A Survival Guide for the Chief Revenue Officer: Your First 90 Days on the Job


By Russell Sachs

With one in five Americans planning to change jobs this year, you soon may be one of millions who find yourself at a new company. For those in a high-pressure field like sales, making a move can be particularly stressful, especially as you try and acclimate to the new company.

I recently found myself in this situation when I joined BetterCloud – a rapidly-growing tech company focused on user lifecycle management, data discovery, and IT and security automation for SaaS applications – as the company’s new chief revenue officer (CRO). Upon my arrival, I had to quickly learn the ropes, gain trust from senior leadership, determine priorities, and earn a few small, but notable, wins along the way.

Reflecting on my experience during the first 90 days, I identified three key lessons from stepping into a position leading sales at a startup that I thought would be helpful to share – regardless of what managerial or executive role you may be filling.

Listen before Speaking

As a new member of any organization, it is important to recognize that the people at the company have been doing things long before your arrival and have acquired a lot of valuable “tribal knowledge” and wisdom, so seek out conversations with as many colleagues as possible to help you learn the ropes. Even though you may have preconceived notions of how to run things, listening is paramount at the beginning of any new job, no matter the level, or role, you occupy in an organization. Part of the listening process includes asking the right questions and going beyond the basics of what you’ll need to get through each day.

While there is no right or wrong way to conduct discussions, I like to frame my questions by focusing on what people are doing well and what people believe can and should be done better. For example, I like to ask leaders and veterans of the company

  1. If they had a magic wand, what would they change today?
  2. By contrast, what would they fight like mad to preserve?

Try to figure out the most common and pressing frustrations and successes, and then ascertain how best to prioritize them based upon need, impact, and complexity.

Applying it to my personal experience at BetterCloud, by listening to my colleagues and asking probing, thought-provoking questions, I learned that culture, clearly-defined work paths, and building the BetterCloud brand and community were key priorities of the company as a whole. Knowing this helped me effectively manage my teams and map out a fitting sales strategy.

Although you are a member of the team, it can be effective to take a consultant’s approach early on so you can gain trust among your peers. In soliciting advice, it’s OK to remind others that you were brought in for a certain expertise, but be careful not to prescribe a solution until you thoroughly understand the symptoms. After a comprehensive listening tour it’s important to take action, set expectations, and identify some early goals and targets for you and your team.

Look for Short-Term Wins to Demonstrate Your Value Internally

Working in any organization is a marathon, not a sprint. It is highly unlikely someone would be expected to join a company and make a massive impact in their first week on the job. However, it would be wise to look for a few small wins to quickly gain the confidence and support of your team and fellow members of the leadership team in the organization.

In the case of a sales leader, it’s important to understand and evaluate the infrastructure supporting your sales team – sales processes, methodologies, tools, personnel, etc. – to initially ascertain what is in place and what can be improved upon. For example, within my organization, I identified an opportunity to improve upon the way the sales team was forecasting opportunities. The company was using the same forecasting process it had implemented when it was much smaller and selling a simpler product. As the company matured, though, it needed to adjust to a more sophisticated set of buyers and a longer, more complex sales cycle.

Applying this to my experience, we learned the sales team was employing a process that wasn’t mapped to the buyer’s journey. From an early stage, this change required reevaluating how we define an opportunity and whether it makes sense to commit time and resources toward developing them. We implemented a new sales process that more closely aligned with our buyer’s journey, built content to help educate the prospective customers along the way, and implemented a sales methodology that more closely aligned to expectations around forecasting. Using the MEDDPICC sales methodology (an acronym that stands for Money, Economic buyer, Decision process, Decision criteria, Partners, Identify pain, Champion, and Competition) we moved from a reactive to a proactive sales approach, which aligned toward managing bigger, more complex deals. Members of the sales team are now able to better understand the dynamics of each deal and more accurately forecast when, and if, an opportunity will close.

