The Sales Engagement Podcast
The Sales Engagement Podcast

Episode · 10 months ago

3 Remote Challenges for Leaders & How to Overcome Them w/ Anup Khera


Remote work is for real now. How do organizations best address the internal needs of their remote workforce?

Recently on Sales Engagement, I interviewed Anup Khera, CRO at Smarp, about strategies for leaders to improve employee communications and overcome the challenges of the remote working environment.

What we talked about:

  • The 3 areas that remote work permanently changed
  • Versatile strategies for combating Zoom fatigue & fostering culture
  • The importance of emotional intelligence for leaders

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

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Welcome to the sales engagement podcast.This podcast is brought you by outreach, the leading sales engagement platform, andthey just launched outreach on outreach, the place to learn how outreach well doesoutreach? Learn how the team follows up with every lead in record time aftervirtual events and turns them into revenue. You can also see how outreach runsaccount based plays, manages reps and so much more using their own sales engagementplatform. Everything is backed by data pulled from outreach processes and customer base.When you're done, you'll be able to do it as good as they do. Head to outreach Doo on outreach to see what they have going on.Now let's get into today's episode, all right. So welcome everyone to thesales engagement podcast. I am Caitlin Kelly, manager of sales development in a MIAfor outreach and cofounder SCRS anonymous, a community for SCR and SCR leaderswhere then come together and ask questions and on it anonymously to share insights inthe wealth of knowledge throughout I have a nup here with a Cerero over atsmart and up. You want to give us a little introduction to who youare in your career paths so far. Yeah, thank you very much,petty and fusful. Thank you for invioting me on money. Is a newKiro and chief revenue fir here. It's small, so small, if youdon't know. Is An employee communications and advocacy platform for the enterprise. We'regoing to help companies with company and vision alignment and increased productivity across their workforcedby aligning corporate and frontline workers. So that's what I'm currently doing at amoment of had, I probably say, the best part of fifteen years incell leadership, mainly Bo selling marketing technology solutions. A bit of a changein employed communications here. Fantastic. We're super excited to take a deeper daykind of India experience, especially as we kind of wrapped up this pastor andthis remote working environment. When we had previously taught, we were talking aboutsome of like the challenges that Cros may be facing as they did transition tothis remote, remote working environment. So I'd be curious to know as wewere scaling and onboarding, you know, many new hires in this type virtualspace and you don't know how the opportunity to create that connection and need themin person that we were used to. What were some of the challenges thatyou kind of face as you went throughout this process of a last year?Yes, so I'll probably start with the fact that everyone's moved to kind ofremote working and due to the pandemic and where we are, our business actuallykind of because it's a mobile first employe communications platform, meant the we kindof started to grow significantly for our time, which meant that we were there wasa requirement to hire more people and the hiring process had to kind ofreally change. Okay, so the normal...

...process that we had, that wewould have in place for a while, would always be to me are theenter a new smarpers facetoface, where would always look to kind of test fora culture, to make sure they would a good fit, to make surethey were the right person for the role and the best person for our company. Now, the challenge that we faced meant that from from the beginning welooked at, okay, what's our interview process look like? How are wegoing to adapt that? So first of challenges, you can't meet people facetoface. The other challenges would be around the coaching and the Nableman normally when you'rean environment when new or new stances or people on boarding, there's that kindof peer to peer knowledge sharing which happens naturally in a workplace or a workenvironment which the no longer going to be there. And I suppose to lastit would be the challenge of new stances when you join a company, whenyou are the new be sometimes you need that kind of people around you tofeel part of a team and some of the challenge we could looked at therewas how do we avoid people feeling isolated because you can't have the chat bythe coffee machine, you can't have the Monday morning when people coming how wasyour weekend? So how do you make sure that people are part of thebigod teams? They were kind of some of the the challenges that we faced. Yeah, I definitely. I feel like that is so relatable to somany people out there as they kind of went through that. It's how doyou create that connection without actually being able to in real life? Right,there's no more water cooler conversations that we were able to have anymore, andI think you pread a nailed on the head. There is you have tothink about the way we are enabling our new highers and bringing them on,and how are we kind of sharing that knowledge when you can't just, youknow, lean to the next ask and ask these questions as efficiently as youmay have been before when you kind of were tackling these challenges? What weresome of the strategies that you were able to implement to ensure that this they'reon boarding was successful? Yes, so, good question. Tile. In thewe it started really from the the first step, which the interview process. Okay, so when I looked at the interview process that we had,we had to redefine that. So what did that look like? I thinkthat invote. It looks like involving more of the why the team in theprocess, and there's a couple reasons so that. One it ensures that wehave potentially go to right fit, because more people are taking a view onthat individual and then being the right personal sort of pit a role, butalso gives the candidate an opportunity to get a real sense of the culture,okay, by meeting different people, not necessary in that department but throughout thebusiness. So I kind of get a fit of what it would be liketo work as small as well. So it was about our selling our cultureinto the individual. Once we had decided on the right higher I think welooked our on boarding process. Normally are on boarding process people kind of getto go to HQ, they spend some time there, but with no onetraveling, we had to kind of look at that and we kind of brokeit down into two parts, that the...

