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Managers Matter: Impactful Front-Line Manager Metrics – Soirée, San Francisco

| 41 min read


Sharon Little: Thank you, folks. Welcome to this very important session. We’ll do a little bit deeper dive and introductions just in a second, but I wanted to kind of put a theory out there for all of you as we get started. How many of you believe, and I believe this, that first-line management is potentially the most impactful form of enablement that you can do at your company? How many of you have active programs right now? Okay, so that tells a story, and we’ll talk about that a little bit more today. Let’s go ahead and continue with panel introductions. As you see, we’ve separated men and women. I don’t know why, but let’s start on the end. Patrick?

Patrick Buckley: Sure. My name’s Patrick Buckley. I run global sales development for Twillio. Twillio helps companies like Airbnb and Uber create amazing customer engagement scenarios with our communication APIs.

Matt McLendon: Matt McLendon with DSG, and we help clients turn their big ideas into results and do a lot of work with sales management programs.

Patrick Merritt: The other Patrick on the panel. I’m Patrick Merritt. I’m with Sumo Logic. I’m the worldwide director of sales enablement for Sumo Logic.

Shadi Bucklin: And I’m Shadi Bucklin, I oversee sales enablement at Zenefits, and Zenefits is an HR and payroll software. We’ve worked with companies that have less than 1000 employees, so it’s kind of like the Workday for SMB, and it’s a mobile solution as well. We have about 11,000 customers.

Emily Fitzpatrick: And I’m Emily Fitzpatrick. I do revenue enablement for Showpad, and Showpad is a sales enablement platform. So, I do sales enablement at a sales enablement company, very meta, and Showpad is the most flexible and complete sales enablement platform. So, we combine content management, training, coaching and testing, as well as meeting intelligence all in one platform so your sellers have that one experience. You can check us out in the expo hallway.

SL: And just quickly, as I mentioned in the introduction, I joined Amplitude, a start-up here in the city. Previously I was with Rubrik, spent some time as an analyst at SiriusDecisions, and also worked at VMWare. I truly, truly love this work that we all do.

Let’s jump in with just kind of finding out a little bit about the programs that these folks have in place. Why don’t we start here with Shadi.

SB: Yeah. For Zenefits, when I came on board, we were working a lot on onboarding certifications, a lot of those things, but we didn’t have a manager enablement program in place. So, that’s one of the things that we’ve been really working closely with all of our managers. And I’ve been driving that myself, working closely with all our regional leaders, looking at what metrics do we want to hold our managers accountable to?

And for us, we’re at pretty like velocity sales cycle. Things pretty much close in less than 30 days. So, one of the things that we track and we ensure our managers track for their reps, that reps that report to them is, what’s that sales cycle from when you have a qualified opportunity to the time that they’ve closed it. How quickly are they converting those and what percentage of those in their pipeline is converting? So, that’s one of the things that we are measuring. We’re doing a lot of coaching with that. We’re actually coaching our managers to be better coaches to their teams to help them in those areas. So, really that sales cycle and the velocity, that’s one of the things that we’re measuring.

SL: Awesome. And I’m curious too, if you’re delivering enablement at an enablement company, is it any easier than if you’re not at an enablement company? Emily, could you share your program at Showpad?

EF: Yeah, absolutely. It’s not easier. That’s the secret. The program that we have at Showpad really is about moving from just a philosophy of just telling the managers first to actually enabling them on the different skill sets that are required for rolling out a new process methodology, release, things like that. So, what we really focus on is if we take, let’s say for example, we’re just doing a new messaging refresh at our company, right?

We roll out the new messaging, we walk the managers through it. They have helped us build it, right? They partner with the marketing team, but also starting to identify what are the competencies that they need to be aware of for sellers to be able to deliver this messaging in a good way? What things should they be looking for in coaching situations? And then also coaching the managers.

