Our Interview with Gryphon’s Sales Development Team.
There is a lot of confusion in the market concerning what Sales Intelligence really is. A quick Google search on the definition of Sales Intelligence will return 2,730,000 results.
In the business world, the smartest companies find and apply every advantage possible to gain a competitive edge and grow revenue. Whether your sales team is your greatest asset or liability depends greatly on your company’s commitment to driving consistent sales behavior, setting benchmarks and working towards continuous improvement. This can only be accomplished with a clear understanding of what behavior makes a great rep successful, and data to allow you to replicate that behavior and lead others to that standard. This is precisely what Sales Intelligence is:
“Using the activity data of your sales organization and applying it to support decisions that managers need to make; not only to maintain their business, but also to grow it and continually improve on its effectiveness.”
For this article, we sat down with our own sales development team: Dan Dougherty, Matt Tise, and Jack Rowland to provide you with an unfiltered account of their daily activities and use of Gryphon’s Sales Intelligence System.
A Sales Rep’s Perspective
- Prior to using the Gryphon Sales Performance Dashboard, how were you expected to keep track of your activity? How long were you using that method?
Dan Dougherty: I had an internship with a company. We used a CRM system, it was all manual—I had to log every single call. Every time I had to submit a report I had to submit an email at the end of the day with all of my activity—the number of emails, number of calls, who I emailed, who I called, and what the results of those calls were. Everybody did. I had to send these EOD reports, and my job for the last hour of every day was to compile all these contacts. They have 3,000 salespeople, emailing them to their regional manager. It wasn’t efficient.
Matt Tise: That sounds like the worst system I’ve heard in my life! I wasn’t cold calling before. I did face-to-face sales. So, I never had to experience that. But there was no tracking of any kind. We didn’t have a CRM.
- Out of the information that was reported on, how much of it did you find to be accurate? What kind of problems did that create for you?
DD: It leaves it up to a human error. I’d send out 50 emails a day and call 30 people a day, but I had to track all of that myself.
MT: As a manager, since I had no CRM, I had no visibility into accounts or potential targets. I had four sales reps at my branch and had to meet with each of them weekly to see where they were with each account. This led to misinformation and gave no analytical data to back up what was being said. All the information was based on their beliefs, not actual data.
- What is the value of having the kind of information provided by sales intelligence and a sales performance dashboard?
DD: I know exactly where I am at every point of the day. So, if it is 2 o’clock and I already have X calls towards my goal, I know I need to step it up with the next four or five calls.
Jack Rowland: When you are part of a team and you are either a couple appointments behind or a couple calls behind, if the team is competitive, you are going to push to catch up or get ahead.
- How do you use the Gryphon Sales Performance Dashboard throughout the day? For example, do you check it first thing in the morning, does your manager check it? Do you use it throughout the day to monitor yourself?
MT: I constantly check it to see where I’m at. To see where I’m at for appointments for the week, month, quarter. The number of calls it’s taken, call time—everything.
DD: I probably check it once an hour. Just as a general health checkup. If an SDR has no meetings for one particular morning, they can just crank out a bunch of calls.
JR: Another thing that is nice is that—let’s say yesterday I had a conversation with someone and I have another call set up with them for today—and I don’t remember everything that was said. I can go to my call log and listen to that call word-for-word, so I can jump back on before a discovery call or a bigger meeting and listen to the whole conversation we had to get a full recap and be ready to talk to them. It’s definitely saved me a couple of times.
MT: Going back to what Dan said, if you have a busy day—If I have a busy morning I know where I need to be before a certain time for a certain number of calls. After a busy morning I can check and go alright, I’m this number of calls away from where I need to be or where I usually am.
- How has Gryphon’s Sales Performance Dashboard affected your day-to-day operations?
DD: I know that from nine o’clock in the morning to around 11:30 am I’m just going to be on the phone. And then from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm I’m going to focus my time on other things that maximize whatever I need to maximize. Whether that be emails, or InMail’s, or doing research or a particular company.
MT: Not only that, it’s all transparent. Your manager can’t say hey, you’re not making calls. You have a foolproof “Hey, I’m making my calls, I’m getting appointments”—there’s complete transparency between you, your manager, and where you need to be. There’s nothing hidden. Your manager knows where to find your statistics, you know where you are with your statistics and you know where you need to improve your statistics before your manager needs to talk to you.
JR: From a more managerial perspective, the system is not supposed to be a Big Brother thing, but sometimes it needs to be. We had a guy here who would just call the same people again and again. And obviously it gets the numbers up, but nothing happens. It’s obvious when that happens in the system—you just see the same numbers popping back up.
- Branching off that, what do you think are the metrics that a sales manager should have in order to effectively coach reps and help them better utilize the system?
JR: Talk time, number of calls, number of appointments.
MT: I’d say the number of appointments, talk time, but the contact-to-appointment ratio is bigger than the calls-to-appointment ratio. If you’re making a lot of contacts and getting no appointments, obviously there is something wrong with your pitch. But if you’re making a lot of calls you just might not be getting through to people so it’s a little different. It gives you a training aspect of why are you talking to so many people and getting no appointments? Let’s fix whatever the problem is.
- How do you as reps feel about it? Do you feel that it fuels healthy competition? Is it easy to use? How do you think it has helped your performance or motivated you?
MT: I think so. Dan and I are always, in the back of our heads, competing against each other for appointments. And we cheer each other on, but obviously, there’s a little bit of competition. You just pop that dashboard up to see where you are—you don’t need to dive deep into anything, it’s a 10-second check into where you need to be.
DD: Like Matt said, if he has two appointments and I have none, I know that I need to step my game up. Naturally, that means making more calls because you aren’t going to set appointments without making calls. Because emails just aren’t the same in my opinion. When I get somebody on the phone I know my chance of setting an appointment is almost 100% higher—98% higher than if I’m sending an email. Generally, I know what I need to know because I have access to something that tells me everything that I need to know about my data.
- As an SDR, are there any challenges you have come across, and how did you deal with it? How do you deal with rejection?
MT: People hate us! I talk about it all the time—you basically have to call someone with the idea that they hate you right away and you have to get them to like you. Because nobody likes someone cold calling them. That’s the challenge you have to overcome every time. Nobody wants to talk to you, nobody wants to hear what you have to say.
DD: Yes, you always have to get somebody to like you. But I think getting somebody on the phone is more difficult than getting them to like you. If you know their tone and their personality, and everything that they’re conveying, then there’s a higher likelihood that they are more receptive.
MT: I agree with that. Getting someone on the phone is harder—it’s a two-step process. You face both challenges. Not only getting someone on the phone, finding when the right time to call someone is but also during that call getting them to like you. You’re swimming against the current during the whole process of the call, where you’re battling every which way. That’s why when you take someone who is nice to you or even respectfully declines, you appreciate it more.
- What are some of the most important lessons in terms of communication and organization you have learned so far as an SDR?
DD: From a call-recording perspective, I go back, and I listen to my calls that went well and the calls that didn’t go well, and have been able to identify certain things that I’ve said—whether it be the actual words and phrases I use or the way that I’ve come off over the phone.
JR: I used to always say “um.” If you listen to a call, you’ll notice it. If you are just talking and thinking over the phone quickly, you might not realize you say a certain word—“like” or “um”—words and sayings you do pick up on a call recording that you might notice otherwise.
MT: There are lessons in every call you take. Every call, every conversation I have with someone, there’s always something I pick up on. It’s not just listening to a conversation, it’s talking to someone—realizing what you could have done better, what you’re doing to get better.