Are Your Sales Managers A 1950's Pit Crew?
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Are Your Sales Managers A 1950's Pit Crew?

I love this video, and the story it tells about the impact of technology - It's ability to transform performance and render what once appeared ground breaking and modern outdated and obsolete. The video compares a 1950's Indy 500 pit stop with a F1 pit stop from 2013.

Take a look at the pit crew frantically hammering at the bolts on the wheel hub, or the guy just out of shot using his whole body weight on the jack at the front of the car for a tyre change:

But what the video doesn't also show is the raft of wider technological innovations in F1, most notably the collection and analysis of a huge amount of telemetry. Data that gives F1 teams the ability to make split second strategic decisions that shave off fractions of a second, minute by minute, lap by lap.

The connection with sales coaching is pretty obvious here. Sales managers often find themselves in a similar situation to the 1950's pit crew - aware of the need to improve performance but drawing on a mix of instinct, experience, and a little bit of luck - with not a lot of insights.

The reality is that technology and methods of working have evolved significantly in the last few years, allowing insights to be surfaced from sales conversations that might have historically gone completely unnoticed - in all likelihood because a sales leader didn't have eyes or ears on a conversation.

I sat down with one of Refract's Business Development Managers (BDM) Stuart Taylor to explore his two favourite pieces of 'sales telemetry' that Refract brings to life:

What are your go-to pieces of Refract 'sales telemetry'?

It's hard to say exactly because I think every insight that we provide definitely has value. And when I've got time I do tend to look at all of them.

Firstly I'm always drawn to talk time. The percentage of time I speak for as opposed to the prospect. Secondly I'm drawn to the number of questions that I've asked in a conversation. The reasons for that are typically because the patterns in the data tend to predict a quality conversation in my opinion. I find the less I talk and the more I get the prospect talking generally the higher quality the conversation I have. Especially where I'm finding more information, getting the prospect talking, and finding out about their wants and needs.

Similarly with the number of questions, the more questions I ask (combined with the talk time) generally the higher the quality of the conversation. So when I tend to run reports on myself I aim to track my progress in this area in particular, I'm looking for those metrics. And as a result my performance has increased over the last few months since I've started in the BDM role. The more time I get the prospect speaking, generally the better the outcome.

Can you give a specific example of a time when your performance has improved as a result of Refract data?

Yeah, there are many different specific examples of when I've used and it's had a noticeable improvement, but in reality I use the platform continuously. I'm relatively new to this role, probably six months or so as a BDM here at Refract. And I use the data, coupled with coaching, to compare myself to my peers to see how I'm doing relative to the top performers here at Refract.

What I've noticed is as I've become closer (and sometimes overtaken) the top performers at Refract in terms of talk time and number of questions, my sales results have improved.

I think anything that gets tracked and monitored becomes front and centre of your thinking. And once you start to track and monitor you're then aware of it and it almost helps me to ask consultative questions. Conversely sometimes just helping me realise I need to just to shut up when I'm on a sales conversation. Just to be quiet after a prospect speaks, and this is really key. When I'm quiet for a couple of seconds after a prospect speaks, and I've become comfortable with silence, this encourages the prospect to talk more. And this is sometimes when you get that real golden information from the prospect that they all know and he wouldn't have given away. 

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