So, in a previous life, I was in L&D and I just did manager development and leadership training, and I became a professionally certified coach. Actually coaching the managers so they are receiving good coaching. If you want to change behavior, the best way to do it is to have them experience something. So, if they experience good coaching, they themselves then know how to coach their reps well. That’s really what we look at there is kind of adding on the competencies of good leadership to our enablement activities.

SL: Yeah. I typically will talk about the first-line managers at the companies that I work for, almost that they have an enablement responsibility, right? It’s part of their job. And sometimes I’ll couch it as big-league enablement, which is everybody in this room and little league enablement. It’s different, right? What it is that they’re doing. When I talked to folks in those roles, a lot of times what they’ll say is, “I just want to show them what to do. I just want to do it for them.” And it’s not effective. So, one of the first things that you need to do when you’re looking at first-line manager training around enablement is to teach them how to be a coach, how to be a facilitator, to teach them to fish rather than give them the fish. Comments on that from the panel?

PB: I actually will hop in there. I think that’s the most important thing. I think it’s very easy, especially when someone has a lot of experience, to come in and think they know what to do. They want to jump in on deals and just go for it. But you really have to help managers discover the experience and discover the process. I think that one it’s just to ensure that they’re learning through that process, but it’s also about building confidence that they can figure out these challenges on their own.

So, it is that teaching them how to fish because otherwise, you’re just going to have these managers continuously coming up to you and asking questions, and they’re not really learning. They’re just leaning on you as a manager, as a director, whomever, to answer it for them. And that’s really not the point, right? You want to educate them so that they can then do the same thing for their reps as well.

That’s something that I picked up on from being a frontline manager in feedback that I got from our internal surveys is, that was the number one thing. You don’t answer it for me. You always ask this question of what do you think? And it’s gotten to a point where it’s kind of a joke internally. Anytime one of my managers asked me a question and I go, “well,” and they go, “ah, I know what you’re going to ask.” And I go, “great, so let’s walk through that.” They actually appreciate it, though sometimes they get annoyed from it, it is actually teaching them how to do their jobs. So, I think that’s the most important thing.

PM: Yeah. Just to tee off of that, I think the two words are really key here. It’s the “what” versus the “how”. So often we get stuck into telling them what to do and not how to do it. And it’s really the how that’s so important. I have a soapbox about sales methodologies, but so many sales methodologies are all about the what: this is what you do. And it doesn’t really get to the how and you’ve got to focus on that how. Really simple things like, every time I review with you, I’m going to ask you these two questions. So, just know you’re going to be prepared, right? You’re going to come in that, probably roll your eyes, but you know that question is coming. You get that thought process going and that helps you stay in that “how” phrase versus the “what.”

PB: Yeah. It really just gets them thinking.

PM: Yeah, absolutely right.

PB: So, when they come to you, they’re already thinking through that process of what their options are. And I think that’s ultimately what you want. Being able to hear how they thought through that process gives you the opportunity to then throw questions of, have you thought of this? Have you thought of that? What about this? What about that? Oh, I haven’t heard of that, or I didn’t think about that. Okay, what would I do? Right? That discovery process is really what helps that light bulb turn on and for them to come to you and say, “well, you have enabled me to be successful”. And now that when I find myself in another situation, I know how to handle that situation. That’s really equipping them to be successful in their role because there are so many times where you’re going to get a curve-ball, you don’t know what’s going to happen or you don’t know the scenario. And you’re not always there as a leader to build a guidance or that. So, you want to make sure that they have the confidence built to make that decision one way or another.

SL: So often with any enablement program, finding someone who’s really an advocate that’s already doing the job is a big part of selling it to the rest of the team. I’m curious if any of you have had sales leaders that you’ve worked with in the past that just really got it when it came to being a strong first-line manager and embracing enablement as part of a best practice for them? And if you could maybe share one or two of those stories.

