A few episodes ago we discussed the 5 sales meetings every sales manager needs to master. Today we cover the sales ride along. The sales ride along is the perfect place to pre-plan the call, discuss the objectives, and effectively coach your sales rep. If you have any further questions about the sales ride along sign up for a free 30 minute consultation!
What we’re going to cover:
- What we see.
- Pre-call planning.
What we see.
“In other words, they do it few and far between. Oftentimes the field sales ride along is dropped for something else whether that’s internal meetings or paperwork or putting out fires, something gets in the way of it and it doesn’t happen.”
“When we do see the sales ride along we don’t see a process. We show up, we get in the car, and off we go. We chit chat about life in general, basic business stuff, family, kids, small talk. But, there’s no real process to it. There’s no way to manage the day.”
Manager judges performance.
“Oftentimes we see a sales manager that judges performance. They sit back and after the call they’re telling you everything you did wrong. It’s more of a performance evaluation and that’s not good.”
Manager tells them what to do.
“‘Tell me about this situation, what are we walking into?’ they give it to you and the manager comes back and says ‘I want you to do this, this, and this.’
That’s not really managing that’s trying to recreate them or mold them into an image of you, what you would do, and how you would deal. Oftentimes you’re walking into a situation as a manager where you don’t have as much context as the rep. So, asking a few basic question before you launch into telling when what to do is not healthy. You could be right and that makes it worse when it actually works because that reinforces the bad habit.”
Manager takes over the call.
“They’d sit down, they say to the rep ‘I’m going to let you handle this’ and two minutes in they’re monopolizing the conversations and asking the questions, taking it in the direction they think it should go.
Sometimes it’s really hard to bite your tongue and not say anything but that’s the job. You don’t let them go down the rabbit hole and not get out, but they have to manage the opportunities to get better. You have to find some synergy between the two of you or it’s not going to work. If you do that enough and you’re going to have a team full of sales reps who can’t perform on their own.
And in the long run that’s going to kill you, you’re going to burn out. You don’t have enough time to be in the field every day all day, closing all their orders, you’re going to lose your job because your team’s not preforming enough.”
“You want to create an outline of what that’s going to look like, what the outcomes are going to look like, what you’re trying to achieve, what your objectives are. And you want to make sure they’re measurable. So, when you go out on the call, you have a plan.”
“You know exactly what you have to do, you know exactly how you’re going to measure it. You’re there to reinforce whatever it is that the sales rep needs in terms of their skill set development. And you’re there to reinforce the sales process, and in some ways, reinforce what the sales rep has said to the customer as you move forward. To support their efforts in the field.”
Application of the process.
“Your objective is to apply the process. Not only the process for managing the ride along but the sales process. You also want to know how are we applying the sales process?
You have this framework for a sales ride along, this is what’s going to happen I’m going to ride along with each one of you twice a month and this is what’s going to take place, here are the objectives, my job is to help you get better at what you do.”
“I’m here to reinforce the sales skill sets that are necessary to be successful, this is the methodology we use, this is our sales process. I want to know that we’re applying the sales process and the methodology to move from step to step in order to close the gap and drive revenue. I want to know that your sales skills are where they need to be and the areas you need work we’re going to talk about before the calls and then after the call we’re going to do a post call discussion about what happened, what worked, what didn’t work, we’ll document that, we’ll communicate what’s next for us, you can lay out those sorts of general objectives.”
Check list and Objectives.
“It’s a good idea to have a checklist with exactly what it’s going to cover. Maybe they give you a heads up by giving you the 5 accounts you’re going to visit the next day when you call, all the notes are in the CRM, and the objectives of the calls. This is really to move towards the qualifying, to the next step.”
So, we’re going to spend some time together going through the calls for the day, go through each one, lay out the objective for the call, look at the checklist, discuss the options, and whatever it is you’re working on with them in terms of their development to help them become a better rep, you’re going to discuss what you’re going to be looking for.
“You go through the call and you grade it out. Now, I don’t want you to sit in judgement of everything they did wrong, you want to grade out what worked, what didn’t work, why it worked, why it didn’t work, maybe they did everything right and it didn’t happen.”
Whats the goal?
“But the idea of the pre-call plan is to get prepared before you walk in the door. How many times are you getting out of the car and walking in the parking lot towards the front door and you’re discussing what you’re going to do? That’s not good. So, think about what it’s going to take in terms of time for the pre-call planning. What it’s going to take for me to get up to speed. Should we have a call the night before? If I’m traveling to them should we meet for breakfast?”
“The key here to moving this forward to the next step in the ride-along is feedback. People want feedback and they should get feedback and they should get that feedback in writing.
‘John and I had a great day yesterday, these are the things that worked, these are the things we’re going to work on, questioning skills, layering the questions, getting a deeper understanding of the customers problem so we can move on to the next step and accomplish the goal.”
And then a little summary at the bottom that just says hey for our next sales ride along let’s focus on this.”
“I do want to say that it’s not a one-sided conversation. At the end of the day when you put it in writing, you can give them space to come back to you and say this is what I observed, and certainly give them a tool to do that. They should be able to verbally provide feedback with no repercussions. ‘
What you’re doing is you’re keeping an open two-way communication and where that really helps you in the long run as a manager is when you get to a good spot with your rep, you’re doing these sales ride alongs, and you’re in the field and you’re providing feedback, and you’re going through the objectives, you get some real synergy working together. You know how to feed off of one another.”
Keep Filling The Funnel
We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover. You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at email@example.com. And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.