INSIDE Inside Sales – Episode 2: Building a Daily Activity Framework that Generates Results

Image for INSIDE Inside Sales – Episode 2: Building a Daily Activity Framework that Generates Results

Listen in to James Bawden and Darryl Praill as they talk through what it takes to generate sales success. Not in the mood to listen? No problem, you can read the transcriptions below.

Host:  Darryl Praill, VanillaSoft

Guest: James Bawden, Evalueserve

Paul: Welcome everybody to another episode of the SLMA Radio. Program today is Inside Inside Sales. Program sponsored by VanillaSoft, the number one company for sale engagement for inside sales departments like yours. With our host, the host that seems to know the most about this subject, Darryl Praill. Hey Darryl.

Darryl Praill: All right. Thank you, Paul. How you doing, folks? My name is Darryl Praill. I am your host of Inside Inside Sales and I gotta admit, I just like saying that, Inside Inside Sales. I feel like a used car salesman. So if you like that, feel free to give me grief on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, any other social media platform you can find me on. But today’s topic, episode number two. If you missed number one, that was with Lori Richardson, and it was everything that a new SDR should do to get success. Check it out on the InsideInsideSales.com site.

Darryl Praill: So, my episode number two is all about how to build a daily activity framework for success. So think about this. You go to your job every day and it’s all about what do I need to do? What activities do I need to do? What multiple channels do I need to expose myself to? How do I build my personal brand? How do I make sure I’m productive? How do I make sure it’s consistent and reliable and scalable, so that I hit the right numbers, that I achieve the success that I desire, whether that success is something that’s self-imposed or it’s something that your management has placed upon you with a carrot, perhaps multiple bonuses, whether it be financial incentives or whatnot. It’s all about having a successful, repeatable daily activity framework. And in the course of this conversation, I’m talking with my good friend James Bawden. Now if you don’t know James, check him out on LinkedIn.

Darryl Praill: I’ll give you a little background about James. He’s a sales professional and frontline salesforce advocate. He has a decade of experience across industries from wireless retail sales to complex B2B sales. So you see he’s got the whole range there, which is really kind of important because he’s got multiple exposures, shall we say, to know what works and what doesn’t. His unique mixture of full-cycle sales, sales development, enablement in leadership experience has resulted in his real world practical views. And I love that. His practical views. I’m all about being pragmatic. That’s what we do here on the show, on what works for sales teams. He is incredibly, fiercely passionate about all things sales, especially providing a voice for salespeople who are just beginning their careers. And that’s what we’re here doing on Inside Inside Sales. James, are you there, sir?

James Bawden: Darryl, I am absolutely ecstatic to be joining you for episode number two of Inside Inside Sales. I also like saying it like that.

Darryl Praill: It’s fun, isn’t it? It’s kind of addictive. You just feel like I’m going to give myself a real 80’s reference here. It’s your best Herb Tarlek. If you don’t know who Herb Tarlek is, look up WKWRP in Cincinnati. Now the reason James is my guest of the show today is because he himself struggled with how to build a daily activity framework. Now, is that correct, James? I mean, that’s my understanding. We bantered about this leading up to the show and that’s what you shared with me.

James Bawden: Completely. Yeah. I don’t think I’m alone in the experience of coming into a sales role and knowing that things need to get done, but not having a framework already in place to help you achieve those goals. So yes, it’s definitely been something that I’ve got some real world experience on.

Darryl Praill: So why don’t you give us the backstory here of where you were that moment in time when you realized you needed this. What was going on in your career and what was the catalyst for this? And what was the journey then you entered on to figure out the best approach and then eventually I want to give a little teaser here to our audience. James is going to break it all down and exactly what he does. So just a little background, because I know there’s a lot of people listening who are going to be able to connect with you on this story.

James Bawden: Yeah. Darryl, I mean I think for me coming into my first role as strictly a sales development rep. For me what was kind of unique is that I spent the first four years of my inside sales career full cycle sales. So everything from setting the meeting to closing the customer to customer success. Now coming into a new sales role in general can be overwhelming and every sales organization does things differently. And the reason that I took this role in specifically sales development was because it gave me the opportunity to help build something.