EF: Yeah, I can share one. This was actually at my previous company and it was funny how it came about. The company I was at prior to Showpad was a recruitment company. It was a very traditional English company, very old school way of doing business. And the sales manager that comes to mind was homegrown talent, right? He got the job right out of college, became really successful. This is a common story for sales leaders, right? He did well as a seller, somebody tapped him on the shoulder and said, “kid, it’s time to be a manager”. They came then through to be a manager and there was a lot of pride involved for him, of not wanting to ask for help. He didn’t see himself as someone who was failing, that wasn’t a comfortable spot for him. He didn’t see himself as a struggler, he was a top biller. He was a top performer. He’d been on every prides president’s club for five years, and now he was stuck.

Through building a relationship with him and really leading with the coaching aspect of it being a safe space where he could come — and I do this at Showpad now when we roll something out — I like to hold time specifically for the managers so they can come to me and say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” That new feature that you talked about in training, I don’t know what that does. Giving them a safe space where they can come and say that they need help and work through and help them understand that. That’s really how I was able to break through and create a great relationship with that manager, make him a really great coach. And then he got promoted and had managers under him, and that whole team was just operating. We would do special offsites for them and they were kind of their own little enablement Disneyland for me within this organization because of that relationship. And really, I think it came first from creating a safe space.

SL: And then did you find that the other leaders within the sales team saw that you adopted it more easily?

EF: Yes, definitely. And he was a really great internal advocate for me, so he would recommend me when other people would come to him and be like, “man, what did you do?” Which was really nice. After I’d been working with him for 11 months, his team won the next two years the top sales team of the year awards at the company and in his acceptance speech, he thanked me, which was really nice. We don’t get that. We don’t always get credit in the enablement profession, so that felt good. But yes, he became a big internal advocate for me at the company and really helped me. By the time I left that company, I was coaching 30 frontline managers a month.

SL: What was his name?

EF: His name was Craig Hayward.

SL: So, you all should find your own Craig Hayward, for sure. One of the questions a lot of folks have when they start this is, where do we begin? And I think there are a couple of aspects around that we can talk about today. But always, always you want to have a set of competencies for any role that you’re enabling. How many of you in the audience have built out competencies for your first-line managers? Awesome. Alright. What about on the panel?

PB: Yeah, we have. It’s actually funny, I had a meeting with my VP of sales and I asked him that exact same question, right? How do I continue to grow in my career? And that’s a meeting that we’re having coming up soon. It’s important for a manager to know what direction they need to go and what things they need to be paying attention to. That’s been something we’ve done for each of our roles. And it’s just basically a job leveling matrix that we have. And what are those expectations for every single role? We share that with our HR teams, our enablement teams, and get input, so that we can create that path.

I think, number one, it’s just so you know where to go. Just because you’ve reached some level of management, that’s not when enablement stops, right? Everyone’s growing throughout their life and throughout their career. So, you have to continue that. And if you don’t, then you open yourself up to those people going elsewhere and getting poached if they’re not feeling they’re being enabled. So, you really can’t forget about those people, so definitely the most important.

SL: And let me just give a plug for my old employer, SiriusDecisions. I use their competency model at every single job that I have, and I’ve used it over and over and over again, and it’s never failed me. The other thing that it really does for you is once you get it down on paper and you get everybody in leadership to sign off on it, then you have some skin in the game and it helps you to tether your program to something. And that’s one of the biggest mistakes I see in any sales enablement is when things are not tethered to something. So, do this for yourself. It’s a huge favor to yourself. Review them once a year and make sure they’re updated, but having competencies in place will definitely help you.

I want to kind of flip this around and maybe talk about a different part of first-line management enablement, and that’s just appetite for it within your company. I think you can know as an enablement professional just how incredibly important that it is, but sometimes getting field leadership to understand can be more challenging. Have you guys faced that?