...first part being a week which wason boarding across the wider business. So this is where various stakeholders and departmentalleaders and their teams would get involved in kind of getting an overall feel anda flavor of their roles their departments to new hires. That way it alsogave people connections to know, okay, if I've got this problem, whocan I reach out to? CAND now I've kind of got a face andI've met someone's I feel comfortable in being able to reach out. And thenthe second part, which was the second week, was probably more focused onrole specific. So whether it's account management or new business, what's our kindof processes, what's the kind of people that are involved, and also thatkind of buddying up so we give someone a buddy so they have felt comfortable. I think one of the things to consider is that when you are scaling, you can't do it all on your own as a sounds leader, andthis enables us to hire more people, because we needed to, but alsoshare the workload, which was kind of really important to happen because it justmeant we were kind of effective of our time as well. So yet thatkind of the processes. We change what we did to onboard and you startedas well as small things like regular touch points and check ins, because youdon't get that. But it's, like I said, to have the watercoola chat, old a coffee machine chat, just a regular touch in and smallbits of encouragement all the way throughout the process when the first some boarding. Definitely you just had to touch to one thing there that I thought wassuper interesting. You'd mentioned. You know, as you're scaling, it's important thatyou do leverage other people and resources and you kind of spread out theresponsibilities there. I think one thing that is like a lot of leaders willthink to is feel maybe have this feeling where they have to do it allon their own. But kind of one of the beauties and if you doshare that responsibility, everyone is then growing in the same direction and you canactually go a lot further if you're kind of spreading out that responsibility to yeah, hundred percent agreeing. It's proofs to be fruitful for us as well.Yeah, amazing. All right, so that's great. We kind of coveredthe onboarding and the hiring portion. Think one of the key things that manyof us have struggled with is how do we keep everyone motivated and engage,especially in this virtual environment. There's zoom fatigue, it's backtoback meetings. You'rekind of missing those conversations and the Waterfoloor chat. So I would love toknow what are wee piece of advice that you would get in terms of keepingthings more an engage? Yeah, that's a yes, I think from fromthat same point I did the free things I would probably break that down andbe would be to listen, to have like clear communications and expectation set andthen encourage. And if I probably look at a little bit more. WhenI say listen, it's trying to get behind the first wall to understand whatpeople's frustrations are, what's working well,...

...what the blockers to success are.Okay, if we can understand that, I believe that we can remove thoseblockers where possible, but ultimately feeling hurt is really important for people. Rightif you feel like they're a challenge, rather than kind of ignoring it,to just take the time to listen to people feel heard ensures that they feellike, okay, the company I'm working for, the team, when workingfor the leadership that we have, really care guy. So I think it'sabout listening. The second one is about always having open and clear communication.So the ability to set expectations of what does good look like right now?Okay, so doing you and what you're doing in your role, this iswhat good week looks like. Okay. So that's kind of real clear communicationson what that is, and especially for new employees who are, like Isaid, they're not going to come in and close deal straight away. They'rekind of a round period. So if you just look at the measure ofof like, okay, deal with closed or pipeline, that's great and it'sa metric we definitely look at, but it's about the smallest thing. Soit's a small window, like this is what a good week would look likefor your particular roles. That I know what they're aiming for. And thenagain I think that's held off with the encouragement, to celebrate the small windsand don't spend too much time projecting ahead of the end result. What wasgood this week? What did you learn? What are you going to do differentlyand start to keep people motivated feel like they're being listened to as well? and has said that remains of the compound of fact. You just focuson like one little when, day after the after day, eventually you'll getto the end goal, which is closing the looking to achieve their awesome Ithink that is great to start there. So okay, guys, if wekept kind of unpacking the layers here and kept going for onboarding to the hiring, so they're motivating. As we think of see the impact of even moreten yeared reps that I had were working for you and kind of making thistransition coming from being, you know, in an office experience going into virtualexperience. What would you say were some of the internal impacts that you noticedwith that, like how are you able to pivot and overcome these challenges?was there productively within the role? Well, I would love to dig into thata little bit that you mentioned this further. The big ones is isin fatigue, right, so we all suffer from it. I think whatused to be before a if you needed to kind of get some information oryou you had a question, sometimes it's just tapped to colleague on the shoulderwho's next to you and ask the question. Now you feel like I need tohave that question. Yes, you are kind of collaboration tools that youcan use, but ultimately you find yourself having zoon called after zoom balls.So that definitely something that was a challenge that we faced. When I lookat the ten yard reps and team that been there longer like it's that theyused to working with their colleagues and now...

