How to manage a sales team with Close.io

by Ramin Assemi

This is a guest post from Nick Persico. He was one of the first people to use Close.io, and has been helping teams get the most out of it ever since. He’s now Head of Growth at Close.io. This post is intended for sales managers that are using Close.io. If you are an SDR or AE at a company that uses Close.io, here’s an earlier post with some tips for you.

As a sales manager, your success is most often measured in revenue or customer growth. It’s on you to put together a team, get them to perform consistently, and generate predictable results. Generating predictable results is difficult in sales because the entire process relies on various human beings doing their jobs.

The sellers need to sell and the buyers need to buy.

For someone that’s supposed to be in charge of these transactions, there’s an awful lot that you don’t really control. The members of your sales team have to show up each day and hustle, and it’s on you to create an environment where it’s easy for them to do that.

You’ve created a sales process, and the team needs to follow it. But to a salesperson, “process” often means friction. Luckily, Close.io is there to reduce the amount of friction. This post will help you unlock a new level of sales productivity your team hasn’t experienced before by showing you how to manage your sales team with Close.io.

After using their inside sales CRM everyday for almost four years and managing dozens of sales reps, here are five of my pro tips on how to get organized, save time, and dramatically increase your outreach.

Cut large lead lists into slices called “Lead Buckets”

In longer sales cycles, the feeling of accomplishment a salesperson gets when they close a deal is too infrequent. They need to feel that sense of accomplishment every day if possible.

A way to do that is create and assign them Smart Views that can be called or contacted in a single sitting. Close.io has recently released new search functionality that allows you to create “buckets” of leads. By using the new search keywords like slice: 1/3 and limit: 100, you can assign parts of a lead list to different members of your team.

By utilizing these search keywords, you’ve now made it really easy to:

  1. Assign buckets of leads to individual salespeople.
  2. Allow your team to build outreach lists that can be knocked out in a single sitting.
  3. Review the performance of different buckets to measure the effectiveness of each salesperson with a given set of leads.
  4. Easily A/B test different pitches or email templates to the same lead source.

Let’s say you want to create a Smart View that contains leads you got from Yelp and you want two separate salespeople to use two different call scripts. Here’s a search query to save as a Smart View:

  • List 1: custom.Lead Source:"Yelp" slice: 1/2 and not called:today
  • List 2: custom.Lead Source:"Yelp" slice: 1/2 and not called:today

By adding “not called:today” to the query, the salesperson knows you expect them to just keep calling until the number of leads in the Smart View is zero! Mission accomplished for the day.

Instead of having hundreds of leads from Yelp, you now have random buckets of 50 or 100 Yelp leads that you can conduct trackable tests with. Also, you avoid the mess of having multiple salespeople calling out of the same endless set of leads. To limit the number of leads in a Smart View, add the search keyword `limit: 100`.

For example, just imagine the performance tracking reports you can create with this method:

In this example, it’s easy to see that Sally had a better success rate than Erica. But was it because Sally’s script was better? The next test would be to swap the scripts between Sally and Erica and see what the outcome is.

Screen Shot 2017-02-06 at 3.23.06 PM.png

Maintain a live document of lead status, opportunity status, and custom field definitions

The effectiveness of your sales process can only be determined by tracking the results of each step. As you improve and evolve your sales process, the complexity of what’s being tracked in your CRM will grow and create confusion.

It’s important to maintain a live document or spreadsheet that reminds your team what each status or custom field means. For example, you should document the definitions of:

  • Lead statuses
  • Opportunity statuses
  • Custom fields
  • Special lead notes
  • Special opportunity notes

In addition to the definitions, indicate if they are currently active or depreciated and if the fields are updated by the team or happen automatically. You should also include how to query them in Close.io.

Here’s an example portion of the document that defines lead statuses at Smart Host:

sales-manager-status-defintions.png

It doesn't need to be fancy but you'll get the most value out of it by updating it regularly.

Use tasks to communicate about leads internally

Tasks in Close.io are most often used by your team to remind themselves to do something with a specific lead, contact, or opportunity. You should be training your team to use tasks to communicate or ask for help within the team.

If your salespeople assign you tasks like “Review this demo call and provide feedback”, or “Send the opportunity contact a email”, it will be much easier to keep all the context within your CRM.

You, the sales manager, should also do the same. When I am reviewing performance in Close.io, I’ll often assign tasks to salespeople working on those deals to answer questions I have or provide them feedback:

sales-manager-communication.png

This type of behavior can also be a huge timesaver for existing customers. If there is something the support or account management team needs to handle, your sales team can just assign a task to them in Close.io. Once the task is complete, they can assign it back to the salesperson to let them know.

Create a Smart View that exposes any leads that haven’t been followed up with

Your team needs to be aware that you are always there to back them up when things fall through the cracks. It happens. By creating a Smart View that looks for the leads that have fallen through the cracks, you can help your reps to become more successful—which is what managing a sales team is all about.

For example, here’s a Smart Views that looks for any leads where there is an active opportunity and we haven’t communicated with them in 14 days:

opportunity_status_type:active last_communication_date > "14 days ago"

By checking this Smart View every day, you can assign your sales team tasks to make sure leads are being followed up with.

Use Slack? Automatically recognize salespeople for success in Slack with Zapier

By using Zapier to send newly created opportunities and won deals to Slack, you can communicate and celebrate someone’s success automatically.

For example, here’s what it looks in our sales Slack channel when we close a deal at Smart Host:

celebrate-reps-success.png

Here’s what the formatting syntax in Zapier looks like:

sales-manager-automate-task.png

By using Zapier and Slack, you can easily and automatically praise a team member for their hard work when it pays off. It’ll create some friendly competition around the office and the other departments can congratulate their colleagues on a job well done.

As always, lead by example

Your sales team’s discipline in achieving a high level of productivity depends on your leadership. Your team is going to emulate how you conduct yourself within Close.io.

Be disciplined by making sure all of your leads are marked with the correct lead and opportunity statuses. Have your Close.io Inbox be as close to zero as possible. Make a point to check your Smart Views at least once a week.

If you do these things, it will rub off on them. Always keep in mind that you are the standard bearer.

Log in now and start managing your sales team more effectively.

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Bonus tip: Send daily email activity reports to your team

sales-manager-free-daily-reports-min.png

By using this free open source Python script, you can send daily activity email reports to remind your team what was accomplished today. This type of report makes it easy for you to see who was on or off their game, and helps your salespeople keep up the hustle.

Recommended reading:

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