PM: Yeah, I mean, absolutely. I think especially if you think about starting from not having a program in place, anything structured, for me, it’s always “let me go find someone who is open to it and willing to do it.” Fortunately, I’ve been able to find those people. But you have to show some success there. And if you think about frontline managers, most frontline managers I know, they’re dealing with the fact that their span of control is probably too big. Or they’re backfilling their team. They’re so busy with, from their standpoint, the operational side of the business just in the day-to-day that you need to make it as easy as possible for them and as simple as possible.

For example, we run some training program and if you do a one-off training program, you’re going to get those kinds of one-off results. How do you reinforce that? Well, you want the first-line managers to reinforce that. How are they going to reinforce it? They don’t have time to think about how to reinforce it. So, simply just giving them, “Hey, here’s a toolkit. It’s a page with three different ideas on how they can reinforce it, how they go about it. In your next meeting, you’re just going to ask this question and round-robin. Just giving them examples that they can start with and use.

Then the other thing that I think is really important is once you get someone who’s open to it, ideally you get to a point where, “Hey, I’m going to run this training for your team, but I’m not actually going to do it. You are the first-line manager.” And that establishes a lot of credibility for their team. But you’ve really got someone bought in and then they’re a great example for the other field leaders because salespeople will see some success somewhere else and they want to repeat it.

SL: Yeah. I’m a big fan of that. So, just a quick story from my background. At my last company, I think in a two and a half year period, we onboarded something like 600 people in the field organization. It was crazy. And we were running a 40-person bootcamp every single month for a period of 13 months. One of the ways that we made this successful, and it was an extremely successful onboarding program, was that we brought in what I called coaches from the field. After a period of time, we didn’t bring in one coach. We brought in two coaches because leadership really realized what it did for those folks to stand up in front of the room and lead some of the sessions, to really make them better at their jobs. There’s something about. Talking about something in front of a room as opposed to kind of doing it. That gives you a deeper understanding. And this grew and developed our sales leaders in a way that, honestly, I didn’t even predict when we started it. It was just a way to scale it and it felt right. That’s one idea that you can kind of potentially embrace.

I know that someone told me that time is running shorter, but I want to make sure that before we open it up to questions that Matt has a chance to talk. And Matt’s a longtime pioneer in sales enablement. What are your thoughts around first-line management?

MM: As you were just talking about just the identity of a sales manager, so am I a super seller or am I a coach? And adding value I think is real. What we hear a lot of times is managers will fall into a trap of just talking to everybody about everything every day. And so as sellers, they were used to joining calls, joining meetings, and moving from one conversation to the next. They become very reactive as they become a sales manager.

As you begin to think about ways that you can help sales managers become more proactive, one of the recommendations I would have is to think about a cadence of meetings. So for that manager, what does it look like on a weekly basis, a monthly basis, a quarterly basis and annual basis? And bring your leadership team together and debate that. What are those coaching activities? What are those best practices that need to be taking place? One of the things we find is that there’s a coaching window. So many of us are dealing with the quarterly pressure. So, we’ve got to close a quarter. There are weeks in the month, there are weeks in the quarter that are open to proactive coaching, and establishing that expectation and rhythm across your team where you’re doing that proactive coaching.

One of the things we’ve seen in terms of showing your team what good looks like is build out examples of your coaching guides. So, whether that’s a deal review, whether that’s a pipeline review, whether that’s an opportunity or an account review, get your managers together and document what’s the agenda? Is that a 30-minute meeting? Is it a one-hour meeting? What are the topics that we’re going to cover as we do a deal review? Maybe capture a video of a best practice deal review. What does good look like for your organization as it relates to a pipeline review?

We spent a lot of time equipping our sellers. We create playbooks that have content and tools and training for reps. What would that look like for a manager to have that same set of tools that would support your cadence of meetings? And we find that building into your managers in terms of “here’s what good looks like, here’s how the expectations for proactive coaching that you can begin to get momentum around a coaching culture”. And that becomes very pervasive.

SL: Awesome. So let’s do this. Let’s take questions from the audience. Who has the first question?