Another area on which we focused was the company’s methodology around expanding its customer pipeline and driving new prospects to the sales team. After spending time with marketing and our SDR team, we learned the sales and marketing approach to drive new prospects had been the exact same since the company’s creation four years earlier. By partnering with the marketing team, we examined the buyer journey and spent time aligning our collateral and lead generation toward supporting that journey. In just a couple of months we have seen a dramatic improvement in both the size of our pipeline and our forecasting accuracy.

Other key considerations for quick internal wins include evaluating how and when to use POCs for clients, employee and team review processes, compensation models, call scripts, data access, and key performance indicators. While all of these aspects may already exist at your organization, they may not be optimized for the current team or the company’s current stage. With a fresh set of eyes and no inherent bias about the company, newly-appointed leaders can step back and calibrate whether the materials, processes, and people are properly aligned with the trajectory of corporate growth. Making small tweaks can yield big results and much more visibility and impact on viable deals, which is vital to a growing sales team.

Do Not Fear Giving Honest Feedback

So, there you are – hired by a company that has evolved from an idea in the founder’s mind into a fast growing, venture-backed, thriving organization with a tremendous customer roster and fantastic product. It’s easy to get intimidated and believe that everything done to date is working great. You need to remind yourself that you were hired for a reason! So, after your listening tour and as you get your hands dirty and start to identify opportunities for improvement, you must speak up! For example, does the company’s message resonate? Can you quickly discern what your organization does and how its message is being received by the market? Analyzing your existing messaging and content may yield small results (such as building a new deck) or more comprehensive adjustments (such as overhauling the main marketing message and collateral to reflect what the company represents). Giving prospects a greater understanding of what the company stands for will help them make better decisions, shorten the sales process, and save both client and vendor many headaches.

In my specific instance, I sat down with each of the executive team members and gave them specific feedback to help improve communication between, and among, departments. We worked collaboratively to fix certain things, and left others unchanged. Did they agree with everything I highlighted? Absolutely not! But they loved that I was bringing a new perspective and was willing to roll up my sleeves to improve things. Along the way, the process brought us closer and helped me earn trust and respect.

Establishing yourself quickly in a new organization is a daunting task, but you can be successful by first ensuring you build consensus from the leadership team – listening and taking the time to explain your observations and justify your recommendations. Once you have buy-in, speak up and focus on driving urgency, accountability, and ownership among your teams. When and where you see things that need to be changed, move quickly and take measurements afterward.

Finally, remember that you can’t accomplish everything overnight. But, if you go into your new job with an open mind, a winning attitude, and the tenacity to succeed, great things can and will happen.

screen-shot-2016-09-15-at-11-03-42-amRussell Sachs is Chief Revenue Officer at BetterCloud. He a veteran sales leader with more than 15 years of experience building winning sales teams and driving dramatic revenue growth for SaaS and enterprise software companies. Prior to joining BetterCloud, Sachs served as executive vice president of Sales at Work Market where he grew top line revenue tenfold in just three years. Sachs also previously held the position of sales director for Large Enterprise Services at Dell, Inc. Find him on Twitter at @RussellSachs

How To View Failure and Roadblocks in a Positive Light

sales leadership roadblocks Great leaders don’t fail less than the rest of us. The truth is, they fail frequently, but successful leaders learn to see failure in a positive light.

According to Patti Johnson, author of Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life, setbacks are a signal to stop and take stock. Maybe it’s time to abandon this particular project and move on to the next thing. On the other hand, maybe this is the exact time to double your effort. No matter which route you choose, you first need to address your underlying emotions about whatever setback you’ve encountered.

Learn to Roll with the Punches

First, remind yourself that, from time to time, all leaders struggle with failed initiatives. Disappointment and other negative emotions are natural reactions.

For example, Johnson describes a feeling of disbelief hitting her team after a key sponsor said that the global change initiative the team had been working on needed a whole new outcome. The directive came “after months of work and a widely communicated launch date.” Johnson’s response to her team? Roll with it.

“I told them we had one night to be frustrated and angry,” she writes. “But the next morning all energies were to be spent on how we could adjust our plan.”

Focus on What You Can Control

Once you move past your initial disappointment, Johnson recommends focusing on what you can control. She cites Stephen Covey’s concept of the Circle of Concern (what we care about) and the Circle of Influence (what we can affect).

