Sales managers have a big job. The Bridge Group recently published their Sales Development 2018 report, and the numbers paint a clear picture. Sales Development Rep (SDR) teams are getting bigger while SDRs are less experienced. On top of that, turnover remains high. The average number of SDRs per manager is now 7.4, which is up 21% from 2012. Attrition is 39% (involuntary is ⅔ of the total), and average experience at hire is down to 1.4 years from 2.5 years in 2010.
In the face of this challenging scenario, the daily stand-up is a best practice that can help sales managers boost the performance of their team. A high performing team is a happy team. Here’s a winning team from ZeroTurnaround, circa December 2013:
What a stand-up is, and what it isn’t
For a team of up to 8 SDRs, a daily stand-up should take 20 to 30 minutes and it should cover three things:
- What customer conversations happened yesterday?
- What’s on deck for today?
- Let’s look at the daily numbers
We’ll review each of these elements in detail below.
It is equally important to clarify what a stand up is not.
- It’s not a replacement for weekly 1-1s with your reps.
- It’s not a forecast meeting, pipeline review or warboard session.
- It’s not a training session.
All three of these things are crucial elements for managing SDRs, and they need their own dedicated sessions. For example, if you find your stand-up conversation starting to turn into a mini-training session on how to do the latest pitch deck, you should steer the conversation back to the topics of the stand up while also making a note to cover the new pitch deck at the next training meeting.
What customer conversations happened yesterday?
You should review all customer conversations from the day before. This can include prospecting calls as well as demos. In almost every conversation, some things go right and some things go wrong. For example, objection handling is a skill that must be applied in every conversation. It is important to share what worked so others can use it in future calls. It is equally, if not more, important to describe what didn’t work so everyone can learn together. If you see the same thing happening regularly, then you should set up a dedicated training session as a separate meeting.
This is also a good opportunity for managers to make sure that reps are always moving the sales process forward. A manager should always ask, “what is our next step?” This will expose situations where reps need help on how to move things forward. It is also a good way to make sure that your sales board is up to date, whether you use Salesforce or a whiteboard on the wall.
What’s on deck for today?
You should talk about calls or demos that are scheduled for today. This is a great opportunity for a sales manager to assess whether or not reps are actively qualifying prospects when they set up calls. A good question to ask about every calls is “what job are they trying to get done?” In other words, what is the customer need or use case that your product uniquely addresses. Note that this is not a forecasting session, so managers need to be careful not to go too far into the details of qualifying opportunities in a stand-up.
This is also a good opportunity to share group knowledge about prospects. Sometimes, there are accounts or individual contacts with which your team or the company has had prior conversations. It is important to share this knowledge to increase the likelihood of success on the call.
Let’s look at the daily numbers
Every daily standup should include a look at the daily metrics that drive your sales process. It’s important to be able to see sales rep performance relative to one another in an at-a-glance format. It should include all of the key metrics that you measure. Here are three benefits of adding this to your daily stand-up:
- Seeing performance relative to peers is highly motivating. No one like to be at the bottom. When problems persist, managers can work with reps to improve by coaching on the sales floor and at weekly one on one meetings.
- Reps won’t get credit for activities that they don’t record in the CRM. This helps motivate reps to enter data.
- It doesn’t take too many days of bad team performance in any metric to identify possible problems that need to be fixed. The problems could be caused by poor process or lack of training or even something related to product-market fit. By looking at the sales rep numbers in daily stand-ups, sales managers will be in better position to raise these issues with senior sales executives, instead of waiting until they result in bad monthly or quarterly results.
At Rekener, we focus on 9 metrics that track our process from lead/contact creation to demos and opportunities. We use Salesforce as our CRM, but we don’t use Salesforce for per rep reporting, especially at daily standups. Salesforce dashboards consist of multiple reports, one for each metric. When you have even a modest amount of metrics, it is challenging to see performance at the rep level. It is also difficult to change time frames for the different metrics. Here’s a sample of our Per Rep Dashboard:
In order to see performance at the rep level, the alternative is to dump the Salesforce data out into a spreadsheet or an external tool. Spreadsheets are great for seeing and analyzing the data, but they are very difficult to maintain. If you want to see sales rep performance for key metrics updated every day, spreadsheets just aren’t going to do the job.
At Rekener, we eat our own dogfood and use our Sales Rep Scorecard application. It automatically gives us the at-a-glance view that we need, and it is automatically updated. We can change metrics quickly and change the time frame with a couple of clicks. Here’s a snapshot of our team as shown in Rekener’s Sales Rep Scorecards.
Looking to learn more?
There are a lot of great resources to learn more about how to build and manage SDR teams. Here are a few recommendations:
- First, props to The Bridge Group for their Sales Development 2018 report.
- My colleague Greg Keshian has written two great posts on sales rep reporting, one for inbound teams and one for outbound.
- I recently wrote a post on best practices for ramping new SDRs.