MD of GrabOne and self described "hustler who gets stuff done", Ryan Watkins joined the Sales Syndicate social evening to candidly share his insights on Salesmanship, Sales Team Management and Innovation. Here's a brief synopsis of what we took out of his entertaining and engaging presentation.
Like many, Ryan didn't start his career in Sales. He started out pursuing a career in Teaching. A huge emphasis through his Teaching degree was learning how to engage with the kids. "Once you've learnt how to engage kids, adults are easy", Watkins joked. His ability to engage people has been invaluable, a key reason he suggested for his success in Sales and then his move into Sales Management.
Taking another piece of his own advice, to "follow the money", Ryan soon realised that a teacher's salary wasn't going to sustain the life he'd envisaged for himself, and that's when he moved into Sales. Most salespeople he observed, take the path of least resistance. They go for the quick sale, but if you "follow the real money" bigger rewards will come. And they did, with Ryan outperforming his sales team peers by 8x. Ryan's focus on the money also brought laser like focus to his efforts. After his first commission cheque arrived, he quickly worked out that each phone call made him $2.50 so he set about making $100 a day, $150, $200. A man on a mission.
He then talked about the importance of developing a strong proposition for your product or service. Connecting with the customer's real need and how your product or service solves that problem. Clearly and simply articulating that benefit to the customer.
Sales Team Management
Ryan brought a refreshing attitude and honesty to the practice of Sales Team Management. Having found himself a young buck managing a team of more experienced salespeople, he again drew on his ability to engage people. As he put it, he "genuinely cared about people". Always having his team's best interest at heart. He encouraged them to bring their ideas to the table, helped develop those ideas and then together with the salesperson they would sell them to their customers. He remained close to the sales process and made sure everyone had ownership of innovation (more on that later), success and failure. He always gave his team honest feedback on what was working, and what was not working. With that approach, Ryan successfully transitioned from Sales into Sales Management.
Ryan nodded to the challenge we all face in hiring the right sales staff. His advice, hire the right attitude first, and then spend time polishing up their sales skills. As a Sales Leader you need to personally invest in upskilling the team.
His final point on Sales Leadership was, if you're looking to engage senior executives and business owners, you need to be able to have conversations outside of Sales. Conversations around wider business challenges, issues and opportunities. Drawing on his MBA studies as a platform, Ryan believed helped him have those broader business discussions.
Innovation (and the use of data)
Ryan talked about the need to keep innovating. He described the evolution of GrabOne from daily deals, to deal site, to their new positioning as a marketplace for deals. Using CRM data to serve the GrabOne audience with relevant offers based on their individual interests, location and time.
So taken is Ryan with the power of data he's taking his own advice once again, and will soon leave his position as MD of GrabOne to join data insight company, [insert company name]. His parting challenge to the audience was to A/B test everything. To put innovation into play and test resulting performance. GrabOne had great success testing a floating Buy button that improved conversion +18%, a padlock on the credit card area achieved another +7% lift, and the "Giftonater" that increase Christmas conversions by +18%.
Thanks to Ryan Watkins for sharing his insights and we wish him all the best for the transition into his new role.