Jeremy Leveille, Global Account Executive here at LeadIQ, sat down with Kyle Roach, Director of Sales Development at Socio, on his podcast: Jeremy's Totally Rad Sales Show. Socio is an event platform, helping with organization and lead retrieval for conferences, trade shows, etc.
They discuss the challenges Kyle faced when starting a new leadership role at the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Kyle started at his new role when the world was still as confused as ever, there were still so many questions not answered about the virus, and nobody knew just how dangerous this virus could be and how drastically it could affect their everyday lives. Kyle started on March 2nd, and the company was fully remote on March 15th.
Kyle and his team were nervous and anxious about this remote transition, as many others were worldwide. Selling isn't easy, selling during a pandemic is that much more challenging. Just like most companies who turned fully remote, their numbers took a complete nosedive. Instead of panicking, Kyle gathered his team and discussed the situation with full transparency. Come April, Socio quickly saw things pick back up. Throughout April, May, and June, the company has seen record-breaking numbers. The sales team contributed a lot to this, but so did the product team.
Why the Product Team is Important to your Role
The product team was a crucial part of Socio's success since the pandemic hit, which Kyle saw an underlying lesson in. He suggests that you should make a point to ask about and investigate the product team when interviewing at companies. Take note of how quickly they move, how often they have new features, and whether they make their release dates.
Kyle noticed right away that Socio had a great product team. They had a great vision, a great roadmap, and always hit their product/feature releases' dates.
Kyle shares that the CMO of Socio has been in the event space for quite some time and had been tracking and putting the possibility of remote work due to the pandemic since February. Therefore the product team had a little bit of a heads up to start thinking and preparing for this. Instead of completely pivoting and starting from scratch for a new product, the product team took to their roadmap and did a bit of a 'remodel,' and just like that, their mobile app for virtual events was born.
To learn more about Socio's virtual/hybrid platforms, click here.
After Kyle started at Socio and the company quickly turned remote, he took to the drawing board and wanted to know what his team should care about during this time and how to focus and act on whatever that may be. Managing a remote team is not easy. He wanted to hone in on this since working from home opens the door for all types of distractions. These distractions eat up time out of your day.
It's impossible to care about everything at once in a situation like this. You can't track everything, you need to figure out what metrics matter. Find what you and your team care about and focus/double down on that.
After discussions across his team, Kyle realized there are 3 things his team cared about...
- Buyer experience
- Controlling what we could control
- Leading from the front
"This mini value set helped the team stay focused, innovated, and ultimately stay productive."
Quickly explaining 'leading from the front': Kyle wanted his team to be on the frontline, the first ones from Socio to try new strategies, messaging, etc. Kyle's example: when the product team was working on the virtual product, Kyle went to his team, asking how they could message this. They went out and tried different messaging and techniques. They then could bring this information to the other departments of the company and show them what they have tried, what worked, and what didn't, and they could go from there.
Interviewing and Onboarding Remotely
Kyle shares that interviewing during this time was very challenging. It was mentally draining not only because it was apparent how many people had lost their jobs and were struggling, but he also wanted to do right and give each applicant a good candidate experience and do this entire process virtually. The process is challenging, but it's important to show empathy for each applicant, look past the barriers, and keep the process moving.
Once the hiring decision was made, Kyle spent more time and energy on their 2-week onboarding experience than he has ever before or ever imagined he would. He made sure everything was very organized and elaborated on every detail of the material since they weren't all together in an office to go over things at any given moment.
He wanted a good experience every day. Every day there was learning a new topic and then practicing that topic. Kyle shares that the onboarding process was hard and very time-consuming. However, it was rewarding to see that all the effort and time contributed was well worth it. During their first week on the job, 2/4 of the newly hired reps had already booked meetings.