B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

77. Motivation, Morale, and Remote Teams During COVID-19

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Even if remote work was an option for your teams, chances are you weren’t 100% work from home before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Morale can be low and motivation even lower unless we purposefully stay connected with each other day by day.

In this episode, I interview Marianella Mace, CEO of Email Meter, about how she nurtures her team during the pandemic.

We talked about: the importance of individually checking in with team members for 10 minutes or so, when productivity is down, offer help, not criticism, and be agile by shifting industries or — as Marianella did — creating a new product.

Marianella also shared she has drawn on her Sandler training during the crisis

 

To hear this interview, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

You were listening to be tob revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated to helping software executives stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the B Tob Revenue Acceleration podcast, and my name is Dan Seebrook and I'm here today with Marian Ella Mace, CEO at email meeter. By'm Marianella, how are you today? I'm doing pretty great. And what about yourself, Dan? Yeah, I'm good. Thank you. It's starting to become a little bit more normal to be working from home full time. I'm feeling a bit restricted, but other than that, on Howthy and happy. So that's that's all good. So, Marianothera, today we'll be talking about motivating sales teams in times of remote working. Now, before we get into that conversation, could you please just introduce yourself to our audience and also give us a bit of insight into your company, email meet yeah, sure, things. So, essentially, to kind of dive into a little bit about myself and email meeter, I always like to say that I'm in a kind of a unique position where I'm the CEO of email meeter, but I'm also running the sales team and the customer success department, so I always kind of think that it's multitasking at its finest. And so I've been working with email meter and, you know, the amazing group there, for a little over a year and a half now, and it's truly I feel that it's been really special just because I work with such a great team that really care. Everybody cares for one another, which I also think is pretty unique. So I feel very blessed in that sense and really have enjoyed every minute. And then now to kind of switch gears and focus on email meter, to give you, to give you guys a little bit of background about, or insight into, what email meter is. It's essentially and email analytics tool and also a kind of productivity performance tool, and so what we're really aiming to do, or trying to do, is is help business leaders make, you know, better decisions, more informed decisions, using data, and what's really great about the product or the platform is that we can essentially analyze thousands of emails in real time and can compile kind of like detailed insights and really focus on different aspects that different kind of team team leaders or, you know, other positions maybe are looking for and and we can actually tailor it so that way we can really focus on employee performance and productivity. And so, you know, if we, if I had to like mention our mission, our mission is essentially to make teams smarter and more productive through email analytics. And let's actually been really great about the team is because of kind of the state that we're in now, with the pandemic and everything,...

...we were actually able to create a new platform to help small and medium businesses that's kind of like a standard dashboard that has more analytics to offer for teams at, you know, much more kind of affordable price. And so, you know, we we can't make things for free. That we would we would love to be able to do that. This is kind of like our our helping hand it away. Okay, and it sounds really relevant for now, right. I mean talking about your mission is really to help companies enable their their employees to be more productive. In that that's obviously the key kind of message right now for the companies and individuals is how can the seamlessly work from home and or work remotely, wherever that may be, and and how can they be productive while doing that. So that, I'll guess, brings us on to us sort of first real top discussion, which is since covid nineteen, since the outbreak. Well, these in most companies have had to rapidly enable their teams to work remotely, which is naturally impacted the working routine and also the the economy and people's health along with it. But we think about work for a second, how can you, as a sales leader and a CEO, as suppose, how can you ensure that your sales teams are can remain productive, but, more importantly, how do you ensure they remain motivated in times like this when they've had to shift from an office working environment to an individual home base work environment? Yeah, so I think there are a lot of great strategies out there and I think it really depends on the group of people that you have. But specifically kind of for my team and itself, I what I really kind of like to focus on are going to be attitudes and behaviors, and I really became kind of a big fan of this after I did my standlard training. So I I'm really big into Sandler and and this is really helped us a lot and so essentially, what what we've been doing, at least with my teams, is we've been trying to break everything down into the kind of more manageable bites so it doesn't seem so overwhelming, especially because I have a little bit of a team that's not used to remote work, and so kind of coaching them through it and having it in a way where everything kind of seems manageable and all the news and everything that they're hearing isn't, you know, kind of like Doomsday, because you know, if we, if we look on the news almost every day, it's kind of a scary thing because you always kind of see like global economies doomed or, you know, worse than the Great Depression in the S. and you know, what's the new normal? And sometimes I kind of feel like, well, there's so much negativity. You know, how can how can we spend this into something positive? And so I've actually actually, at the beginning, to be honest, I kind of struggled a little bit with...

