I’ve been in sales and sales management a long time and have attended countless sales kickoff meetings. I enjoy the energy and excitement. You can see the effort sales ops and marketing put into designing best practices and everyone has great expectations they are finally going to get what they need to close more deals—and close them faster.
Sadly, that excitement seems to last until the bar closes on the final night.
When everyone goes home, the kickoff materials drop into a black hole. In a file share. On removable hard drives. Basically forgotten. And quickly, no one is following the playbook.
Sales VPs know this and some are focusing on mobile as an answer. I agree.
At a recent virtualization company’s kickoff, the VP of Sales said to me, “I just know mobile is the key to giving us more time to sell. Smart use of mobile should mean less time in front of a PC, less time filling out Excel spreadsheets, and less time away from our families on Sunday night.”
He’s right. But it doesn’t happen automatically. It takes thought and effort. And reps can’t do it all by themselves.
Let’s look at it from the rep’s point of view: I live on my phone. It’s not a distraction, it’s a rocket engine. Or at least it should be. It should be a handy, simple way to get the information I need and a quick way to update my customer and sales information when convenient.
Now let’s look at it from the manager’s point of view: phones should be windows into the most important repository in our enterprise, a sales rep’s brain. They should jump start my new reps and be turbochargers for my great reps.
With these simple images in mind, the priority for sales ops and marketing is a three-step plan:
- Put the sales kickoff documents — that usually end up on a shelf — into reps’ pockets. Better yet, build the best thinking and approaches in those documents into action-oriented tools.
- Go further: get as many useful content sources as possible into reps’ pockets: documentation, sales tools, customer background, industry and competitive intelligence. All of it.
- Perhaps most important, make it simple and natural for reps to use the material the moment is would be helpful. This means 2-3 tap access and a simple, engaging design supporting immediate value. I admit, this isn’t easy. But my encouragement is that rep-sensitive design will take 20% more effort, yet can easily quadruple use… and impact. (And I promise your reps already wish you were doing this!)
Again, it’s ok to start small. For example, we’ve learned Google Drive is quick and handy for simple internal documents multiple people need to edit at the same time. Dropbox, on the other hand, works better for distributing final versions of customer-facing tools with higher production value (think: more heavily-formatted documents or spreadsheets). Both work pretty well from a phone, as long as the organization is crystal clear. And a tool like ours offers a more complete solution.
But most important, don’t let tool indecision slow you down. Get started. Test everything on your phone before rolling it out to the field. Make sure every item is easy to find. Reps are busy. If it takes more than a few taps or if a location is even slightly unclear, you’ll lose them… and they lose the efficiency. Rep inefficiency is a hidden tax you never notice, but you’re leaving quota dollars on the table.
How many more deals will you close if reps take another look at sales kickoff materials, the latest competitive battle cards, or prospect intelligence while sitting in the lobby before a meeting? How much would effectiveness skyrocket if the best materials become part of reps’ everyday behavior? How many more happy customers would you have and how much could you compress sales cycles if reps can respond to prospect requests “now,” instead of “by the end of the week?”
Smart use of mobile turns sales ops into heros. Have the vision. Start small. But start now. Next quarter’s quota isn’t getting any smaller.