Ask A Sales Leader: Bill Otten

Bill Otten specializes in relationship sales of complex outsourcing agreements. He has held positions of increasing responsibility with Chrysler Financial, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, InterLink Capital, ADP and now Executive Vice President of Sales at HealthEquity.

1. Describe how your customer facing teams use your organization’s sales process.  

Most of our sales come through indirect channels (partners) so my sales teams spend most of their time educating and supporting, our partners who are trusted advisors to our end customers. We track leads, opportunities, proposals, finalist meetings, and closing as our sales process in our CRM. In our business we have better visibility into activity levels than we do decisions since those generally happen with the partner in the SMB space. In the large Enterprise space we do have more visibility on decisions.  

2.     What is your Management’s approach to Coaching sales reps?  

We have a formal, one hour, training for the entire sales team every Friday. This tends to focus on more tactical issues the team needs to do their job. My sales leaders focus on field sales skills and are very active with their team members. We recently completed a diagnostic to identify leader burden, those things that keep them from doing field coaching, and we are developing an action plan to reduce the burden. 

3.     How do you reinforce sales skill development for sales reps?  

Over the past 12 months we have begun using certifications to make sure the team is getting the training they need. After each training session all team members are required to take a skill assessment and a minimum score of 80 is required to move forward. Outside of the certifications we have our field sales leaders perform regular assessments on their team members. We use these to guide additional training needed. We also survey our sales rep’s and ask them what they need. 

4.       What advice would you give to other sales leaders ?  

We have all heard the quote “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Strategy is important but creating a culture where sales people feel they are on the right team is more important. Teams can achieve amazing results when they believe in what they are doing. Also helps with attracting, and retaining, the best talent.