Audience 1: (inaudible)

MM: Let’s do it. One of the things we’ll talk about is just return on sales management. So, you say ROSM. What does that look like at a baseline? I would say if you have a territory and it’s producing X for your company, a return on sales management would say that that manager can increase the productivity of that territory. And one of the things that we’ll talk about is just balance. You hear a lot about percentage of reps that are making quota. What percentage of reps in that territory are making quota and how balanced is it? One of the things we’ll look for is, is it just one or two reps that are carrying that particular region or that manager’s team? So, you can have super reps that are outperforming, but is that really a return on the sales management? Would they just be all-stars anyway?

One of the ways you can begin to push into that is the balance of team members that are making quota. A lot of our clients will push around sales plays. So, from a metric for a manager, it would be number of deals supporting that play, deal size, deal velocity, all of those. The more tightly you can couple that to a strategy in a play, the more you can begin to measure that return on sales management of effectiveness.

EF: I can add to that. I also look at percentage of the reps on the team that are contributing to quota or what percentage they are to quota, average ramp, ramp time for a manager. If you are in an organization that is going through a period of growth, actually breaking down by manager, what is the average ramp time for this manager in SMB, mid-market, or enterprise? Because they will be different depending on the life cycle, average deal size, and if it’s applicable to your organization, discount percentage. What managers, if they are coaching, if they’re giving feedback, and if they are engaging. You’ll either see the discount percentage is really similar, which might indicate to you that the managers themselves are closing a lot of those deals and that’s their sweet spot. But you really can kind of start to move the needle to hopefully discount less, to increase revenue.

SB: Yeah, I was going to chime into that as well. Discount is something that we look at and we measure, because we’re coaching managers to really sell the value of our full solution. So, that’s something when we see. We’re actually measuring the velocity, we’re measuring discounts, all of those things. And we’re looking at ramp time as well, but we’re attributing actually coaching to a lot of that, because we’re putting a lot of emphasis there. And we’re very diligent about measuring all of those things.

EF: A really simple place to start, because those are all big numbers that you need help running, is what percentage of their reps attend training and participation levels with digital content? That’s a good indicator of, is the culture on this team an enablement culture or is nobody doing the training?

SL: And one final thought around this topic, is leading indicators are another area to really focus. Are they able to create pipeline? Are they able to convert pipeline? How many days are they spending in each stage? That will tell you a story that is very immediate in terms of how that team is going to end up. Let’s open it up for another question.

Audience 2: (inaudible)

SB: I actually have one-on-ones with all of our managers every month and then with all their regional heads every other week. So, I do that and it helps me stay pretty closely connected and know what’s going on in everyone’s business. And it helps me also drive adoption of a lot of our enablement programs selfishly, because they’re really the drivers of a lot of that. But I think it’s super important to have a cadence of meeting with, I mean, it depends. If your organization’s like 10,000 people and you have a thousand managers, it’s a little bit harder. But it’s super important to have an ongoing cadence of meetings.

MM: I would say everything starts with a strategy. So annually, what does that sales enablement strategy look like? And the plan, a lot of times, that’ll cascade into a calendar of programs and events. To me, I think the central alignment point, you definitely want to programmatically be doing that annually and then ideally quarterly, are coming back and sharing progress against your strategy and your plan. And that’s where you can get buy-in from senior leadership. Are these the right things for us to be focused on from an enablement strategy, the strategy connects to your calendar, that connects to the activities within that. And we find there is a lot of alignment going through that type of a process.

SL: Well, and you want to badge and certify your first-line managers as well. They need to go through those kinds of processes. I saw a hand back there.

Audience 3: (inaudible)

MM: Yeah, absolutely. So, you have to look at it as a first, second, third, fourth. Some of our clients have five levels of management. And what are those responsibilities at each level and metrics in terms of their coaching, their activity, second line to first line, third to second? Absolutely. I think that’s critical in terms of change management.