...they're missing these their colleagues and there'san element of can a bit of the culture get lost, because we areat home on our own right and along with the culture potentially being at riskif you don't act upon it, it's the ability to know what the widerbusiness is doing. Right. So, did they get the full picture?I know what I'm doing in my day to day role. I've been toldwhat good looks like, but what's happening in other departments right? So,and we're to spend their time? There's so many things that are going onin the day to day is okay. How do I how do I spendmy time the best and where do I spend my time? What do Ispend my time on in or to be successful? So I think there weresome of the challenges. It also overcome those kind of challenges. We lookedat a number of different things we can do. We always encouraging people tokind of stay healthy, take that break from from zoom or your work rightlike, even if it's a go, will take a run in the afternoonor if you can, like if you need to finish up early. Ipersonally do it myself to show that it's okay as well. I know afew leaders I've spoken to have started doing it and say and know that you'reactually it's okay to take a break. Okay, because we hire adults inthe organization. People treat it like their own business, so we give themthat level of trust and responsibility that they're going to do what they need todo for their job in their clients. But you need to kind of keepfresh and healthier Wi you the danger of burnout. I think the other thingsaround culture. I think there's like smaller things that we do from I thinkeveryone's friend through the stage of let's do a pub quiz and kind of beerson a Friday or at the end of the day. So we still kindof doing the smaller events. As a company we did wider events, sowe did like an online Christmas party this year. Still keep the culture going. We've gone event coming up at the end of the quarter which should beinteresting. It's going to be like a company awards, but then we're goingto tell that off with digital karaoke event. So I probably see if that's goingto be good or not. I'm hoping that people are actually good singers, but it could be quite dangerous. So there's the event side to keepthe culture and I think when I looked at last point about the given keepingpeople informed, we have now more frequent town halls. Okay, and aswell as that, the leadership team, as in the exact team of gota monthly amy ask me anything session where we really open. Anyone in thebusiness can ask any question around any department, any of our higher level strategic goalsand what we're looking and how we're what we're moving to and we wantto be open and just be able to tell people what we're doing and Isuppose. The last one I'd probably say is that we are an employee communicationsplatform provider. We practice what we preach, so we keep our people informed byusing our own technology really to make sure that there are our teams knowwhat's happening within the business. Amazing. Lucky you all over smart group,leveraging the platform that you're selling. This is and it's it see you firsthand. I love the fact that you...

...guys are doing monthly amas. That'sawesome. Just to open up that conversation to everyone as in the team.Just to have that resource there for them and have it be accessible as hugereally gives them the opportunity to ask the questions that they may have, evenif because I feeling even if we were in office setting, they may nothave even had that opportunity. So even bringing that on to a monthly basisreally opens up that door for them. Yeah, we can work just onthat. We we also kind of keep a safe place, so people wantto play that. This is they want to kind of identify themselves as askinga question or they can just mark it as look, how we want toremain a nonymous to why the business. So just make sure it's a safeplace for people to ask questions to the white leadership team. I that's amazing. Kind of looking back on my experience the train to some of the challengeswith the zoom fatigue, but it's also keeping like the culture there and mixingit up with these different experiences. We found some really creative ones on ifyou go to air B and be experiences, there's tons of different ones that youcan do. There's like wine tasting, there's costume making, you there's evenlike jazz concerts, like wide range of all the things, which isfun. I cannot take some of those might take some of those tips onboard. Tied for the next event that we do. Definitely I am.I am looking forward to hearing more about this. Karaoke. I'm a bigfan of Karaoke. So well, Karaoke within the office environment. Love itawesome. I mean this actually leads me nicely and to my next question.And I feel like you're you all are doing an amazing job, awreath smartwith this. So, with people feeling, you know, isolated and disconnected,how have you been able to create that culture? You touched a littlebit about different experiences. Is there anything else that you'd want to add?That you feel has been beneficial that we haven't touched on quite yet. Yeah, I think from from a culture standpoint, especially when you are a smaller organizationthan the large corporate cultures, massively bots everyone anyway. But it's worncompany. I think people are sometimes wearing lots of a hat, so youwant to make sure if they enjoyed the work, work with a colleagues,the culture is really good. So outside of the the met the events Imentioned earlier around a Karaoke and some of the wider events, lots of thingswe're doing. I personally, I've treated the a virtual office, so it'salways on right so obviously like it's a zoom link or where people can justcut dropping in at any any moment in time. They can feel they canask questions rather than just having to book time, because sometimes it's a quickthing that you just want to to ask and kind of move on. ButOh, I want them to feel like they can always come and approach andask the question. That also helps really with the new on boarding and employeeas well. Say there's always someone to ask and is it never a sillyquestion? We can kind of help. I because a business we've been really, really good, because I think employee well being has been front of mindand really been ACCELERAT. It's always been important to us, but I thinkwe've really been accelerated due to the current...

