Most reps adhere to the adage “Plan your work and work your plan.” But does your staff fully appreciate what that involves? From time to time, field marketing, sales operations and sales enablement should go on rep ride-alongs to observe and discover new ways to enable sales success. Here are some pointers to help you make the most of these ride-alongs (and to make sure you’re asked back):
Select a potential pool of reps. With the help of the first-line sales managers, choose a group of new and seasoned reps. Join the new reps’ sales calls only if the manager will also be coming. With seasoned reps, you should be on your own.
Set the ground rules. Establish rules with the rep before the sales calls and follow his or her lead. Your role is as an observer, not as a participant.
Use the sales ride-along evaluation form. This is typically the same form used by managers to evaluate new reps after a sales call. Focus on areas in which sales enablement could help make reps more effective. If your company does not use a sales ride-along evaluation form, guess what? You’ve just found a task for the sales enablement team – creating one for your sales managers.
Make observations throughout the ride-along. From the time you get in the car until the sales call is over, take mental notes on how the rep could be more effective. As you and the rep drive to the next sales call, jot down your notes. Don’t forget to ask the rep for input on how your team could improve the sales experience.
Write a formal report. Consolidate your findings and offer constructive suggestions on how your team can help sales. Present this report to the reps and managers who volunteered their time before you share it with the entire sales organization. The goal is not to offer criticism or coaching, but to explain processes and tools that may benefit the sales team in their efforts.