Audience 3: (inaudible)

MM: I go back to that return on sales management. And so as you begin to think about, say we have 30 first-line managers, and what that performance looks like today, and the business case for the improvement that you could see territory by territory, and getting that buy-in to the return on that sales manager investment that they would make enablement of those managers to be more effective coaches across the teams.

PM: Yeah, I would add on to that. One of the things I did at a prior company is we actually built in an MBO for the regional directors that they were the first-line managers. They had an MBO that was around enablement. So, it was based on the participation and completion of any certifications we had done for their team. It was a real incentive for them, making sure that their team was actively participating. The amazing thing is we only had to have that incentive in for about two quarters. And we saw a big shift because it became important because it was down to “this is part of your bonus for that quarter.”

When I think about metrics, all the metrics we’ve really talked about, they’re not any different than kind of performance metrics you would look at for sales managers. When it comes to enablement, most of what we do is influence. And it’s really hard to do any causation, and even correlation is often weak to that. But by focusing on, are the metrics across this team and the metrics for these teams improving? Then I look at leading indicators or performance indicators of how actively engaged is that team leader in the enablement activities? How actively engaged are the people? So, you can start to make these at least correlations to “we’re moving the needle in the right direction with enablement activities we do.” I would say in the years I’ve been doing this, it’s not like, “Hey, here’s this one magic metric from an enablement perspective that you’re always going to make this influence.” You have to look across that broad set. I think it’s really important to compare the cohorts to everybody else, right? Because you may have metric targets, but if everybody isn’t hitting him, you don’t want to just say everyone’s failing. You need to look at where is everybody as the average across the board.

Audience 4: (inaudible)

PM: I guess I’ll chime in. I think if the quality is there, you’re going to see that people are drinking the water. Not always, though. I mean, it is really hard, right? But I’ve found that if you have high-quality content, they’re going to start paying attention and they’ll start doing it.

SL: Well, and they should be part of the process for building that content, right? Because you have a lot of expertise that sits within your field organization. And even if they’re not contributing to it, they should be validating it before you put it out there. I have a point of view on this and that is that no enablement numbers are the same as the numbers for the entire field organization. On a fundamental level, we own the number in exactly the same way as the head of the sales in that organization. Now, there are a lot of sub-metrics that kind of come along with that and you definitely want to have those in place. But making sure that your management understands that’s the level that you’re playing at is really, really important.

EF: Yeah. And I think to add on to your water analogy, I think part of enablement’s job is to make sure that they’re receiving the water in a way that helps them. Is it in a tea cup or a wine bottle? Changing up the way that you’re bringing it to them. If you’re sending them an email, doing a TLDR (too long didn’t read) at the top of it. This is the long email. You’re not going to read all of it. Here are the top three points. Micro-learning, bite-size videos, just anything that you can do to make the manager’s job easier. Right? I write emails for my managers all the time for them to send to their teams and say, “please add any color to this that you would like, but here’s what your team needs to know.” They never change any of it. They just send it exactly as I wrote it. Right? But like, where can you help them help you, and make sure that they’re there. You’re giving them something that they need and that is valuable rather than what we think or what leadership thinks they need. I think it’s an important place, to meet with them at a really, really regular cadence. Big leadership is saying we need X and we will get to X, but how we get the managers there, we can kind of meet their needs where they are.

PB: One thing I would add on top of that is finding someone in the sales organization that people look up to, a top performer that buys into that content who can then relay that to other people within the organization. So, I’m a salesperson at heart, and when I see a top performer doing something, I want to copy that and use those skills or those tactics so that I can be successful. So, you just always say you can’t steal something in sales when it comes to a methodology or a best practice. You use it, right? You learn from other people. If you get somebody who is just an all-star salesperson and is sharing what they do, you’re naturally going to find people who are motivated to improve, following those footsteps and leveraging. Then you’re going to get the results from it. So, that would probably be a good suggestion.

