SalesTech Star

SalesTechStar Interview with Tim Mann, Director of Sales at Blueboard

Tim Mann, Director of Sales at Blueboard chats about the importance of having sales teams focus more on the ”basics” as they navigate sales challenges in 2023:


Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Tim, tell us about yourself and more about your sales journey through the years…. what’s a typical day at work like as Director of Sales at Blueboard? 

Thanks for having me! As Director of Sales at Blueboard I lead our new business team which consists of our AE’s and our SDR function (inbound and outbound). I’m a morning person—or depending on what time you consider morning, as my wife would say, a middle of the night person.

Early mornings, before the busyness of the day starts, I like to work on any creative projects I have, review and interpret reports, and/or listen to reps’ Gong calls. This is the time of day that my mind feels the most clear so I take advantage of it to focus on high value work. It can be hard to find the time during the normal work day, and it’s something that I think is important for rep development and for me to stay close to what we’re hearing in the market.

With two little boys, I structure my day so I can knock some things out early in the morning, but then still have time to eat breakfast with my kids and walk them to school every morning. Workouts and morning walks with my kids are my non-negotiables to keep me balanced.

Once I get into the core of the work day, my day generally consists of four main activities:

  • Forecasts with AEs
  • 1:1’s with my reps—coaching calls focused on rep development
  • Joining calls with AEs to help on deals as needed (large group demos, negotiations with senior leaders, etc.)
  • Internal strategy and planning calls

As a sales leader, what are some of the core fundamentals that you feel should be part of every internal sales process: somethings you see B2B teams / tech sales teams not do enough of?

  • Focus on the basics. Too often, we get lost in the tech stack and all of the tools and ways to optimize this and that. Don’t get me wrong—the tools are essential and can be incredibly impactful—but we can get lost in them. We need to remember that without the skilled person behind the tools, the tools can’t be effective.
  • From a leadership perspective, tools can give you data but don’t forget there is a person behind that data. We can’t just coach to the stats. Focus on the person behind the stats and know what is motivating and challenging to them as an individual.
  • For reps, it’s about controlling the things they can control:
    • Preparation for every meeting, from first to last.
    • For me, deals are often won and lost in discovery. It’s important to ask really good questions to understand the prospect—not just at the beginning of the initial call, but throughout, and then in every call thereafter. Always confirm from the last conversation, always understand what’s changed, and always be learning about the prospect and their business.
    • Responsiveness to prospects—don’t make it hard to buy from you.
    • Show up, prepared and genuinely curious, to every conversation. Behind every deal there are at least several people involved, each of whom may care about slightly different things for different reasons. Curiosity over assumptions.

Read More: How to Create A Seamless Workflow Experience To Expedite The Sales Process

How can sales leaders today drive a better incentive program that helps motivate their teams to drive more business output and revenue?

When you look across your team, everyone is motivated differently. Everyone is at a different place in their life and has different passions, interests, and dreams. When designing an incentive program, that needs to be taken into consideration. We need to marry the business needs (behaviors we need to drive) with the needs of the individual rep.

  • A few key components to consider:
    • What is the behavior you need to drive?
    • How will you know the behavior is changing? (Think: things you can observe.)
    • Is this behavior change measurable?

Based on those elements:

  • Clearly communicate the incentive program—make it a big deal!
  • Don’t set it and forget about it. Share in weekly team meetings and consistently reinforce it to drive friendly competition and teamwork.
  • Make sure the reward is something that people will go above and beyond for and/or will reinforce the behavior that you need done. For this to happen, the reward needs to be personal to that employee. Experiences are what we have found to be the most motivating. Giving reps the power to choose something personal to them, being able to include family and friends, and lastly—having a concierge do all the logistical work for them—now that’s motivating!

What are some top of mind thoughts you’d like to discuss regarding the future of sales?

Right now, we are seeing a need for teams to double down on the basics of selling. Over the last few years, we were able to get by on “ok” selling. Given the economic climate, that is no longer the case. The best reps will stand out more and more over the next year and into the future.

Who are these top reps? Reps that focus on truly understanding prospects and prioritizing accounts with real problems they can solve. Reps who are always learning and growing by asking for coaching, being coachable, building a network inside and outside of their company, and consistently working on their craft.

We shouldn’t plan on it getting easier to sell. We should plan on it being harder and the best reps will be the ones who take that challenge head on and are motivated by it.

Lastly, the future of sales will require new and improved leaders. These leaders are people who truly coach, who focus on developing their reps, are resilient themselves and in turn build resilient teams, and who nurture a winning sales culture that is inclusive of the entire company. Never winning alone. Never losing alone.

A few dominant features/trends that will dominate the B2B tech ecosystem through 2023?

Rep development tools, such as Gong and Orum, will continue to be indispensable to sales teams. Every rep has different strengths and areas of opportunities as they move through the sales process. By leveraging call recording tools, leaders can really hone in to reinforce areas where reps are thriving and coach reps where they are falling behind. These tools are also super valuable from a rep-to-rep perspective. As a leader, I encourage sellers to share with each other and learn from each other as much as they can—and these tools allow for that along with more efficient onboarding. Running a once-a-quarter/year training isn’t enough for sellers. These tools allow for consistent feedback to drive real behavior change.

More sales teams will leverage intent data to focus on the right accounts in 2023. Tools like 6Sense are going to help sales teams further move away from spray and pray tactics and instead focus on the right accounts and the right time.

Communities for reps/sales leaders will be a source of growth, connection, and inspiration. I personally enjoy and learn a lot from communities like Pavilion. I’m seeing more and more of these pop up and I think we may see fewer over time, but with higher quality interactions and a bigger community.

Incentives will need to move beyond the status quo in 2023. With all of the changes happening in the market and so many reps below goal, sales leaders are rethinking their incentive strategies. Leaders are getting laser-focused on the behaviors, products, and motions that are driving sales right now and making sure that those things have the right incentives behind them.

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Blueboard is an employee rewards and recognition platform for the modern workplace.

Tim Mann, is Director of Sales at Blueboard.

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