Foundations of a Successful Sales Team Part 3 of 3: Management
This is the third of a three part installment based on the author’s experience building million dollar revenue centers for gig economy unicorns.
TL;DR: Sales matters. It’s not clear where to start. Here’s what you should focus on: Building a sales team brings a laundry list of to-dos: interview candidates, write a script, develop training, implement a CRM, structure commission, and countless other tasks. The goal of this guide is to provide a systematic and replicable approach to lay the foundations of a successful sales team.
Fact one: Measuring sales is easy.
Fact two: Growing sales is hard. Result: It’s not about knowing the numbers, it’s about knowing how to improve them.
Productive sales managers don’t view their team’s output as a number — they see it as an equation. Understand the inputs that lead to high performance — then focus on how to improve them.
1) The rich get richer
(and make you richer too)
Before you make it complicated, focus on these cardinal rules: 1) Salespeople drive sales. 2) If you don’t reward sales, you’re rewarding something else.
Coach your top performers — don’t ignore them.
Imagine this scenario:
Bottom performer- 5 sales / week x 20% Coaching Boost = 6 sales / week (1 additional customer) Top performer- 10 sales/week x 20% Coaching Boost = 10 sales / week (2 additional customers) Result: 2x ROI from coaching top performer to bottom performer. It’s tempting to focus on your low performers — they cause the problems — but everyone needs a coach. Rewarding low performers with your attention at the expense of your top contributors leads to your best team members to feel ignored, and, eventually, resentful. Your top performers — intelligent and motivated — often have the largest improvements from coaching. Top sales managers invest in their top performers, and in return, ask them to lead by example and coach their peers.
Pro tip: The most effective managers and coaches invest the time to understand what motivates each salesperson. What are their personal goals? What are their career goals?
Reward performance. Pay salespeople commission. If you do not reward top performers they will grow resentful of the fact that they are treated the same as the bottom performers. This results in two disastrous effects: 1) top salespeople stop trying and stop producing (think: “I’m twice as productive as John but we make the same amount of money and get the same opportunities. I don’t need to push as hard”); or, 2) they leave for a company that rewards stellar performance, leaving you with a low-performing, unmotivated team.
2) Sales ops is a means. Not the goal.
“A penny saved is a penny.” - Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans Founder
A high performing sales team supported by the right systems and technology delivers value beyond new customers — generating insights to inform your marketing and product strategies. But, too often the systems and procedures your sales team uses are created by people who don’t use them, and end up creating superfluous — building resentment and hindering performance.
As you design the infrastructure for your sales team, here are two guidelines to ensure that your resources are invested properly:
Your tech should not be a tyrant. Too often, (well-intentioned) sales managers implement new systems and procedures that inundate their team with unnecessary work. Designing strong systems is difficult, and when new systems are implemented they often do more harm than good — impeding performance, lowering compliance, and building resentment. Start with asking your sales team how they would approach the problem you’re attempting to solve, (e.g., increase call volume) before altering or implementing new systems.
Provide the best tools. The best salespeople are motivated to perform and will go to the companies that provide the best infrastructure for them to do so. Most companies readily buy their engineers multiple monitors, but settle for discount infrastructure for their sales team — refusing to purchase the best headsets and technology. Providing strong infrastructure attracts and retains top talent, allowing your sales team to focus on selling. To increase the bottom line, focus on growing sales, not saving on technology.
Management is tasked with making the business successful. To do so, they need to understand how the business is doing, but also how to make it better. Just knowing the metrics on your team’s performance will not answer how to improve them.The best sales leaders understand a successful business doesn't always help each employee, but productive employees always help the business. By moving focus from output (how did my team perform this quarter?) to input (how can I help Jamie perform better?) leaders are able to understand how to improve the business.
GetSales is building the highest-performing customer acquisition engine in the world. Previously implemented in the fastest growing consumer technology companies in the world to leverage billions in marketing spend and deliver millions of customers, GetSales combines its highly skilled salespeople with its proprietary data and technology platform to deliver end-to-end customer acquisition. About the Author Garrett Wood is the President and Founder at GetSales Inc., a customer acquisition engine focused Marketplace and Gig-economy businesses. Prior to GetSales, Wood worked at Uber where he created the first National Driver Inside Sales organization and Offline Driver Growth channel.