This year, I am on a mission. On Mimeo’s Talk of the Trade podcast, I am talking to sales and marketing leaders to figure out the secret of successful revenue teams.
Looking forward to ATD’s SELL conference, I considered the lessons I have learned so far from the podcast and what takeaways are most relevant to folks like you who work behind the scenes to power the sales team.
Committing to a Sales Methodology MattersSales organizations always work from some kind of methodology. Paul Butterfield, vice president of global revenue enablement at Instructure, has implemented methodologies across multiple organizations during his career. In his experience, if you don’t have a methodology, you will never be able to plan for success because each salesperson invents a method of their own, which will lead problems.
While there are reasons to choose certain methodologies over others, Butterfield says you don’t need to get too hung up on which one you select. It is more important to choose one methodology and commit to it.
Enforcing the Methodology Is ParamountEvery time you ask a group of people to change, you will meet resistance, and that is no different for your sales team when you introduce a new methodology. Butterfield notes that without manager buy-in, your new sales methodology will go nowhere, so make sure leadership knows it is up to them to enforce your sales philosophies and processes.
By that token, empower salespeople with tools for success within the methodology. When Matt Heinz gave us tips for following up with inbound leads, he mentioned that even seasoned salespeople keep physical job aids to remind them of the questions to ask and processes to follow in any given situation.
Sales “Artists” Should Be on a Short LeashIn my conversation with Justin Shriber, chief marketing officer at People.ai, we talked about how successful chief revenue officers have formulas for success but that they also know when to allow team members to operate outside that formula. Every sales team will have one or two “artists” (as Shriber referred to them) who are naturally successful outside your methodology. While you should allow them to keep doing what they do, make sure they don’t spoil the attitude of the rest of the team.
Leadership Should Model Team CultureOne thing every sales leader I have spoken to agrees upon: your culture must be modeled by managers. For example, Leslie Douglas of JB Sales Training discussed building a culture of feedback to motivate your sales team. She said sales reps only begin to trust the idea of feedback when leaders model it. As a manager, she builds it into her one-on-ones as well as carving out time each week to send out thank-you notes or otherwise acknowledge team members who have gone above and beyond.
Similarly, Butterfield noted that if your managers do not check each sales opportunity to enforce your sales methodology, then your process and your company values will begin to crumble. Whatever you want your salespeople to do, you must rely on your team leaders to model it with their own behavior.
Sales Will Not Succeed in a SiloI like to begin each episode by asking the guest’s favorite thing about their job. Almost always, their answer is the people and, in particular, the strong relationships they have with people in different organizational departments. Nick Bennett described it well. When discussing account-based marketing, he said that sales will not be successful without marketing and vice versa. Each department in the revenue organization must work together or else you may as well not work at all.
These takeaways only scratch the surface of what I have learned from my guests so far. Going into the SELL Conference, I’m excited for everyone to come away with new ideas about what success could look like at their organization. Subscribe to Talk of the Trade to follow me on my quest for the secret. I’ll let you know if I ever find it!