In the inaugurial post of our BTSM leadership interview series, we sat down with Five Stars Head of Sales Matt Curl.
What’s one thing you’re doing that you think sales leaders today aren’t doing enough of? Why?
MC: I don’t think sales leaders spend enough time coaching to what the data is telling them. The inability to create a cohesive story based on the marriage between what is qualitatively observed and quantitatively measured is a gap that separates the okay leader from the great one. The world that we currently live in is a sales renaissance fueled by a plethora of information coming from the CRM. Very few leaders are organically recognizing the data trend and realizing the power and quality of information that is at their fingertips; The bottom line is baseline funnel metrics are not good enough anymore. Coaching on how to pull relevant information, focusing on equipping managers and leaders to digest and think critically about this information, and the unavoidable learning curve to gain proficiency at analysis are all blockers to adoption
What does your first hour in the office look like?
MC: McDonalds coffee on the way in for a nice $1.09 followed by a quick greeting of everybody when I arrive. I believe in taking the first 10 minutes of your day to greet the people you work with. You go through life and challenges with your coworkers and getting to know their stories is something I’m particularly passionate about. Our company uses an internal communication tool called Slack and it’s a mandate on the sales side that everybody says “Good Morning” to their teams so I begin my “Good Mornings” and give status updates when relevant. I groom my email backlog and determine what are the top 3 things that I must get done today and then attack the day.
If you were going to start a new team today what are the first 3 things you would do to get on the right track?
MC: I’ll do my best to be brief on this one and will give you a utopian oversimplification hah. The first piece is to determine what you’re actually going after. What is your team charter, who are your stakeholders, what are the expectations for the team, who are the stakeholders you will rely on and what is their ‘service level agreement’ with your team, and how fast do we need to move? Those inputs should give you the foundation for cracking the first fundamental piece, which is your hiring or team composure profile. The second step would be to build a process that can quickly and accurately inform you and any relevant stakeholders regarding your inputs from step 1. The third thing to do would be validating and testing the established expectations for the team before broadly scaling. Where things are going well you should communicate and evaluate how to further optimize. Where things are not going well you should test fixes or changes and communicate. Where you’re in a disaster case you should re-evaluate your inputs from step 1, communicate lessons learned, and may need to start from the top.
Favorite sales book, why?
MC: Cracking the Sales Management Code is a foundation and a framework that I believe everybody should read and spend time to digest. I don’t prescribe to everything within the book but the reason it’s my favorite is that it challenges sales leaders to think about what the real levers are within their businesses to pull and generate success and get away from relying on what isn’t uniformly repeatable.
Favorite coaching technique that you’ve used and had success with?
MC: Honesty early and honesty often. When it comes to coaching it is my experience that being real about where we are today and where we want to go is the foundation that a coaching relationship has to be built upon. Generating buy-in, giving quick/relevant feedback and examining success and fail points, among many others, have to be built upon reciprocal honesty.
Matt Curl is Head of Sales at FiveStars an SF based company bringing the power of a Fortune 500-class customer loyalty programs to local businesses. Prior to joining FiveStars, “Curl” spent six years advising Fortune 500 companies at KPMG and Crane Co. His specialties are strategy, risk, and program management, with a focus on building data infrastructure to drive business decisions.