EP168: Get Granular to Boost Your Sales Performance
Welcome to the continuation of a conversation with Hitesh Shah, CTO and CPO of ConnectAndSell. This episode delves into the world of sales and coaching for sales managers. Hitesh shares his experience and insights on coaching by the numbers and how to effectively manage and coach a sales team.
Corey and Chris share their thoughts on how to analyze sales data and determine the strengths and weaknesses of individual sales reps. They stress the importance of getting granular with data and looking at it with a critical eye. By understanding the patterns and details of sales interactions, sales managers can take the necessary steps to help their reps improve and drive better results.
Chris also offers his advice for new sales managers on how to stay up-to-date with fast-moving sales trends and how to effectively manage a sales team in a fast-paced environment. He suggests starting the day by looking at sales data and focusing on the critical details of sales interactions.
So whether you're a seasoned sales manager or just starting out, join us for this exciting episode as Chris, Corey and Hitesh help you take your sales management, training, and sales skills to the next level in this episode, "Get Granular to Boost Your Sales Performance".
If you missed the first half to this interview, you can listen here:
Welcome to the continuation of a conversation with Hitesh Shah, the CTO and CPO of ConnectAndSell. This episode delves into the world of sales and coaching for sales managers. Hitesh shares his experience in insights on coaching by the numbers and how to effectively manage and coach a sales team. Cory and Chris share their thoughts on how to analyze sales data and determine the strengths and weaknesses of individual sales reps. They stress the importance of getting granular with the data and looking at it with a critical eye. By understanding the patterns and details of sales interactions, sales managers can take the necessary steps to help their reps improve and drive better results.
Chris also offers his advice for new sales managers on how to stay up to date with fast-moving sales trends and how to effectively manage a sales team in a fast-paced environment. He suggests starting the day by looking at sales data and focusing on the critical details of sales interactions. So whether you're a seasoned sales manager or just starting out, join us for this exciting episode as Chris, Corey and Hitesh help you take your sales management, training and sales skills to the next level. In this episode, get granular to boost your sales performance.
Corey Frank (01:38):
We had a great conversation the other day informally talking about your cataloging experience, Hitesh and Chris, and we were talking about the, and I'm going to butcher it, was that the items lead you to the category. The category doesn't lead you to the items. It's very easy when you're trying to deduce causation versus correlation. We've had a number of conversations about this, but when you have, let's take a real-world problem, how do you determine if the items that data is leading to a category challenge or is the category going to lead you to, it never leads you to the items I believe that you had said. Maybe you can clean up that butchering of your nuggets of wisdom that I just fed back to you.
Chris Beall (02:19):
Well, it's pretty good. You just got 12 of my patents right there. Hitesh, what are your thoughts about this? You and I have both built a lot of classification systems that do automated or semi-automated classifications, all with at some point with humans in the loop either early, middle, or late or cleanup. You did it in the world of jobs at a level that nobody had ever done before, figuring out how to match people to the jobs that are out there in the world. I've done it in the world of products and parts also.
Hitesh Shah (02:55):
When you think about what Corey just said.
I think the most interesting example that comes to my mind is coaching by the numbers, Chris, in terms of dispositions. So Corey, in ConnectAndSell world, every call is disposed with a disposition. What happened. I got a referral, I got wrong target. The person is not interested. Right timing. Not me. Talk to somebody else or whatever. Chris started noticing this very peculiar pattern where interests and information would suddenly start dominating your disposition pie chart.
So we a have pie chart which shows what's the spread of your dispositions, and it turns out that people who are not very good at communicating a value prop or are super nice on the phone, so you don't feel like blowing them off, you don't feel like telling them off. But at the same time, they don't give you a compelling enough story or a pitch for you to say, "Yes, I want to learn more."
So guess what? The easiest thing to point to is, "Send me some information and I'll get back to you," and Chris, I still remember the grid that we looked at on the whiteboard in the San Mateo office where you came up with this technique of saying, "Okay, here's how you stack rank your disposition outcomes, and the moment interest and information starts bubbling up for a given rep, that means that person needs coaching on how to open the call in a way that you actually end up moving to the next phase of the sales cycle." So-
Corey Frank (04:17):
That would be perceived as a positive. "Hey, we got through to somebody who's on my list." My marketing people said, "See, I told you that list is good. These people are crazy for information and crazy for propaganda we send," but that category doesn't necessarily lead back to the item necessarily. Correct?