James Bawden: So Evalueserve is the company that I still currently work for. When I joined, I was the second or third sales rep that came in, tasked with opening up those doors. And because of that, there wasn’t a daily activity framework in place. For me, having experience in other sales roles with organizations that had figured it out and had something in place and can onboard a new sales rep and kind of drop them into the process, I knew that it was important. And I knew that having a process was important, but I didn’t quite know what to do in the absence of one. So it’s been a very valuable experience for me, because I’ve been able to build this framework based on actual things that I’m experiencing in the field. I’m able to beta test. I’m able to adjust things as I see fit. So it’s been a really great experience and happy to be here today and share what I’ve learned with the audience.

Darryl Praill: Now when you were trying to figure this out. So I know, I can still relate to your point, seeing when I got there I was given, shall we say, a mandate, but I didn’t necessarily have the secret sauce on how to do it. And like anybody who’s in an inside sales or a sales development role in the end, your success is limited to the results you achieve. The reason it resonated with me when we’ve talked about it, is because that’s an area we can all get lost, right? We can just end the day going, what did I accomplish? You know? I didn’t do anything really, really well. You had this moment of clarity, and you knew you needed that. Where did you go to maybe identify this in the sense of the, you said you’re the second or third ISR. So clearly maybe you didn’t have that in-house resource available to you yet, hadn’t been instantiated in your internal processes yet. So did you go to thought leaders? Did you go to a book? Did you go to YouTube?

James Bawden: Executive that I work for still and worked for when I joined, was actually the first ISR and a much less organized version of the sales organization that I met when I joined. So that leadership of him knowing truly what I’m going through on a daily basis, but also being able to just hear from him what he did and what led him to success. Now I think the era that he was working in, there really wasn’t too much of a concern around building something that was repeatable. And this happens a lot, right? Salespeople that are successful oftentimes can’t manage to record and build that framework of what’s working for them, because it’s just kind of natural. They just kind of are going out doing the things that feel right to them and having success, but they’re not able to put it down on a piece of paper and make it repeatable for the next folks that are joining.

James Bawden: When I joined, that was definitely a focus. And that was one of the reasons that I was interested in joining, was the opportunity to help put something in place that is repeatable. It’s something that I’ve done in previous roles and always enjoyed. So for me, that first resource was the good fortune I had of having a leader who had an idea of what was going on and can give me some insight into the industry, the business, who we’re looking after. And then past that, I am an avid consumer of all things sales, right? So whether it’s videos from folks like Victor Antonio who just always has some really great practical advice. That’s somebody that I’ve watched for years.

James Bawden: One of the books that I read that really just narrows it down and it’s just such a readable book, I think I read it in an afternoon, was Outbound Sales, No Fluff by Rex Biberston and Ryan Reisert. Just a really straight to the point guide about how to build an outbound sales process. So definitely use those types of resources, pulled on the past experience that I had, which is incredibly valuable because it’s just the time that you’ve put in. And then the context from somebody who’d been involved with it. So a mixture of all of that helped me come to a point where I identified the fact that there wasn’t a framework in place, identified the fact that operating without one wasn’t a good idea, because I did try that for about 60 to 90 days, and taking that next step and then saying, okay, what does this look like? That’s how it all got snowballed for me.

Darryl Praill: I love that you were so tactful when you said that your first ISR was from a different era where it wasn’t so defined. Required to have that repeatable, scalable model. I think it was a very polite little point you just made that he perhaps was older than you. That’s what I’m taking from that, which I know myself now being the senior, [crosstalk 00:10:32] really well done.

James Bawden: This guy was three years younger than I. I’m not kidding. I’m not kidding.

Darryl Praill: No way.