...okay, do you know, how can I how can I make sure that everybody's happy, motivated and, you know, good to go? And so when when I kind of started diving into more of like, okay, let's focus on what we can control, focusing on how we react to things, the attitudes and the behaviors, finding ways to celebrate, you know, the little wins, and also kind of having more of a nurturing kind of aspect about me. So I focus more on, you know, how are they doing, and not saying that I never did it before, but just spending a little bit more time with them, understanding, you know, like what's going on at home, how are, you know, other things in their life going maybe spending ten fifteen minutes a day with each person, just checking in with them. I think is really important. It's what's really helped us a lot, and so taking the extra time to do that has has definitely, I think, helped, and we're always trying to find ways to laugh and and and kind of enjoy each other's company from a distance some. In regards to kind of motivation, one way that we've kept motivation kind of up is by taking small breaks, and something that we do with with the team is every week we elect a game captain, and so we have one person that you know, we take a break for about ten, ten or fifteen minutes and the game captain kind of chooses a game that all of us play together and, you know, gives us kind of a break to kind of laugh and keep up morale. And one thing that we actually did last week, which was a lot of fun, is a collaborative drawing and so each one of us had to kind of take turns with the Group and point out one thing that we loved most in our house and of course I chose my my daughter, and Catania in the group had to draw her and it came out pretty funny. So I said, when we go back to the office we have to like print it out and frame it and that can be like our Picasso from from our lockdown period. Yeah, absolutely, it's interesting. Mean there's lots of lots of sounds like there's a lot of different things that you're trying to trying to put in place there just to keep the team engaged and motivated and morale as high as possible. I think with sales people it's always tough because from my perspective of both being and coaching sales people and being a shelf person, I think it's I think sales people who's buy their very nature thrive on success and thrive on the big wins, but actually success changes and in this in this time and and actually perhaps success isn't closing the multimillion dollar deals and actually it's just getting small winds that whatever they may be. But but recognizing those small winds can obviously helped with motivation and team moral as well. But yeah, it's an interesting I some interesting ideas are because I'm not sure that anyone's actually got the true answer as to how they can how...

...they can motivate their teams when they're working in an environment that's it's unknown. I mean working from home naturally has a completely different dynamic to working in and office environment. From your perspectium, from what you've seen, being based in Spain, of course, you've had a few more weeks on the than other countries. In working remotely, how you seeing productivity levels? Are you saying that they're higher or lower than the working from from the office? And second to that, how you actually measuring productivity? Are you measuring that based on activity, measuring it based on output, or is it completely changed from from prior to the COVID nineteen situation? Yeah, so again I think that's a tough question in a number of ways because, as you know, being in sales can be kind of mentally challenging, and so you have some days where my team is like they're crushing it, they're doing, you know, their goals or their behaviors, and then there are other days we're being kind of locked at home, not being able to go out. Has, you know, a damper kind of on their mental kind of status, and then that that reflects on on their productivity and I can, you know, see that it's down and maybe they aren't as excited to be able to complete other goals. And so, you know what what we have been doing, as I kind of mentioned before, is trying to break things down so that way, you know, maybe maybe our goals aren't as aggressive as before, and I'm not saying that we're making them, you know, not aggressive at all, but being a little bit more understanding. And so, you know, when when I feel that maybe productivity is a little bit down, then that's when, you know, I'll come in and see how I can help or if there's kind of a block. And the way that we're measuring productivity is is kind of in a couple different ways. So we of course use email meter and to kind of look to see okay, you know, is it maybe a shift in the amount of workload that's coming in? You know, am I noticing productivity is kind of maybe shifting throughout the day where it's becoming a little bit later in the day versus earlier in the day, and trying to look at it more at a weekly level and instead of a daily level, just because of the fact of those kind of the days that you have maybe a little bit too much head trash or that you know, I'm never going to be able to close this sale or oh, I'm never going to be able to do this, you know, because I think we all have those days. And but I think what's really important is that we're measuring, you know, using email meter, we use also we also kind of look at the output, of course. You know, okay, from the deals that that you have been reaching out to, do you know how many hi you convert it? So really kind of focusing on, okay, what what we do have, how are you kind of converting those and from who you have talked to, you know, how much is covid nineteen affecting them and trying to get an understanding of with our customers, because we deal with large and...