Hitesh Shah (04:35):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly
Chris Beall (04:37):
That's a great example, Hitesh. The truth is always in the details. The details are always a pain in the because you got to figure out what the patterns are and you will see patterns where there aren't any. These are the hard things about hard things. This is why some people do work like this and others do sensible work. You actually know what the outcome is going to be. So that's a great example where there's something that emotionally leads you in one direction, "Hey, this rep must be pretty good. They're getting a lot of interest." In fact, that tells you something about the rep. This rep can't close. They can't close a meeting, and so now that they need coaching or replacement, well, let's take a coaching step, because that'll tell us if they need coaching or replacement. We had one the other day that was really funny.
Now everybody's obsessed with mobile numbers. Mobile numbers, mobile numbers, mobile numbers. Because, well, they have higher connect rates. So the mobile number is the category and the connect is the thing you're trying to get to inside. Kaeser compressors, Matt McCorkle had been on this show before and was an outstanding guest, and Matt wanted us to actually build a list for him, for experimental reasons. We do crazy things like actually build a list for people sometimes. And so we built a list for him and we made an assumption, a categorical assumption that mobile numbers would be great. Well, Matt's team was calling plant managers in factories. And the plant managers in factories who are in the factory answer the company number when it's actually routed to them by navigating the phone system and all that.
Because you're a plant manager, you're not going to ignore a phone call that comes from the inside. It could be really important for the running of the operation, but when they answer their mobile, it means they don't work there anymore. [inaudible 00:06:22] you call during business hours and you call them on the mobile number, you're actually deliberately calling the wrong people that ZoomInfo or LinkedIn or whatever says are the right people, but their data lags a little bit behind. And so the category [inaudible 00:06:38] us, and the facts came back and said otherwise, and by the way, the connect rate was beautiful. It was 14 to one with wait times of one minute and six seconds on paper. I looked at it and I said, "Ooh, ooh, ooh." And then Matt gets back on and says, "Man, that really pissed off our reps and wasted an entire two hours of flight school."
Corey Frank (06:58):
Yeah. Well, speaking of flight school, it's almost as if Hitesh and Chris, we've talked about flight school several times on this call on organization, whether you're using ConnectAndSell, which you should, but even if you use any other dialer that the premise and the basic building blocks and the spirit of flight school is, regardless of whether you're using any type of weapon like ConnectAndSell, but what we were thinking about talking about here is almost like a air traffic control school. So if I'm a sales manager and I don't have, maybe my enablement person or my marketer is just doing my Zoom data, maybe keeping my sales force up and going, this concept of traffic school is analyzing the traffic patterns in the residue, like we were saying, is what your dialer is trying to tell you.
How do I get better at that? What do you guys suggest on, where do I learn that from. On this call? I think I have a below number of patents for the three attendees on this call. I think clearly, meaning zero. I think combined between the number of patents and the number, you guys are very modest, but the number of phone calls, who has claimed to view and be more of a thought leader, an outbound calling in the nuances of it than you two guys? Nobody, just from the hours and the millions and millions of dials, but I'm a sales manager. I'm a relatively new sales manager and I have reps and there's a lot of moving parts. Chris, your quote, you said is that, "It takes a long time to learn about fast stuff." There's a lot of fast-moving stuff. I got a board that's breathing down my neck. I got funding that expires in a few months. I got end of quarter. How do I learn to just stop and look at the residue in the exhaust with a critical eye? What advice do you have for somebody like that?
Chris Beall (08:41):
Man, I have a lot of it. Here's my number one piece of advice, and it depends on what kind of systems you have that tell you what's going on, but one is, get granular. Just get granular. Looking at stuff from a high level tells you nothing other than what you thought you already knew. You're just going to get confirmation bias. So, that's one. Two is, before your day starts, and I always say before breakfast, and I have two things that require effort before breakfast.
One is, I try to get in 4,000 micro-prancing steps because 4,000 steps before breakfast means I'll hit my goal for the day. The second is, I look at the data in the same order every day. So I bring up the previous day's results for our team, and I look at them, [inaudible 00:09:34] from top to bottom. By top, I mean early in the conversation to later in the conversation, because everything in the world of calling is conditioned by what happened right before it. Therefore, if it goes bad, it goes bad early.