James Bawden: When I say a different era, there’s been what I would call, and this happens a lot with organizations that are just starting their sales organization, their outbound sales organization. There’s sales organization 1.0, sales organization 2.0, and I think we’re probably on 3.0 or 4.0 now. And so that 1.0 is when you’ve got those guys that, well they said they kind of wanted to be in sales a little bit, so let’s give them an Excel sheet of 2000 people that we think might be the right person maybe and have them send some emails and make some calls, but we’re not concerned with what they’re sending, we’re not keeping track of it, we’re not keeping track of the calls. We haven’t done this before, so if we get any sort of outbound action at all, win for us. So I think that’s where it started, and that’s kind of where he cut his teeth. And so a lot of the advice that he gave me was what not to do, right? Because the evolution of a sales organization from 1.0 to 2.0 to 3.0 can be quite significant. And especially as you start adding folks, there needs to be something in place that’s repeatable and you can hold yourself accountable to. But no. Yeah, it’s been a very interesting journey. He’s younger than I am.

Darryl Praill: All right, so James is going to get into the very steps when we come back from this brief message, don’t go anywhere, we’ll be right back.

Paul: And the brief messages is this. You know, CRM is designed for managed relationships, whereas sales engagement is designed for starting them. Current stats indicate that sales reps only contact new leads. I laugh every time I hear this. So they only contact new leads about 50 percent of the time. Can you imagine? And they make less than two attempts to contact them again and are only about 35 percent productive overall. CRM is simply the wrong tool to engage sales prospects. But don’t worry, VanillaSoft is there to save the day. It’s a sales engagement platform that allows you to rapidly turn marketing qualified leads into sales qualified leads. And we all know there’s a big difference between those two. According to user reviews, VanillaSoft will increase your pipeline productivity by three times or more, really, blow through your quota. Just turn your team into a sales machine. How? By ensuring each new sales lead is engaged within seconds, imagine that, seconds. And that they follow up persistently and with a cadence that’s optimal for your prospects. Don’t let your sales leads fall into that big black hole. Take your lead engagement and sales qualification out of your CRM and put it into VanillaSoft. For free information, just go to the website, just like it sounds. Vanillasoft.com. That’s Vanillasoft.com.

Paul: And now back to our show.

Darryl Praill: All right, we’re back. All right James, let’s do this fast and furious. I’m going to give you a task. You’ve got 10 minutes to get through the entire process.

James Bawden: Sure.

Darryl Praill: So what’s your formula?

James Bawden: Identifying and picking a number of daily activities. So you have to start somewhere, and you have to take into account the different channels that you want to target. Right? So for me it was email and phone. Those were the channels that I was concerned with, and so I made a decision. I said, based on my experience in other sales organizations, a hundred, the number 100 seems to be a baseline.

James Bawden: Now the different places that I’ve worked, it’s been a hundred phone calls or it’s been 50 and 50 between email and calling and it’s always different based on the business. So what I did is I started with a baseline of 100 daily activities and I split it up between 50 cold calls and 50 emails. For me, in the discovery process of how this was going to work, I identified my ideal buyer and everybody’s ideal buyer is different. That ideal buyer might respond much more to a brief email than a cold call. Or they might pick up the phone way more than they’ll respond to an email.

James Bawden: So for me, I spent one month where I focused 70 percent of my activities on email and 30 percent on cold calling and kept track of the results, open rates, response rates, meetings booked. And then I did the opposite the following month. And did the same thing, recorded the results. What I found, as I think most people will, is that the most efficient and fruitful approach for me was a healthy balance of both. That’s the first step. Really. You have to give yourself a number, you have to make it doable, but it has to be something where, the reason I liked the number 100 is just because you’re not selling yourself short, right? If you’re going out and you’re doing a hundred outbound prospecting activities a day, I think that’s a good spot to start at and worked well for me.

Darryl Praill: What I love about this is you’ve given yourself a number, that is what you have to attain. You have to self-manage that, and then you A/B tested is you knew what was right for you and your audience and your buyer, and you gave yourself a window of horizon two months, three months, whatever, to figure that out.

James Bawden: The next step for me was scheduling that non-negotiable prospecting time on my calendar every single day. Because what I found was those first two months when I’m doing some beta testing, and I didn’t have it literally blocked off on my calendar, is that there were days where to be quite honest, I might not make a cold call or I may only make 20 or I might not get around to sending all 50 emails that I need to send because, well, I booked a demo and then now this demo is happening here. And oh, we need to have a recap call after that, and then I’m going to take lunch and then you know what, I need to do some lead generation too for this campaign. So all of these things popped up and I realized, look, I need to make sure that I’ve got serious non-negotiable prospecting time every day. Because as an inside sales rep tasked with opening doors, there’s nothing more important than that. There’s nothing more important for me to be doing to be reaching out, outreach, outreach, outreach.

