Hi guys! I’m Anna Talerico with Married2Growth and I am going to try to give you the 3-minute version of what you need to know if you are a founder, or a startup employee, leading a SaaS sales team. So, I am going to talk really fast and cram it all in.
When we first launched our SaaS, I found myself accidentally at the helm of our sales function, responsible for building and growing our sales team. And at that time there weren’t really many resources to help me learn how to be a great sales leader, so I had to figure it all out by trial and error. This is a quick recap of what I learned along the way—the six most important areas to focus on.
# 1. Recruiting. A SUCCESSFUL SALES TEAM START WITH HIRING THE RIGHT PEOPLE. To land the right people, you need to be thoughtful and considered when it comes to hiring. You can’t wing it.
#2. Quota & compensation. CREATE A COMPENSATION STRATEGY THAT MOTIVATES AND RETAINS YOUR TEAM. You won’t be able to hire anyone if you don’t know how to compensate them and give them a quota. If you are new to sales leadership, designing your compensation plan may feel like one of the most complicated things you have to do. But you will get through it.
# 3. Management. MANAGE, COACH, SUPPORT AND DEVELOP THE TEAM TO BE HIGH PERFORMING. You’ll need to create a stable, consistent approach to managing for results and creating the right culture. Speaking of which, that leads us to…
# 4. Culture. CREATE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT FOR RECRUITING, RETENTION, AND RESULTS. Your larger company culture matters, but more than any other function, sales teams have their own micro-culture. Consider, and outline, the culture you want to create for your team and then use that culture as a tool. Recruit for culture fits, coach based on your culture and values, align your departmental plans with the culture.
#5. A sales process and methodology. DEFINE AND DOCUMENT HOW YOU SELL. A sales process is the steps and stages from lead to new customer. A sales methodology defines how those stages are executed. Think about the process as the steps and the methodology as the skills and approach for each step. You’ll need to define these things for your team, train them and reinforce them on an ongoing basis. Tools and a sales playbook can help. So let’s talk about…
# 6. Tools. IMPLEMENT THE TECHNOLOGY AND PLAYBOOKS THAT ENABLE SELLING. You may start selling with a list of target accounts scribbled on a legal pad, but before you can blink you’re going to need a tech stack that includes CRM, sales productivity, enablement, gamification, specialized analytics and more. A modern sales team runs on modern sales tools. How those tools are used, and the processes around them should be documented in the sales playbook.
Everything you focus on as a sales leader should be in one of these six areas. Anything else is a distraction. Many talented, successful sales leaders started in an early stage company with no first-hand experience. Trust that if you stay focused on your team, your process and your results that you will be successful.
Lay the foundation for a positive culture, accountability, and transparency. Build your repeatable processes and use technology as a tool to help you thrive. Adapt as you scale and learn. And good luck!
If you want more, lots more, on this topic, hop over to the Married2Growth blog and download my 27-page eBook, “Building the Startup Sales Team”. I wrote it for founders and other early-stage startup employees who find themselves at the helm of the sales team without any prior experience. It’s the handbook I wished I had, just to point me in the right direction and get me focused. So, that’s it.
Thanks for watching, I hope it was helpful and I hope you’ll reach out and let me know what you think!