So I'll just go in and say, "Okay," so yesterday, because wait, I can do this in real-time, but I'll get distracted. So yesterday, who had the highest busy callback rate as a percentage of their total conversations in the team? And then I'll click through and get granular. I'll listen to two conversations, one short and one long. I'll look at the amount of time. That cycle right there, that whole cycle takes less than three minutes, and now I know who needs the most help on their opener, because they get busy callbacks.
I'll do it through five stages of the conversation. The entire thing takes me 15 minutes. I know some people say, what are you as a CEO doing this? Well, gosh, selling stuff's really important to my company and it comes from the top of the funnel. It starts at the beginning. So just doing that in much the same way that I would do my 4,000 steps in the morning before all the stuff starts going. I think a moment of structured looking at a level of granularity that you're familiar with but not turning your mind off. It's like you're really looking, and I know Hitesh, you do stuff like this with the systems that you build. You have parts of the day where it's easy to get pulled away, where you pay attention to things worth paying attention to.
Hitesh Shah (11:07):
Yeah, absolutely. In fact, in the context of what you are saying, Corey, every dial that you make, there are three levels of insights coming from [inaudible 00:11:18] that you get back. From ConnectAndSell and from any other dialing system. The [inaudible 00:11:23] number one at the simplest level is, was the phone number right or not? And their data providers that do, DiscoverOrg used to be really good at this. You used to see from ConnectAndSell, you could tell if a customer was using DiscoverOrg or not in a heartbeat, because their bad data would be less than 2%, believe it or not, Corey, versus some of the other data providers that go often up to 15 and 20%.
So one is just the quality of the data in terms of whether the phone number actually worked or not. The second level, if you go one step above that is the actual titles that you are targeting that you thought, and this is something I wish our customers did more of, Corey, to Chris's point, in terms of being granular, because at the end of the day, blended, a thousand people list will blend everything in. But if you start looking at cohorts of titles that you now start correlating to the call outcomes or dispositions, you start generating some very meaningful insights.
If you start noticing a high number of referrals, that probably means that you are actually ending up targeting the wrong function within that company, for whatever reason. And maybe that particular industry is not very well organized in terms of how it feeds into the hierarchy or there's something off there, and we've seen this not very often, but enough that it does matter. So the data quality, the targeting, and then, most importantly in terms of the feedback loop, in terms of what is working well, what you should be doing more of, and what's not working well, and what you should be doing less of.
So this whole closed loop feedback system in terms of doing more of what is working across from the vendor that you are using for your data acquisition to how you're using the vendors to build your list, and especially targeting, both in terms of companies you target and the people within those companies that you target. And then lastly, in terms of navigating the buying center, regardless of who you ended up with. Because the buying center is a collection of people, and especially true of anything that's not [inaudible 00:13:34] and maybe even lower in this environment, and as you go up [inaudible 00:13:39] plus into the mid-market plus enterprise segment, because you're not just going to be talking to one person, it's going to be a community decision.
We'll be back in a moment after a quick break.
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And we're back with Corey and Chris.
Corey Frank (14:28):
And having that childlike curiosity as well is key to finding out, what if I pull on this thread, what if I pull on this thread, in getting down, it's okay to fall in love with getting in these little rabbit holes about what it's going to lead you in. To that point Hitesh, you have a mature sales manager that maybe doesn't necessarily analyze their business. There's no rear view mirror. It's all about just dial the phone, more dials, more data, hire more people.
Is that condition terminal? How would you reform somebody like that, like me, who... I don't have time to, 4,000 steps, Chris? Come on, look at me. I don't take four steps. I'm sitting behind the desk and I'm managing my... How can you reform somebody like me to say, "Listen, this is why it's critical to your business." If anything, there's KPIs, there's one number you should look at in your organization more than anything else that has an atomic weight equal to all these other vanity metrics that you think you're using on your Salesforce system. What guidance advice would you have for somebody like that who's in that condition?
Hitesh Shah (15:39):
So that's a tough one, Corey, but I think Chris came up with this concept of meeting per rep hour. I think that's probably where I would start. Chris, feel free to chime in. I think it's a brilliant invention. I think it's frankly in the company's history, at least that I know of. It's especially for the aspect that Corey is addressing in terms of that one thing. If you go to the dentist, the x-ray does it. You show an x-ray and then you go, "This is how bad your teeth are." Unfortunately, for us, the closest to that x-ray that I can think of, Corey, is the meeting per rep hour metric, because in the end, the time element of it gets lost in terms of meetings set, but the amount of time that you're spending prospecting and within that time how productive you are in terms of, and that encompasses everything from list quality to rep quality to follow up hygiene and all that thing together.
