What’s the formula for a successful, high-velocity modern sales team?
We come across this question a lot. While we’ve got our own comprehensive guide (see 5 Principles of Building a Modern Sales Team), we’re all about gathering as many perspectives as possible on topics like these.
That’s why we gathered ideas from 11 entrepreneurs and modern sales leaders on the best ways to build and scale your modern sales team. Here’s what we found.
16 Hypotheses For Scaling Sales (From Experts)
- “What I’ve found that’s really helpful is finding SDR candidates who have been in high phone-based roles. My absolute favorite background is technical recruiting. Technical recruiting is a true test of a sales person, especially for someone who comes from a traditional sales pedigree, because you have to blend the skill of talking about C++, Java, Software Stacks, Multi-tiered databases — things that you have to sound like you know a lot about, when you probably don’t — and be convincing and influential. This shows that they’re able to comprehend a deeper level of intellect in their sales.” – Kyle Porter, CEO, SalesLoft [Source]
- “Bear in mind that referrals are what often lead new reps into sales roles. Get your current employees involved in recruiting and play up the career opportunities that are available in your organization. Make no doubt about it, millennials rely heavily on the opinions and experiences of their peers. If you’re running a ‘great place to learn and grow’ or a ‘frat house meets boiler room,’ word gets out.” – Sally Duby, General Manager, West, The Bridge Group [Source]
- “You need to hire, train and make productive a lot of new salespeople — fast. Your sales directors and VPs find it hard to take the time to sit with internal and external recruiters and write job descriptions, screen candidates and develop the systematic training and monitoring and coaching programs for new sales recruits. The difference between ramping a productive salesperson in 3 months versus 6 months could be life or death for a scaling startup. That’s the role of sales operations.” – Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners [Source]
- “If you’re adding new sales staff, sales training is also essential to educate them about processes and products to onboard quickly. Depending on the size of your organization, this can include formal product training, message training and demo certification. You might also consider ‘pairing up’ new reps with a high-performing rep for a few days, so they can participate in demos and calls together.” – Micheline Nijmeh, CMO, LiveHive [Source]
- “Annual performance reviews and training at sales kickoff aren’t going to cut it. New reps want constant feedback, continuous training and development and mentoring. It has been said that Millennials would rather do a job they love than be paid double in a job they found boring. I’d say something slightly different. Compensation still matters, but increasingly, mentoring, coaching and career path are joining base and variable as the new coin of the realm.” – Sally Duby, General Manager, West, The Bridge Group [Source]
- “Start thinking about the roles you need to create early, because it’s going to take longer than you think.” – Aaron Ross, CRO, Predictable Revenue [Source]
- “By this point, if you don’t have a healthy number of ‘millennials’ on your team, you’re in the minority. Despite the stereotypes (social media-obsessed, marriage-delaying, selfie-addicts), Millennials actually stay longer with their employers than the previous generation.” – Sally Duby, General Manager, West, The Bridge Group [Source]
- “My encouragement would be, even in the beginning…have an eye toward specialization and know that that’s what you’re building towards.” – Bridget Gleason, VP of Corporate Sales, Sumo Logic [Source]
- “It’s for sure not painless to specialize, to add roles, but it’s better to bite the bullet.” – Aaron Ross, Author, Predictable Revenue [Source]
- “When you begin to scale a sales force, you desperately need to create a sales operations function.” – Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners [Source]
- “I think you’ll start to see sales operations playing a much bigger role in organizations. Similar to how Demand Gen has played out after the Marketing Automation boom which gave us Marketo, ExactTarget, Hubspot, Pardot, Responsys and more. The Demand Gen role became one of the most critical roles to nail at a B2B sales org as it was responsible for all inbound leads. Now that the sales boom is happening, Sales Ops is the role that becomes critical to building the well-oiled sales machine.” – Max Altschuler, Founder, Sales Hacker [Source]
- “The best sales operations leaders allow the sales team to spend more time selling and less time worrying about reporting, cross-functional coordination and operational management. Sometimes known as the CRO’s chief of staff, the mole for the CEO to figure out what’s really going on in sales, the executive who prepares all the board reports on sales — whatever you want to call it, that role is the absolute secret weapon that every company needs to rapidly scale sales.” – Jeff Bussgang, General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners [Source]
- “Get your enterprise reps used to asking [buyers] what the other priorities are that could derail your project.” – Shep Maher, SVP Sales, GuideSpark [Source]
- “You can have the best technology in the world, but if you don’t have great leadership, it’s all for naught.” – Matt Bellows, Founder, Yesware [Source]
- “If you are a sales leader and feel like a babysitter rather than an inspirational figure for your team, the one tip for you is to UNDERSTAND YOUR REPS better so that you can help them where they need it. Good leaders serve their team. Are you a servant leader? If not, the other tip for you is to learn about that. It will change how you relate to everyone – on your team, with buyers and the world at large.” – Lori Richardson, Founder, Score More Sales [Source]
- “Leadership is not about what you achieve; it’s about what those you are fortunate enough to lead are able to accomplish. We all need to place more emphasis on those we lead and less emphasis on ourselves. Make it your objective to help others achieve their objectives. Despite how focused and intent we are on making our own objectives, we can never forget that ultimately our objectives are not ours, but our team’s objectives.” – Mark Hunter, Founder, The Sales Hunter [Source]
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