Pivot felt like the word of the year for many sales leaders in 2020. There’s a high chance you lost sleep over budget cuts and spent countless hours brainstorming new sales strategies.
But in many ways, this year also dropped the floor out from sales as we knew it. Companies surged 2, 5, and even 10 years forward in their overall business and technology plans. For sales leaders who were struggling with getting their reps to adopt their CRM, 2020 was the asteroid that caused serious destruction––and forced us to rethink our sales approach from start to finish.
Kyle Stremme felt this on two levels: in his own sales approach to attract new clients, and in the ways he’s helping his clients restructure their workflow and CRMs.
A friend reached out to me last year and encouraged me to think about what I wanted to do with my life and my career. Mid-pandemic, I just left the startup I had been grinding at for 10 years.
Today, I just love enabling sales reps. When general managers and owners don’t know how to create a winning sales process, I step in. I Iove helping the reps make a workflow and generate leads. Covid crushed many small businesses and brick-and-mortar B2C companies, so I pivoted to helping sales reps in any industry and my network.
Kyle is a Revenue and Business Development Partner at High Kick Sales, his former side-hustle-turned-consulting-firm. Right now, he focuses mostly on helping owners, managers, and sales directors at companies like churches, schools, sports teams, camps, and in-person entertainment centers that rely on group bookings.
This underserved industry traditionally uses point of sale (POS) systems with no APIs to connect to other sales tech like a CRM. This makes their day-to-day sales workflow and operations complex and messy, with little or no room for attribution or meaningful insights into how to grow revenue.
Kyle became the middle man who helped those leaders get the insights they needed 3 years ago, when he started connecting a test program on the back of Close to create a connected pipeline.
Now, Kyle’s approach is tried and true––and he’s excited to share his tips for assessing and optimizing (or replacing) your sales tech to get your most efficient, revenue-growing workflow yet.
I start with a discovery call to understand my clients’ revenue perspective and dig into their CRM. They’re almost always stuck here and need help right away. Unless you have someone really good running your SalesOps, you’re usually chasing your tail or at least missing a huge segment you could be targeting.
With his goal to help businesses increase velocity and results, here are Kyle’s top 6 tips for sales growth––whether you’re closing your first 10 customers or scaling to your next thousand.
6 tips to assess your workflow + CRM
“If you go in as the change agent who is structurally changing the CRM, there’s so much to think about,” Kyle says. Here are his top 6 review points as he’s assessing a sales workflow and CRM to improve won revenue and simplify reps’ processes:
1. Gather and review all your documentation.
- Look for inconsistencies, outdated docs, and missing gaps in your rep training.
- Note highest spend on tech and if those feel wasteful compared to ROI.
2. Assess your sales velocity and your current growth stage.
- Still establishing product-market fit? Go to outbound, perfect your ICP, then feed those into content and landing pages to create an inbound funnel.
- Have the right buyers, but a slow sales process or inefficient reps? Consider your current tech limitations + integrations and the level of handholding you have to do for reps.
3. Assess your scaling power.
- Can you realistically grow revenue from where you are? If not, what are the current holes in your workflow (the process you run) or pipeline (the results you’re seeing)?
4. Test your reps’ sales acumen.
- Sales is a skill. What’s their level of professionalism? Do they effectively prioritize their days, batch their time, and focus on highest-value activities first? (Hot tip: Kyle loves the John Barrows sales training tracks.)
- Is their workflow “thinking-free” in terms of approach and automation?
- Assess the learning opportunities currently available to reps. Are they just selling in the same methodologies and steps their managers sold in at previous companies?
- How would you rate your level of sales innovation and adaptability on the fly when you shadow their calls?
5. Review sales rep turnover and impact on your revenue.
- If you’ve got high rep churn or turnover and an overall vibe of confusion, you need to cut out the noise and focus on simplifying your tech stack and coaching them with tried-and-true sales strategies.
6. Assess your current CRM + other options.
- Does your CRM weigh your reps down with unnecessary admin or lacking/overwhelming features? How much time do they spend on admin each week?
- Would replacing your CRM with a more sales-rep-focused CRM integration help you get your sales velocity back and clear up that confusion for your reps?
I fell in love with Close because it empowers a team to run a playbook that works. It allows sales leaders to pull their teams out of clunky Salesforce and into something SMB-focused––and awesome.
As a rep, team lead, manager, and then director, I know the pains of CRMs from every point of view. In Close, I can just dish out leads, while my team focuses on closing deals.
HubSpot vs. Close
When it comes to researching your ideal CRM, many of Kyle’s clients immediately think of HubSpot: the notoriety in the startup world, the appeal of a free or heavily discounted license, and the culture of growth all come to mind.
But as we’ve talked about before, HubSpot isn’t necessarily the best CRM for scaling as a small business. Kyle has especially strong feelings after coaching and guiding dozens of clients through revenue growth in HubSpot (and other CRMs).
“The biggest mental block for your sales reps in these big CRMs is learning to ‘speak’ HubSpot,” Kyle says. “You have to fit into their world in order to execute your workflow.”
HubSpot’s user interface can kill prospecting––especially for high-velocity or franchise sales. The tool looks cool, but it can be super cumbersome and terrible for sales reps. I was an extremely experienced rep who couldn’t figure it out. And now I have a lot of clients who are the same way. Once your reps get into Close and realize the velocity and how much more revenue they can create, they’re gonna want to use Close for everything.
In comparison, Kyle predicts a shift in the software world––away from the “all-in-one” mentality that’s been dominating for the last few years of acquisitions and mergers of major sales tech companies.
"The new age of sales tech is going to be process first, and finding the best way to do each thing. That’s why the API world is exploding: we no longer need to be subpar on 3 things and great on 7. We can be amazing at all 10 with more focused tech for each team, all speaking to each other seamlessly."
That’s exactly why he recommends Close to his clients. There are a few crucial features he designs around when helping his customers improve their workflow and increase their revenue with Close:
Smart Views: “They’re powerhouse cadences that just keep getting better. The best thing to happen to CRMs in recent history.”
Layered Smart Views: “These beat the pants off Outreach from a cadence and flexibility standpoint.”
Simple UX: “It scales incredibly well if you want to build up to a more complex workflow later.”
Custom Fields on Opportunities: “I’ve been waiting for these forever. I can do so much more in a layered CRM situation now.”
Why sales leaders choose Close
If you’re a sales leader who needs to scale your team and increase your revenue, Kyle’s advice can be summed up pretty easily. And we’re happy to hear that advice centers around getting your team into Close:
Close just kicks butt. I don’t know how you can beat Close for finding product-market fit and scaling. Bar none: velocity, learning, quick KPI reports, and training––every rep I train thinks Close is the greatest thing ever. You can enable any rep in Close, which is the ultimate goal of a sales manager.