Transcript of an in-flight conversation with a sales leader on the move:
Dave Brown, Vice President of Inside Sales, Fleetmatics
Q: When you’re looking for analytics partners, what are you looking for and who would be the best choice to help you move things forward?
A: Well in today’s market, it’s very difficult to manage a team. You have to be looking at 100 different dials not dissimilar to this airplane. And one of the things we get from Valgen is fast response and immediacy. That’s really the key.
Q: What do you think of knowledge of other tools that you work with currently like Salesforce, how much does that matter to you in terms of the analytics talent?
A: Our tools like Salesforce, our interface with the phone systems, that’s critical in an inside sales organization. Over 95% of our inside sales is started and driven from an inside sales perspective, and that’s being driven by data. So being able to partner with somebody that understands that environment and can react quickly is really key to us.
Q: When you talk about data and analytics, how much is trust important to you? How do you evaluate trust in a partner so that what they are providing you is in the right direction?
A: The thing with any of the data … it’s feeding the beast. When you are a large sales organization like we are, you’re always going to have noise, and you’ll always have individuals that say “hey, look, you know, the data is wrong, the data is bad.” And it’s never going to be 100% perfect. That’s why you have to be able to trust your team, you have to be able to trust your partners like Valgen, for example, to be able to get you through those bumps and hiccups.
And there’s so many distractions that can take us off our path that we need to be on. Trust is critical, and to be able to work with somebody that’s been doing that not just for our company but many companies, and can bring that valuable knowledge to the table (is important).
Q: How do you get this information out to your teams? And what do you tell them about how much they need to believe it, how they need to work with it, and when they need to challenge it?
A: Hey, I’m telling you, it’s always a battle. You’ve got a lot of guys that are pretty old school sometimes, and the recency factor is the most scary thing. If they do a cold call out of a phone book, something that is off Salesforce, sometimes they’ll get a hit. Statistics are what they are. They’ll get a good deal going. Which is great. We love it, we encourage going outside and finding outside sources.
In terms of the actual number overall, if you really look statistically, like staying within the data, and being able to use the scored leads, that’s really in the long run going to be the best payoff. That’s going to give them the odds of success that they need.
So we try to explain that as much as possible. But you’ll every once in a while you’ll see someone go a little rogue, and they want to try something different. And quite frankly, we’ll discover some new sources. But, now we need to get them into Salesforce to be able to manage that.
That’s why it’s critical to have a partnership between Salesforce, between Valgen, between our marketing teams and the sales team, all working together, to be able to keep that intact.
Q: You bring up a great point there, which is alignment with a lot of groups other than sales. What do you see that Valgen does that helps with alignment between sales and marketing and other teams?
A: Absolutely. One of the great things is you’re working with a lot of other companies that work in Salesforce. So bring able to bring that perspective to us, and being able to say this is something that may work for us, that’s critical. Because we don’t know what we don’t know.
Concluding thoughts on sales leadership:
Sales management is probably one of the toughest jobs in the world. And today, the sales manager has to not only be a good people person, but he has to be able to run the instruments very similar to this airplane. You’ve got your key instruments, your key dashboard, but you got a lot of other data being thrown at you. And you can very easily get distracted.
I’m sitting here about eighteen hundred feet up in the air with Parth Srinivasa of Valgen, and they’ve been doing a lot of data management and keeping us on track and focused for the last five years. We have a beautiful shot of Chicago here, but I’ll tell you, if we didn’t trust in our data, and our materials and information systems right now, there could be a very ugly problem right on the horizon.
And also, it’s great to be able to do visual flying, but if we get a storm or anything bouncing up, instruments are going to be critical to us.
And that’s how we got to be successful. So when you’re thinking about sales management, think about using your instruments, balancing out your gut, as well as insuring you’re a people person. And if you can combine those three, you’re destined for success!