In the spirit of creativity, we brought Greg Freeman to the studio recently. He’s the new VP of Sales at Kleene.ai, a big data platform for aggregation and cleansing and, ultimately, the automation of that process that data engineers usually perform. He had some conventional wisdom to share. You could say our interest was piqued.
Apparently, whenever there's a change in any kind of business or sales team, there will always be an uplift in performance—at least temporarily. “It's one of those weird behavioral science things,” Freeman says. “You can even kind of hit people's commission package in some way, and there will still be a uniform improvement across the business in most cases.” However, he says, this isn’t guaranteed to last. Of course, your top performers will continue to excel. Moreover, your mid-to-lower performers will be motivated to prove themselves—that they can be trusted to hit activity levels from home—but this newfound motivation will eventually dwindle.
Imagine a runner, in first place on a racetrack, who suddenly notices that the runner-up is quickly gaining on them. Adrenaline will kick in, and they’ll discover some untapped energy source that allows them to run even faster for a little while. But after some time, their legs and minds will tire again.
To compound the issue, it’s more difficult to coach your salespeople when they’re working remotely. Therefore, Freeman implores you to track your conversion ratios and make sure you're not seeing a dropoff from your middle performers as time goes on. "We're in about week five now," he says, "So it's about that time when you'll start to see those dips.” Essentially, you want to keep careful track of your numbers so that you can catch them before they fall too low.
Yet, he also emphasized balance in your methodology. To keep driving sales, it’s absolutely true that you have to know your numbers in order to maintain them. But when it comes to improving on them, your employees are going to need a little bit of creative freedom.