...situation and, for example, theChristmas gift smart dates all its smartpers this year was employee well being. Witha frind of mind, we offered all of our employees either a subscription tolike a meditation APP of fitness APP or audio books, just to make surewe are kind of aligned than they're getting something else that can kind of supportthem in there. We've also HR as a wider project initiative or working withall of the leaders across our business to ensure that we are always got apulse on our people. I think it's really important now more than ever asa leader to have high levels of emotional interel legends and be not be afraidto kind of ask people how they are and not just take the automatic responseof I'm fine, which we all do, but to really dig in on howyou are. And I did that by myself by just spending booking timeout and grabbing thirteen minutes with each and every member of the sales team individuallyto kind of have a conversation around how they feeling was working. What's notnot work related. It's just like how you as a person and almost openingup myself with being able to admit that this task thinking, and then thatallows your people to kind of trust you and open up. And then we'velooked at technologies as well. So currently I'm working with a company called youhubs, which is a performance intelligence platform as well. So it really helpsSales Team with regards to coaching by identifying the gaps where they need potential helpand coaching from an individual standpoint, which is more and more difficult to doremotely. But it also gives you a sense and the feel of how motivatedpeople are and how they're feeling any particular point as well, which is somethingthat is important. So so yeah, a few initiatives that are going onat the moment. To Be Short, we continued to the right thing.I love all that. I think a lot of those are super fantastic.The virtual office setting, and I have to say is the first time I'veheard of that and I think that is an amazing way to overcomes in fatigueas well, because if you're notice on like especially for me. I'm acalendar. It's like, okay, fifteen thirty minute back to backs, backto backs, and sometimes it doesn't take the full thirty minutes for those quickconversations. It's just a five minute conversation and then they're left with this awkwardgap in time in your count. So I love the idea of a virtualoffice. I think that is all like a great tip that a lot ofus can do is especially to make ourselves accessibul to everybody to maintain those kindof connections and the open communication. Yeah, agreed. It's it seems a rathernate did well amazing already. So kind of like one last fun questionfor us here, you know, as we look ahead to this year,what is it one thing that you would want either crrows or anyone within salesto, you know, start implementing? What is one thing you'd love tosee more of? Okay, I think it's pretty good question. If thisone thing, I would say that if you are in a glow, willcells leadership row or sells Dada, I...

...think anyone listening with testify that youdon't really have much free time in your diary. To have that free timespretty rare, but it's I think it's about taking the time to check innot just on the kind of the commercial side of it, so the numbers, the pipeline, which is a big part of the job, and Ithink most leaders would be checking on the emotional will being anyway, which wedo, but I think right now where we are, I think they justneeds to be a little bit more emphasis. Be My advice to take the timeto understand how you people are, how they feeling, because I kindof have an opinion that if you look after your people, your people lookafter the number anyway. So I think that's would be my bit of advice. I love that. That is a great way to end in if youlook after your people, your people will look after the number. Fantastic.All right. So, everyone, you heard it here first, with anew from smart Kitlyn Kelly, with outreache. Thank you again for joining us onthe sales engagement podcast. A new what is the best way for I'mgoing to get in touch with you? is they are looking to connect orreach out? Yeah, you can definitely connect with me on Linkedin. Likewise, it's a new dot Kira at smallcom. All right, and Hasta have agreat afternoon. Everyone. This was another episode of the sales engagement podcast. To help this get in front of more eyes and ears, please leaveus a shining five star review. Join US at sales engagementcom for new episodes. Resources in the book on sales engagement to get the most out of yoursales engagement strategy. Make sure to check out outreach that I oh, theleading sales engagement platform. See you on the next episode.

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