James Bawden: So for me the next step was no matter what’s happening, I’ve got it on my calendar and it pops up and reminds me and anything that I’m doing, I’ve got that 15 minute reminder set, and I get 15 minutes to wrap up whatever I’m doing and then queue up the activity. For me, leaving it to chance it didn’t work. So I had to put that in place. Now it changes, right? It’s not 10:00 every day. Right? So when I am wrapping up my day and looking at the next day, I’m basing it off of what’s going on. So I’m realistic about it, but it’s there and I’ve got to do it. So that was the next step.

Darryl Praill: So you’ve a line in the sand. This is my time. You cannot book anything else here. This is what I’m doing.
James Bawden: I have been in scenarios where there are daily activities defined. A hundred phone calls a day. You got to make it, and you do that for six months and the results maybe aren’t coming like you think they should, because you’re just blindly, mindlessly doing the hundred cold calls a day. I’ve done that. I’ve literally done that. I’ve stepped back and realized like, wow, I’ve spent the last month really just trying to hit a hundred calls a day and not really thinking about who I’m talking to or a creative way to maybe try and get in touch with this person that I’ve left 12 voice mails for. And so that weekly check in with yourself, and I think this is a very important point to bring up, all of these steps, this is all internal, this is all with yourself. You’re holding yourself accountable. And so there’s a quality assurance check. Make sure you’re reaching out to the right leads with the right type of personalization, at scale, instead of doing that mindless sending the same email that you’re sending a CMO, and you’re sending it to the VP of sales. That’s activity, but it’s not valuable activity.

James Bawden: And doing this keeps those daily activity metrics from becoming arbitrary, because so many sales organizations set these daily activity KPIs, and I’m amazed at how quickly it just becomes a number that the rep needs to hit to keep their job. It’s no longer about, well, this is the number of value. This is the number that we need to a hit in order to add the most value. For me there were weeks where I was like, you know what? I was just trying to hit that 50 number on Wednesday and probably would have benefited me to send 40 that day and do some more research, because I found this guy that looks like a buyer, but I want to make an impression, right? Because we operate in such a noisy marketplace. So you know, all of this activity level is great, but activity for the sake of activity does nothing. So that is a key step that I kind of developed and definitely didn’t have in place in the beginning and felt like, okay, I need to start doing this to make sure that I’m not falling into the same trap.

Darryl Praill: Three easy steps, one, start with a goal, you it was 100. Outbound prospecting activities, and then spend time to figure out the right mix across the right [crosstalk 00:20:31]. You suggest that 50 calls, 50 emails is where you started. If social is a piece in that for you, then add a number in there, too. But I love that you tested it.

Darryl Praill: Two, make that time to do the prospecting non-negotiable. That is fixing your calendar. Never be moved at all costs.

Darryl Praill: And number three, the third of the three steps was conduct weekly quality assurance checks. That’s it guys. Three steps. That’s what works for James. Hey, don’t believe me. Listen to James. He’s a veteran of the industry. He’s lived this, he’s breathed this. He sought all the experts. This is what works for him and what I love about it, it’s so easy to implement.

Darryl Praill: One of the key takeaways you mentioned there, James, was it’s not always about the quantity, a hundred calls a day. Sometimes it’s the quality, and so you got to always be pragmatic about this.

Darryl Praill: James, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this conversation. If you guys and gals on this podcast like what James had to say, then do not hesitate. Go to LinkedIn. Follow him now. I do.

James Bawden: Thanks, Darryl.

Darryl Praill: And that’s what we’ve got to this point in time. In the meantime, we’re out of time here, folks. Thanks, James, for joining us today. I had a blast. And that’s it. We’ll be back next time with another episode of Inside Inside Sales. In the meantime, you take care, folks. We’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.
Paul: You’ve been listening to another episode, SLAM radio. Our featured program Inside Inside Sales. One of the many shows on the Funnel Radio Network for at work listeners like you.