...so many different varieties of industries. You know, maybe we need to kind of shift and focus on another industry that's maybe thriving during during the pandemic, so places like manufacturing or hospitals or, you know, with schools, kind of going online and remote the you know, those are kind of what we're shifting towards and then going away, you know, reaching out to kind of like retailers and stuff where, unfortunately, they're not being able to do anything. Another another aspect that we kind of do to measure productivity is at the at the end of the week, you know, we ask everybody, okay, how do you feel that you did, you know, kind of do a little bit of a self evaluation and because I think that's also important that we want to make sure that we're producting, protecting everybody's identity and helping them to keep a high identity, so that way they can really focus on and be positive kind of in about the situation that we're in and that nobody kind of feels or takes on and feels like it's the world against them or that, you know, they're not going to be successful or that we're not going to make it through this. So those are kind of different ways that that we have been measuring kind of productivity and and how I've kind of noticed productivity kind of raising and and falling down, you know, throughout the week and sometimes I kind of noticed like at the beginning, the beginning of the week, it tends to be pretty strong and then, you know, we like Wednesday, Thursday, there might be a dip and then Friday, you know, like if we have our pep talk, then it kind of goes back up. So it's just kind of knowing your team and deciding, you know, what's best for every every single person there and essentially kind of, you know, changing it to fit their style. Absolutely interesting. And you mentioned just in there around, you know, perhaps looking at targets and perhaps actually it's about looking at what you kindly having in pipeline, your current opportunities, and what are you doing with those rather than perhaps other activity. A question that I've been battling in my mind with and talking to other other people in similar positions yourself, really is how this current pandemic may affect targets as we move through the year. So in your own business and in your management of your of your teams, how how are you approaching that our targets remaining the same for the most part? Are you looking to look at adjusting them as we move through the year based on the impacts or the or the anticipated impact of Covid or, at the moment, are you still kind of holding your teams to that original original plan and budget for the year? So what we actually did is we kind of did a shift and we created a new product to help kind of small and medium businesses. So we did a shift just because. So with our platform itself, we have a premium version which is...

...kind of more of a self sufficient and then we had a large enterprise where we had, you know, the you know, several thousand dollars a month or, you know, a hundred thousand dollar deals and stuff. And so with every with people kind of being afraid to invest large amounts of money, we kind of decided, okay, you know what, let's we don't really know how the economy is going to kind of bounce back. So that's why we kind of created this in between product. And so we've created this shift and to try and seed, you know, how perhaps a product that's in between kind of the BTC and be to be this thing that we've created in the middle how that can kind of fair when it's something that people do need but maybe can't the whole company isn't going to be looking to invest right now because, at least I feel, and what we've talked about as a management team, is that so many companies right now are just, you know, what's essential, what can we ford, what can we cut out, and so I think it's I think, you know, the the route that we took was one of, you know, let's see how we can essentially go out there and help as many people as possible, you know, obviously, but but still stay in business where I think that, you know, some depending on the product that you have, you have the ability to, I don't want to say take advantage of the situation, but thrive on the situation or just kind of decide how you're going to recover from it. So we made an adjustment. We I definitely am not holding to the team to what the growth of what we had envision before, just because of the reaction that we've gotten from, you know, people starting to kind of go into the panic state of not wanting to spend money. Sure, okay, that's interesting. And in terms of what you mentioned there about some of the some of the processes you're putting in place and steps you're putting in place really to keep your team motivated and talking and and and obviously you to email me to to manage and track productivity and efficiency. Now a lot of the challenges that we're hearing about in the market today is now they've they've been able to shift their employee from working from home, particularly in the large end prizes. That's obviously a big challenge around having the technology infrastructure to do so, the security to do so and all of that. But now everyone is in that environment and working from home and stept and in doing so, a challenge them becomes will how do you keep talking to your team and communicate the in trying to replicate that that in some communication? What is the impact that you're seeing in companies regarding their way of communicating, and you know how what median these is using most to communicate with their employees? Is it spending more time on video code? Is it in a lot of email traffic? Is it from WHO's how...

