Covid has changed everything. From sales processes to how we celebrate holidays, we’ve reimagined every aspect of our lives.

For ZoomInfo, one of the biggest challenges we are facing at EOY is how to keep motivation high and celebrations on par with the big achievements our sales teams are hitting day in and day out. 

So, as sales leaders, how have we kept ‘remote’ control? 

How do we empower management to pivot with our business? 

And how do we help closers — whether an SDR  booking a meeting or an AE closing a huge deal — motivated to crush company objectives?

Communication in Sales: Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind.

Sales success is either made possible or completely derailed by a failure to communicate. Not just with prospects, but with management.

When the pandemic hit, we knew we needed to up our efforts. Daily management meetings pre-corona included a pretty small group.

Today, our standups are extended to even new team leads. This ensures anyone who wants to stay abreast of what’s happening at the highest level is empowered to.

Sales is an individual sport but sharing insight helps us all win. 

While we have quarterly sales contests, we’ve found that virtual success means fostering a team connection. 

“The way that we still get together in a virtual world is through various daily huddles. So we meet first thing in the day, at the end of the day and then there’s smaller team huddles in the middle of the day, even if it’s just for five or 15 minutes; do a quick rundown,” explains explains ZoomInfo Vice President of Sales, Steve Bryerton. 

“Sometimes they’re nothing more than a session for people to vent or talk about whatever they’re doing, just so that we sort of keep that team environment going.”

We also try to do things like ‘demo day’ across the sales org, and leverage special team and individual contests to maintain that level of investment. 

Sales Superstitions: Rally Jackets & Gongs

So we’ve laid down the foundation for the day-to-day approaches to quarantine life. But what about those big, can’t-miss-it moments?

“When it comes to sales superstition, there’s a few of them. You don’t touch the gong, bang into the gong, unless you actually close a deal. That’s bad luck,” says Bryerton

“Then on the last day of the month, and certainly the last day of the quarter, everybody brings out their finest attire. I have a very fancy hundred dollar bill money suit that tends to get worn on the last day of the quarter. On the last day of the month, I just wear the jacket. But everybody definitely has their lucky clothes to close.”

The gong is important because it’s a way to recognize whomever just hit the gong and closed the deal. 

You naturally draw your attention towards that. 

In a virtual world, we’ve spun up a Slack channel called the Belt. And so managers or reps, when they close the deal, are posting in the Belt, so that everybody is aware of it.

“But on the last day of the month, a couple of us still go in on that last day because we close so much typically, and we read off all the deals and we hit the gong for everybody,” explains Bryerton.

“We send that video out to the whole team, so they can get riled up throughout the day.”

The slack channel “#The_Bell” isn’t just a place to ring the (virtual) bell or smash the (non-existent) gong. High-fives exist. So do kudos to team members who helped bring a deal across the line. 

Henry even hops in the channel to offer to join or make calls with reps if that will help. 

For Brian Vital, ZoomInfo’s Vice President of Sales Development, superstitions still hold a close place in his heart.

“On our side, my only rule is you don’t touch the gong. I preserve that as a right for the account executive team. It motivates my team; just one actual little bit of motivation to get into the account executive team,” he explains.

“We had a few cases where we’ve had really large demo days or a completed meeting record broken and a person came up to me and like, “Can I go hit the gong?” And I’m like, “No, you may not!” It’s sacred to the account executive team.

For us, that level of salesroom energy is a core part of our culture. Regardless of the team you’re in, you’re excited to see the screenshots of big celebrations or Henry’s motivational slacks. It’s a company-wide energy.

“We actually have a Slack channel that has roughly 500 employees inside it. And when there’s large deals that are closed by Steve’s team, we typically give a shout-out to the SDR that set up that meeting and then the account executive that closed that meeting,” explains Vital. 

“It’s one of those things that we’ve added to our motivation repertoire as we went working from home. And it’s really cool, at any given time, you’ll see four or five, six, seven notes in that channel, where it’s Kudos to Mary for teeing up a meeting for John that closed for x, y, z. So that’s been one way to have everyone keep the energy going despite everything going on around us”

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