How to Build a Sales Productivity Machine

I am going to show you how to create a sales productivity machine. When I worked for SalesForce, we grew from $500 million in revenue to $4 billion in revenue.

My message for today is that first line sales managers make it happen. As an outline:

  • Sales Values – the best sales managers create a great culture
  • Team Cadence – the rhythm of running a business is important.
  • Ongoing Learning – you can’t just learn at sales events or conferences. You have to encourage ongoing learning.

Sales Values

When we were growing SalesForce, we discussed how to create a repeatable sales process for selling and growing. One key element of building our sales productivity machine was determining our values, or what we call our SUCCESS formula. We created these 8 years ago and they’re still used by the organization today:

  • Seed and grow
  • Users sell for you
  • Compelling demos
  • Connect the dots
  • Experience events
  • Sell high and through
  • Show them the money

You can’t just take these values and apply them to your business. You know what your market looks like and what will jive with your business team. Make sure that your values become your mantra as a sales team and guide your decision making as a team. Everything you do should come back to your sales values and success formula.

What is your success formula? What are your values?

Build a Sales Productivity Machine With Team Cadence

Cadence is all about the rhythm of your sales team. One way to create cadence is with a monthly sales team calendar. For example:

Week 1 – Kick off and forecast

  • Increase predictability

Week 2 – Sales Topic & Pipeline

  • Improve Sales Skills

Week 3 – Sales Topic & Pitch

  • Share Best Practices

Week 4 – Close and Celebrate

  • Energize the Team

The difference between sales managers who are successful and those who are not successful is having the discipline to follow a rhythm and cadence in sales.

Balance Best Practice Execution with Inspection

It’s very important for your team to share best practices with one another to create community. This will create a share consciousness across the organization; this is what we did at SalesForce.

If you do not have a culture of communication and a dialogue, then you can’t effectively focus your reps on customer activities that matter.

Learning is relevant, ongoing, and immediately usable

Networking events are important for building culture, but you shouldn’t just be focused on learning at selling conferences. You need to build a culture of ongoing learning in your organization to be successful.

Here are some keys to building a culture that encourages ongoing learning

1 – World-class Onboarding – pre-work, boot camps and coaching

Examples – document your firsts and help your sales people in their first time pitching a new customer, writing an email to a customer, etc. Make successful onboarding a part of your culture

2 – Ongoing Learning – Sales meetings, 1:1s, mentors

3 – Best Practice Sharing – Peer to peer deal strategies, pitches & proposals

Think Like a CEO and Act Like an Entrepreneur

First line sales managers make it happen. You need to own the outcomes.

Walk away with the following:

1 – what is your culture going to be?

2 – what is your monthly sales cadence going to look like?

3 – how are you going to build a culture of ongoing learning?

4 – how are you going to get your sales managers to own the process?

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood a “software as a service” platform and community for sales professionals.

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