SalesTech Star

Tips to Transform Sales Reps Into Top Performers: A QnA With Ryan Vaillancourt, Sr. Director, North America Sales at ringDNA

Ryan Vaillancourt, Sr. Director, North America Sales., ringDNA. shares his thoughts on improving sales performance  and processes in this chat with SalesTechStar:

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Tell us a little about yourself Ryan; how has working through a global pandemic been for you and your team?

I lead the North America sales team at ringDNA. We’re really fortunate in that we provide a platform that is business critical to so many companies, and we take seriously our responsibility and opportunity to help our peers in sales.

Working through the pandemic actually has lots of benefits. My team is spending more quality time with their families, and count me among the people who don’t miss being in the car every day. But of course, we also miss being together in person and look forward to when we can do that safely.

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Driving better sales/marketing outcomes (despite a pandemic) falls a lot on how sales leaders train, upskill and lead teams, what are some best practices that you feel every middle level to senior level leader should follow in today’s remote-first business environment?

 The most important shift a sales leadership group can make right now is toward providing reps with a smart, well-oiled process to execute. Ask yourself this – if you’re a rep at your own company, and you sit down at the computer with a cup of coffee to start your day, is it extremely obvious what you should do? Who you should call, and what you should discuss? If not, start there. The reason they’re inefficient and missing their number is because they spend too much time trying to create a smart process (and even excellent sales reps are often unqualified to create processes). Create their daily experience by investing in smart automation and your reps will be more productive and more effective.

How are you seeing top industry tech leaders transform their overall sales processes and training during this time?

 The key challenge, and this was true before COVID, but magnified now, is how to make your sales training sticky. It doesn’t matter whether the training happens in person, which is preferable, or via video. What matters is whether reps retain the information. And that’s where technology comes in. At ringDNA, we’re interested in using AI to identify conversational habits that drive positive results, and then automating process change to provide AI-assisted coaching in real-time. For example, many great sales trainers teach powerful listening techniques. That’s great – but your manager and trainer can’t be on every sales call. With AI, a trainer could teach a digital assistant to monitor whether a rep is dominating a call, and if so, give them a gentle nudge to ultimately shut up and listen.

 What are some of the ways leaders can use this (still in many ways) ongoing downtime to train sales reps to do better and turn into top performers? What are some of the top sales technologies you feel sales reps should be armed with?

 The most important tool is a dialer that’s well-integrated with Salesforce/CRM. If there’s down-time, there’s no better way to spend it than picking up the phone – but in 2020/2021, no business should be paying reps to log data to CRM. Second, if you don’t have even a basic call coaching program, that’s crucial. Tools like ringDNA can record sales calls and automatically surface coachable moments.

What are some of your own views / predictions on the 2021 state of sales and marketing in tech? A quick summary?

 The last 10 years have seen an explosion of sales tools. In some ways that’s good. We’re getting more innovation, and competition brings price down, too. But, it’s also leading to confusion and complicated sales tech stacks that are ironically slowing sales reps down.

There are two shifts afoot –

1. Businesses are going to emphasize tool consolidation.

2. Businesses that are behind in digital transformation are going to attempt to make years’ worth of progress in one – the ones that have consolidation and simplicity in mind will be successful.

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Any other parting thoughts for us before we wrap up on remote collaboration, work-life-sales balance?

It should be important to know which reps/teammates are working too much, and not taking enough time off. It’s leadership’s mandate to monitor this, and require that the overachievers take mental health time off!

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