Episode OneHundredSixty

What Are Managers of a Distributed Team Missing?

Guest: Nimit Bhatt, Head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at memoryBlue

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About This Episode

At least 25% of being a new SDR is being able to lean over to the rep next to you and ask for immediate feedback.

Well, what happens when your whole team is working from their kitchen table now?

Leading a remote team presents all-new challenges for SDRs and their managers.

I was excited to be able to talk with Nimit Bhatt, Head of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships at memoryBlue and host of the Sales Minute with Nimit. We chatted about managing a distributed team.

Nimit realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer in his last semester as a pre-law major, though his parents were initially concerned when he wanted to commit to sales. “You can think that salespeople are cheesy, and all they care about is money,” he said. “But the perception of sales has completely changed over the past several years.”

About 150 SDRs at memoryBlue are working from home now, as is Nimit. He, like all of us, is having to adapt to remote management.

He gave me 4 insights into managing a distributed team.

Communication is everything

  • Keep those cadences going. 
  • Keep the daily standups happening. 
  • Make sure all your SDRs are showing up on video. 

You’d think that everyone would take the opportunity to play video games in the middle of the day, but salespeople still are a competitive bunch.

“What we’ve seen is they’re working really hard. In some cases, they’re working harder at home than they were in the office,” Nimit observed.

A sales leader under these circumstances has to maintain constant communication so that the people who are stepping up at home get the recognition (and motivation) they deserve.

Foster team camaraderie

So, imagine you’re a brand new SDR, trying to prove yourself, trying to hit your numbers and hone your technique…

Without experienced SDRs sitting right next to you to help.

“We miss out on the camaraderie and the knowledge sharing,” Nimit said. “I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for all of our new people.”

Nimit is exploring ways to maintain that team closeness that is so essential for newer recruits. He wants the learning opportunities that would happen in the course of the day in the office to continue to occur remotely.

  • Leverage digital sales coaching
  • Create a Skype or Slack channel that’s devoted to content
  • Assign a webinar for a group of SDRs to watch

“All the most well-known sales trainers are putting on free webinars,” Nimit said. “Have them listen and then report back on what they found, what their insights were, and how they can implement that in their game.”

Use all the technology

Nimit pointed out that if you haven’t implemented some type of call coaching software, immediately go get some.

And if you already are, well, maximize your use of all its features. 

Not only does he capture the calls, he also shares them throughout the organization and allows multiple contributors to comment — turning the call collection into a master library of standards.

Recognizing that SDRs are searching for the perfect way to bring up current topics and weave the current climate into their messaging. 

“It’s just the best way to just share knowledge, share content, and keep everybody collaborative,” he said.

Other than Slack, Zoom, and call coaching, technology that Nimit’s company has been using a lot lately is… DoorDash.

“Salespeople are still very competitive,” Nimit said. Winners of competitions get lunch delivered to their house.

Give more shout outs & recognition

Typically salespeople are younger people, and something Millennials care about immensely is peer recognition.

“We’ve gotten our leadership team way more involved in doing shout outs,” Nimit said. “People love seeing that recognition from cofounders.”

Nimit also suggested gamification, allowing everyone to see everyone’s numbers the way they would in an office. Using Hoopla, they track the “hustle metric,” which is a formula of dials, conversations, and meetings booked.

“We calculate our top hustlers of the day, and we send that out every single day for the whole company,” he said.

Sales ops made the hustle board virtual, so now there can be office-to-office competitions as well as top hustlers per office.

“You have to keep that up during these times.”

Reach out to Nimit on LinkedIn to continue this conversation about managing distributed teams.

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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