MM: I would also say just inspect what you expect. So, if you’ve created that great content for the manager and say you’ve created a deal review guide, and you’ve maybe recorded a video of a best practice deal review, and you’ve given them content and tools around deal reviews, then the expectation would be that they would use that deal review coaching guide. One of the ways we’ve seen clients drive change around that would be first-line managers use a top X program, so instead of every account, they pick their top five. And so I’m going to use the deal review on these top five. That’s a way to get started.

Second-line managers have a roll-up from first-line managers, so all the managers that then pick their top five accounts. If a second-line manager begins to join those deal reviews for those top X accounts and it cascades across the organization, you’re going to get a chance to inspect how they run that deal review. So, if second-line managers joining the first-line manager, not on every one, but a top X account. Then you can learn. Having managers join other managers as a sharing of best practice is another way to just provide that accountability. But if no one’s inspecting it, then it’s just great content. Like you said, the quality of the water is good, but no one’s, no one’s drinking it a lot. I like that.

SL: One other tip in this area: pilots are your friend. So, rolling things out to everyone can be incredibly painful and set you up for failure. But if you pick one or two or three teams to roll it out with and keep it from everyone else, suddenly it becomes something that was awarded, something that’s special, something that just went to a small group of people. And you stack the deck, right? You pick the teams that you know are going to do a great job. I promise you the rest of your teams will be begging for it. And that just makes your life a whole lot easier. Do we have time for one more question over here?

Audience 5: (inaudible)

MM: It’ll be better informed with the data. But there’s nothing like a manager asking questions of just, where do you think we are? Why do you think we’re at that place? What’s your next activity? There’s just so many value add opportunities. Now, granted, it may not be the old IBM branch, where we’re all sitting side by side. It’s probably on a Zoom call. And we’re talking through that, but yeah, I see tons of value in my manager coming alongside an opportunity and account asking good questions, and forming those next set of activities.

PB: Yeah, I agree. You can assume a lot of things when you’re hearing things and you put the happy ears on. You can enter that data into a tool and your automated AI could go, “okay, this is a good deal, or it’s not”. But if a manager starts asking questions and starts poking holes in those assumptions, then that whole thing that falls apart. And so it’s very common. I remember in doing deal reviews myself is my manager would ask, “did the customer say that?” And I’d be like, “no”. Delete it. Right? You can’t use that because it gets internalized in your mindset, right? You’ve put out this idea and then you read through it over the deal cycle and it becomes a fact in your mind when it’s not a fact. It’s actually assumption you’ve made.

So, I do think a combination is going to be needed. You need to have that human factor to poke holes in it and just verify that what’s being entered in your system is actually accurate. Because with millennials specifically, and I deal with them a lot in sales development, they think they know exactly what it is. Giving them perspective and reminding them how to approach things and make sure that they’re internalized and things correctly is incredibly important. So, I think you do need to still do that check.

SB: My company uses a lot of technology. We actually record every sales conversation, every call a rep has with their clients gets recorded and the managers are able to review it and provide coaching on it. They can go and add their comments, how they positioned. We actually operate in a very competitive space. A lot of these prospects are looking at us and at a couple of other competitors. So, the managers are able to provide coaching on how you positioned against the competitor and all of that. I think the deal review itself, it’s that conversation that happens with their rep that is super valuable. Technology only supplements that and allows you to track that coaching is happening, but the managers in their staff meetings having those conversations about what’s happening. And then you can obviously track it through the technology as well. I think it goes hand in hand.

SL: Let me ask a question back to the audience if I could, because I know there were several people at the beginning who said that they have active first-line manager programs in place. Do any of you have nuggets from those programs that you’d like to share with the room?

Audience 6: For us at New Relic, we have an advisory council. We have them review the materials, give us pull quotes that we can use in the communications and launch to the rest of the field, as well as trying to identify our best players and best practices early so we can modify the content as needed before we launch to the field.

Audience 7: (inaudible)

Audience 8: (inaudible)