...are you seeing people try and replicate that in person communicationing and keep talking with that team? Yeah, so it was actually kind of funny because, you know, we we automatically thought, Oh, you know, with this whole situation, everybody's going to be using email like crazy. And when it first started, my amazing engineering team, you know, ran the numbers because of, you know, all of our different users and we thought, yeah, we're going to see a huge increase on email activity. What, you know, after they were in the numbers, there wasn't really much of a change and what we kind of realized was is that we didn't take into account that each company and each country is being affected by covid a little bit differently. And you know, here in Spain we started a lot sooner, not as not as early as Italy, but we were, you know, right after them and and so then, you know, we decided, okay, let's wait a couple more weeks until the US maybe starts to kind of go through their lockdown and, you know, we ran the numbers again and we saw a small shift and email activity, but kind of nothing crazy. Something that I definitely have seen a lot of people try and do to create that human interaction is a ton more of the video conferencing, just everything that I've been reading in the news about, you know, Zoom Zoom is definitely taking off. Since we're g sweet company, we use Google hangouts and we've been definitely using it a lot more. To Do, you know, are all the meetings that we normally would have had in a person, so all of our huddles, you know, sprints, retrospectives and one on one's. But you know, I think that something that maybe we didn't think about is that we thought email was going to be something that was going to be largely kind of affected by this. But with everybody kind of liking instant kind of gratification in that communication back and forth, definitely think that things like slacker or Google hangouts is something that's being utilized a lot more. Yeah, yeah, I agree and actually, again, a lot of people I talked to and I'm experiencing it myself somewhat, the days working from home almost feel more intense. They definitely a longer, but they almost feel a little bit more tiring as well, because what I've noticed is that when you're in an office, you can go in either talk over the desk to someone or walk across the building someone and it's a dirty second conversation and you're back to your death in you know, working from home environment. It's let's set up a video call and and you end up being on it thirty minutes, and what I've noticed is that tends to be tend to dwell old every single day, back to back on called and it's definitely it's a bit of a bit more intense. And then it comes back to that piece we are talking about at the top of the call, which is how do you ensure that your team of feeling a mentally well and that they are making time for other things like exercise or relaxing or...

...spend kind of family, whatever that may be, because the days can sort of blur into into one in this current situation simply because of that that kind of a constant need to be engaging with people by by video calls and instant messaging and all with that. So very interesting. Taken a lot of the points you made a what we're hearing in the market and it's been interested to hear your thoughts on how you're atacking me, at it, attacking it at email meter. As we're moving towards the end of the podcast here today. Been really interesting to get your thoughts and it's much appreciated and so there's gonna be a lot of people that will want to continue the conversation or hear more directly about yourself or your company email meeter. So if if anyone did want to engage with you or your company, could you give us a feel for what are the best ways for them to get in contact and continue the conversation? For sure? So, you know, obviously at email meeter we always prefer email. So you know, you can always check us out at email meetercom or reach out to you know, myself, Mary and Ella at email meetercom. And so I know that my my first name is kind of kind of a mouthful, but at least we've tried to make it simple. But you know, I think those are the best ways to kind of check us out and definitely, you know, feel free to ask those questions and stuff also via linkedin. That's also a great way as well. Okay, cool, great. Well, once again, many thanks for your time today. It's been been great having you on the show and look forward speaking gains. Yeah, thinkstand. You know, it's definitely a pleasure chatting with you and hopefully you guys stay well and healthy as well. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed for many years, companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See How operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to be tob revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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