Corey Frank (16:27):
Hitesh Shah (16:29):
Would you agree, Chris?
Chris Beall (16:30):
Yeah, your biggest source of variability is the processors themselves, the reps. And so it's difficult to predict what will happen from activity metrics, because the processor itself is not uniform. It's like I'm putting in what I think is the same inputs, but I've actually got a very different processor and it's one of a kind. There is only one copy of it in the entire world. And so if you want to find out quickly before you run out of money, run out of time or get shot, which is, that's the COO's job, is to take the bullet for the CEO. I think we've talked about that a couple of times.
Then, you need to very quickly find out where the production is, what's really going on. So assuming you have control over your targeting, now you're down to, what's the output? Well, waiting for closed one doesn't work, because it's too slow. You can't learn about fast things by waiting for slow things to happen. By the time the slow things happen, you've lost your opportunity to learn more about the fast thing. So what's a fast thing that happens? It happens on day one. The very first day you turn on some dialing system or whatever it is that you're encouraging people to do, for outbound, there's a question.
My input, my cost is the hours, an hour of a rep, that unique [inaudible 00:17:49] processor. The output is meetings set. It tells you about your list. Because if you can't set meetings across the entire group, the issue isn't the processors. The issue is your targeting or your messaging, one or the other. So now you go back and ask yourself the question, "Well, does this message have a shot, or is the list problematic?" So you go to the list and you ask yourself this question, which is, if I break the list down by meetings per rep hour, which titles are taking the meetings and which aren't?
So maybe I have a list that isn't dense enough in the titles that are taking the meetings as an example. It's that thing. You need to have a place to start. And meetings per rep hour is to me the place to start. We used to push a lot of stuff back in Denver. We were pushing, [inaudible 00:18:36] enough dials in the day? Well, that's a system thing. With ConnectAndSell you might have 1500, 2000 dials. But then [inaudible 00:18:42] said, "No, no, you're not." Did you have enough conversations in the day? And so we went into that for a while. And these things, these were things that we drove on, do this, do this, do this. That was, when, 2014, 2015, it's now 2023.
About a year ago, I was looking at the data and I just said, "This is crazy. Where's the money going?" It's going to feed the racehorse. What's the output of a cold call that is diagnostic for targeting, for messaging, and for effectiveness of the rep? Meeting gets set, meetings per hour per rep. Oh, Hitesh says it's brilliant. I think I'm a total idiot for not coming up with this in 2011, quite frankly. But when I look around and I ask folks, "What are you measuring?" Nobody is measuring meetings per rep hour. It's the one thing that they should be measuring if they want to get a very quick handle on, "okay, where do I go for improvement?
Because if you're forward looking, where do I go for results? And then if I'm getting results or I'm not getting results or whatever, where do I go for improvement? It's right there. When we engaged, when you were at Stormwind, and I was trying to make a point to you, which is, your talent spread is huge, and there's an issue, and I actually showed you, you're the first person, Corey, who ever saw meetings per rep hour. That was actually how I brought this back. I said, "Look, below this threshold, you should have no ConnectAndSell, cut them off." And you said, "Chris, I can make them better," because that's your mindset. And the answer is maybe you could make them better, but it was going to take a while, and the question is, how long did you really have? Especially given how much you were paying us. It's a fascinating thing, and I'm glad you brought it up, Hitesh, because this is the one metric to rule them all. It tells you everything. It tells you where to look, or it tells you to look.
Corey Frank (20:37):
Absolutely, because everything else is a lagging indicator, that's causatory based off of that one, because if it's meetings per day, ah, but meetings per hour and then combined with these other granular items, Hitesh, that you and Chris were talking about, the, busy, call back later's or, send information, that's the one string. So the one string to pull on the sweater is, if somebody's beyond the norm of meetings set per hour per rep,
Chris Beall (21:08):
Yeah. So let me clarify. When I say meetings per rep hour, I mean per prospecting hour.
Corey Frank (21:13):
Yes. Right. Sure.
