create it with engagement in mind.

These bits of informational content are designed to move curious but unconvinced middle-of-the-funnel prospects to a level of high interest and a willingness to meet with Sales. To read more about the type of content that will engage leads, click here. 

Sales Enablement’s Role in Content Management

With a robust library of content available to them, BDRs will be well-prepared to engage with more leads and with more success. However, it’s just as important that BDRs be well-versed with what content they can and should send and to whom. For Sales Enablement, a vital part of BDR training should cover content awareness. Additionally, sales coaching should highlight which content to use for which persona profiles. 

The content should also be stored in an easily accessed and organized content library, which can be facilitated through the use of content management tools like Google Docs. 

Finally, Sales Enablement teams should track the dispersal of their content and enforce what content needs to be sent out by BDRs to promote better sales. Using KPIs in CRMs like SalesForce can aid Sales Enablement in the collecting of this information. 

Recapping

As email marketing has become more efficient in lead engagement today, the content that BDRs use to pique the interest of their leads should be of vital importance to the Sales Enablement team. Modern engagement content includes persona-targeted items in varied mediums to stand out. To read more about the type of content that will engage leads, click here. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

How Business Leaders are Optimizing BDR Training in 2021

The pandemic pushed a lot of businesses to change how they operate, including those in the B2B selling space. As Sales Enablement has adopted a wider role in business today, we’ve started to see shifts in how business leaders train their BDRs (Business Development Reps). In the following sections, we’ll look at which new practices in the traditional BDR training model have optimized BDR performance in today’s business environment. 

business development representative bdr training

KPIs for BDR Training

Careful tracking of some key performance indicators can highlight specific areas where training should be focused. CRMs like Salesforce and prospecting tools like Outreach both offer effective solutions to track these figures, which can then apply to BDR training programs to track progress, quotas, and areas for improvement. 

Some essential KPIs include: 

  • Average sales cycle length
  • Average deal size 
  • Time to Revenue
  • Quota attainment 
  • Lead conversion rate 
  • Content usage 
  • Sales funnel transition rates 
  • Number of closed deals 

Finding gaps in knowledge or ability is essential in BDR training because it gives direction to what Sales Enablement needs to focus on.

Optimized Training Sessions

Using analysis from KPIs, Sales Enablement can craft highly effective BDR training programs that borrow from some findings of business leaders today.

It’s been shown that 87% of B2B sales training content is forgotten within 30 days (Gartner), which means that the norm of infrequent or even once yearly training sessions has to go. Many Sales Enablement programs today are shortening their BDR training sessions — but also increasing their frequency. Sharing information more often and in more easily processed chunks allows Sales Enablement to reinforce old information and update training as new developments surface. It’s also been shown that continuous training can raise sales rates by as much as 50%. 

Additionally, BDRs are often on the go or in between meetings, and so while having live training sessions is certainly helpful, it can also be wise to include virtual, more convenient options within a BDR training program. Mixing up the format can also help retain attention and engagement among BDRs. Monthly newsletters, games, or interactive videos can all reliably share information while engaging viewers even while being online and remote. 

BDR Training Packs

One of the best ways Sales Enablement can equip BDRs to succeed is through a thoughtfully crafted BDR training package. Effective BDR packs give them the information they need to quickly qualify leads and schedule appointments. The fundamental elements of an effective BDR training pack are industry briefs, persona profiles, and discovery call guides. 

Industry Briefs give BDRs the information they need to have relevant, insightful conversations with prospects about their industries. They share information with BDRs about their lead’s industry’s growth rate, challenges, competitors, and more. 

In addition, persona profiles give BDRs a familiarity with the challenges and goals of the specific persona types they’ll contact within their targeted industries. This will enable them to make more personalized connections with the leads they contact. In fact, 93% of B2B decision-makers report being more likely to further consider a company if the outreach is personalized to them, making targeted, specialized approaches of the utmost importance to BDRs strategies.

Finally, discovery call guides equip BDRs with practical, usable strategies to employ when cold calling. Effective call guides give ​​BDRs the skills they’ll need to direct conversations, quickly qualify leads, and set up appointments with Sales. For more information about Sales Enablement and BDR training packs, click here

Recapping

The pandemic has pushed many business practices to shift recently, and in order to equip BDRs with the skills they’ll need to succeed in this new business environment, Sales Enablement should optimize their BDR training. This includes tracking KPIs for training purposes, updating BDR training practices, and providing highly effective BDR packs. 

