The sales productivity success at salesforce.com is attributed to the leadership and mentorship provided by Frank van Veenendaal, the executive vice chairman leading all things sales for over a decade. An important lesson fro m working for Frank was experiencing the power of aligning sales productivity with our go-to-market strategies. We lived in sales and we iterated our programs together with sales leaders. We charted new territory and created a new way to sell subscription software services in a “software as a service” (SAAS) world. We rolled out several transformational initiatives that resulted in unprecedented sales productivity growth. We experienced improvements in customer-facing selling time, pipeline quality, and win rates. We evolved from a single-product company to a multi-product, multi-solutions company. Our creativity and innovation in sales productivity are definitely responsible for a big part of this success.
Global sales productivity was a program machine. We onboarded thousands of salespeople and customer-facing employees. We ran over one hundred sales boot camp programs. We ran thousands of training events, including several sales kickoff events, some of which were in places like Las Vegas and others that were delivered virtually. We created a set of sales values that anchored all of our sales productivity initiatives and deal-based activity. We iterated the sales process and the supporting sales automation technology many times to meet the changing dynamics of the market and the competitive landscape. We executed thousands of deal support requests, helping salespeople improve win rates and grow their deal sizes. We curated the delivery of the content, training, and sales playbooks.
There are several themes that emerge as I reflect on this amazing experience. First, the best and most productive sales teams and salespeople had a shared consciousness, understanding, and intensity of how to sell and how to win. They were united by a shared set of values. They were connected by a culture and common language anchored in creativity, curiosity, and customers.
Second, the best salespeople and sales teams were ready and willing to share their experiences with one another. “Win as a team” and “never lose alone” became mantras rather than rhetoric. The most successful salespeople were open to sharing their deal strategies and winning sales tools with their peers. Communication lines were opened on teams, across teams, and between geographies. Winning and losing sales experiences were shared by sales- people through mentoring, in team meetings, and at global events like sales kickoffs.
Third, the salespeople that were the most successful were the ones that had a hunger to improve their skills. They were ready to invest time in self-development and sales training. They appreciated and respected the need to refresh skills and learn from each other.
As I was writing this book, the word SalesHood emerged as a concept that captures the essence of what makes salespeople and sales teams successful. SalesHood came to life when I started thinking about the words community, consciousness, and experience in the context of the sales world. After bouncing between philosophical books, blogs, and Wikipedia, I landed on a term that stuck with me: “selfhood.” This means a lot of different things to many different people, but one definition that emerged was “the fully developed self.”
I thought, What would a fully developed sales executive look like? How would a salesperson realize his or her full potential better and faster? I applied the selfhood principles and definition to the sales world and saw parallels. The way a sales executive actualizes his or her full potential as a winning salesperson is by reaching a state of confidence, competence, and consciousness, both individually and with the team. The social side of salespeople learning from each other is critical to the power of sharing experiences and best practices. After reaching this point, the word SalesHood jumped out at me. The amazing part of this story that I still can’t believe was that the URL was available, too!
This entire text is taken from the preface of the book “SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed” published by GreenLeaf Book. To learn more about the book or preorder today for you and your teams by clicking here.