Chris Beall (21:15):
So taking eight hours in the day doesn't work. You've got to-
Corey Frank (21:17):
No, no, exactly.
Chris Beall (21:18):
... say, "I know they're prospecting for this amount of time." And one of the advantages of dialing systems like ours or others is they actually tell you literally how long somebody's prospecting. When I look at our system right now, which we never do. We don't do it in podcasts to look look, right because it's an audio medium. But if I were to look right now at our team today on 1/26, and I'm just going to look at our inside sales team because they do more prospecting, and I can go top to bottom on meetings per rep hour. So our top performer, Josh Layman, using ConnectAndSell today for one hour, 11 minutes and 36 seconds, has set three meetings, and his meetings per rep hour is 2.51.
By the way, for those of you who want a benchmark, 0.5 is the magic number. So we've always said that there [inaudible 00:22:11] a magic number for market dominance. There's a conversion rate that you can go, "Oh, that's pretty good. That's going to get me there." If you're over 0.5 meetings per rep hour as a rep and you can sustain it, you're a keeper. Now, somebody might say, "Well, what about the list [inaudible 00:22:28] the right meetings, [inaudible 00:22:29] meetings, people show up for," those are all things that can be controlled either in making the list, which should be the companies, not the reps, or in handling the aftermath of the meeting being set, rescheduling, and all that kind of stuff.
So ours today, by the way, I'm very happy, is 0.76 meetings per rep hour, and I have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 people that are above that today. So there's variation day to day, but that one tells me where to look. I have two people at zero. Now, that's one day. So now you'll look back over a week, and this is also key. You got to be fine grained, but you can't be twitchy. You can't be reacting to everything. You got to know, "okay, this is for real. But now I go to meetings per rep hour for the team as a whole, and suddenly it smooths out. The top is 0.87, and the bottom is 0.35 this week, and the average across the entire team is 0.56 so I guess we can stay in business.
Corey Frank (23:30):
Gotcha. Well, it'd be interesting to see with that, and I'm sure you have the data, certainly proprietary, ConnectAndSell is such a thought leader in this space with your team, but what is that danger zone? If I'm an organization that has X and Y and Z, pay my reps, most folks pay their SDRs with some variable disparity there, but what is a danger zone that, "Hey, listen, stop what you're doing," like you said, "Unplug whatever machine that you're plugging and look at those points that you had mentioned." The data or the target or the ICP or the rep training. Maybe they need to immediately go to flight school. What are some of those numbers that you see? Is it 0.25? Is it 0.1?
Chris Beall (24:13):
Well, Hitesh is in the danger zone because he's an important guy, has to go to another meeting. It's amazing that we had him for this. He's the real Tom Cruise here. Hitesh, do you have any parting words about danger zones or your feeling about when should you be reactive?
Hitesh Shah (24:26):
I think the number one, in terms of danger zone, is burning your leads, Corey, to me. So if you are seeing dispositions that are overly negative, that all is almost always indicative of something that you're not doing right in terms of either training the reps or targeting or whatever. So other than that, like Chris said, you want to maintain the ranges for each of those metrics that you are watching, for incremental improvement. But if there's one overarching thing, it's just, if you're looking at a pie chart that's showing more than 75% negative dispositions, then you have a problem there.
Corey Frank (25:03):
Well, that's fantastic. Well, I tell you what, Hitesh, it's great to finally have the brains behind the operation at ConnectAndSell on these podcasts. I've been schlepping with Chris Beall for the last three years or so, and it's clearly you've been having the earpiece in Chris's ear as I ask him all the questions over the years, so, to have an organization like you have Chris, and that you and Shawn McLaren have built where you have people like Hitesh as your right hand guy and supporter and cheerleader and analysis and debater and work wife, it's a gift to have that much intellectual firepower in one organization under one roof, focusing on the same goal, so thank you Hitesh for finally breaking free from under Chris's thumb here on all the other projects that he has you working on to jump on this podcast. For the Market Dominance Guys, Chris, any parting words here on this episode with the brilliant Hitesh Shah?
Chris Beall (25:51):
All I got to say is the system must be really, really in good shape for him to be comfortable to come on because this guy doesn't let anything slip by.
Corey Frank (25:59):
The medium is the message. That's right. [inaudible 00:26:03]. Until next time, this is Corey Frank with Chris Beall on the Market Dominance Guys.