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.

Three Things Sales Enablement should include in BDR Training Packs

In the increasingly competitive market today, connecting with leads can be challenging for BDRs. Often, the difference between a successful cold call (one that ends in setting an appointment) and an unsuccessful one is as simple as how efficiently the Business Development Rep (BDR) can talk with prospects. Often, BDRs are the first people that prospects will interact with during the purchasing process, meaning that their training must be a top priority for any Sales Enablement program.

Keep in mind that most companies hire junior-level people to work as BDRs, who then have to talk business with people who are necessarily senior-level decision makers. Unfortunately, many BDRs simply don’t have the experience to lead effective conversations with senior-level decision makers and they struggle to engage them enough to want to meet with Sales.

As the first contact between your company and leads, it’s important that BDRs are educated enough on current business topics relevant to your prospects’ industries to have meaningful and efficient conversations with them. Sales Enablement programs can craft BDR training packs that’ll give them the information they need to quickly qualify leads and schedule appointments. The following will cover the three most important types of content Sales Enablement should include in BDR packs. 

BDR Training Content #1: Industry Briefs

Industry Briefs give BDRs the information they need to have relevant, insightful conversations with prospects about their industries. Intimate knowledge about the target industry is the first step in crafting compelling reasons as to why the product is relevant and to have meaningful connections with leads. 

Industry Briefs in BDR packs should describe the:

  • Industry at large
  • Growth Rate
  • Basis of Competition
  • Key Challenges 

When Sales Enablement gives BDRs this solid, broad basis of information, they will empower them to have interesting and helpful interactions with the leads they connect with. A knowledgeable and well-trained BDR can ultimately foster trust with your company and encourage leads to talk with Sales. 

business development representative having sales enablement training meeting

BDR Training Content #2: Persona Profiles

With the industry already in mind, Sales Enablement should also focus BDR training on the specific personas they’ll be reaching out to. That way, BDRs can come from a place of familiarity with a prospect’s industry while also connecting with them on a more personal level. Sales Enablement programs can give BDRs the focused and relevant information on each of the target persona types that will allow them to make more meaningful personal connections with leads, thereby increasing their willingness to talk with Sales. 

Persona Profiles in BDR packs should describe the persona’s:

  • Responsibilities 
  • Goals
  • Key Concerns

This information, in conjunction with a more broad familiarity with the lead’s industry, will give BDRs the insights to connect more efficiently with leads. In a market where buyers are becoming increasingly difficult to reach (especially over the phone), Sales Enablement’s efforts in this area will boost appointment set rates. 

business development representative training on how to create persona profile

BDR Training Content #3: Discovery Call Guides

With the above background information in place, the next important step for Sales Enablement programs is to equip BDRs with practical, usable strategies to employ when cold calling. Discovery Call Guides can boost the efficacy of BDR training packs by giving BDRs the skills they’ll need to direct conversations, quickly qualify leads, and set up appointments with Sales. 

Discovery Call Guides in BDR packs should give them:

  • Strategies to open calls professionally
  • Key messaging to use
  • Opening questions that will quickly qualify leads
  • Tactics to lead conversations to appointments with Sales
  • Voicemails to leave if applicable 

A recent study found that BDRs who asked 11-14 questions on a call had over 70% success rates, whereas those who had less suffered up to a 30% lower success rate. Having the right training can make a surprising difference in whether or not your BDRs book appointments. Discovery call guides are vital to standardizing and optimizing how BDRs engage leads over the phone. 

business development representative training to make discovery calls

Recapping

Effective BDR training packs can empower relatively inexperienced BDRs to stand out in today’s competitive business environment. Quickly making solid and personalized connections with leads over the phone is an important way to set appointments with Sales, and Sales Enablement can dramatically increase BDRs’ effectiveness in this role through optimized BDR training packs. For more information about Sales Enablement and BDR training, click here

You can find more resources like this on the SOMAmetrics website under resources. Or click here to schedule a call if you would like to speak with one of our associates.