“The vast majority of people focus too much time and energy outside their Circle of Influence, in their Circle of Concern. Such people typically worry about things they can’t influence, much less control, such as the weather when they go on a beach vacation or who will become the new leader of their group.” The faster you can get to the “What can I do?” phase of dealing with setbacks, the faster you can start learning from the experience.

Learn from Your Leadership Setbacks

Johnson outlines the following self-assessment questions leaders can use to learn from setbacks.

  1. How credible was your vision or idea?

Whether you wanted to write a book, create a new department, or change a long-standing process, take a dispassionate look at how realistic your idea was. These questions will help you:

What gap or need did your idea fill?

What was the actual impact of your idea?

How much research did you do?

What facts guided you to the idea?

What experiments or tests did you perform?

Why did you believe the idea would work?

  1. Who were your stakeholders?

Were you able to generate enthusiasm and support for your idea from colleagues and decision makers? “This question is to determine if the idea was able to gain traction with others who want what you want,” writes Johnson. “Did you find interest in part of the idea but not all? What resonated and what didn’t? This question helps you determine if it is the idea that needs to be reconsidered, the way it was shared with others, or the execution.”

Again, disappointment is normal when you experience problems that get in the way of your vision. Be patient with yourself and remember that all your experiences, good and bad, can be viewed as growth steps.

“I’ve had many situations where my idea/plan/change didn’t quite gain traction at first, but I knew I was building support to benefit the cause for the next time,” writes Johnson. “Recognize your progress and decide how it can work for you in the future.”

What are your tips for leaders on how they can best respond to setbacks? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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[Image via Flickr / screenpunk]

10 Signs You’re a Great Sales Manager


If you agree with these statements, you’re performing exceptionally well in all your roles as manager. If you come up short, it might be time for a management course or a conversation with your own manager to determine how you can do better.

  1. I know what motivates my salespeople.
  2. I’m familiar with their challenges, both professional and personal.
  3. I’m skilled at managing my time.
  4. I’m skilled at organizing my sales team.
  5. I’m a great salesperson, but I don’t step on my reps’ toes when they’re trying to close.
  6. I’m firm but fair.
  7. I always deliver on my promises.
  8. I create a positive environment for my team.
  9. I listen more than I speak.
  10. I act quickly when problems arise, and I challenge my team to come up with solutions.

Adapted from The Essential Sales Management Handbook, by Gerhard Gschwandtner. 

Three Things Your High-Performing Salespeople Do Differently

By Tony Yeung 

Our clients often ask us to benchmark them against leading sales organizations. Unfortunately, we often find that concrete insight from the data is limited. The data may lack sufficient detail or is hard to collect. Even if we get good information, the chosen sales organizations may not be good models to emulate.

That doesn’t mean, however, there aren’t highly relevant benchmarks that can be collected easily and provide valuable insight. These benchmarks are revealed in the behavior of the high performers within your own organization.

Every sales organization has individuals who consistently deliver superior results. There isn’t any magic behind why these individuals perform; they often just naturally do things differently. Some achieve advances they’re seeking on sales calls more consistently than others. Some salespeople are highly strategic in how they engage their accounts. Still others just do more of the right things that drive results.

So how do you determine these behaviors or benchmarks? We use a diagnostic tool called the Sales Force Activity Snapshot (SFAS) to develop a detailed understanding of salespeople’s behaviors, putting the differences between high-, mid-, and low-performing salespeople in stark contrast. For instance, we recently fielded an SFAS engagement with a sales organization in the hospitality industry, and the insight pointed to tangible growth opportunities for the organization.

Here is knowledge we gained about this organization through SFAS:

Structured coaching activity matters. Salespeople who had regularly scheduled sales-activity and pipeline reviews with their managers outperformed those who didn’t. High- and mid-level performers were about 50 percent more likely to have these one-on-one reviews, and they also had more than 10 percent higher goal attainment than their peers.

Focus is key. High-performing salespeople targeted fewer accounts on average and went more in-depth with those accounts. We found that while high- and mid-level performers did the same number of sales calls every week, the high performers focused those calls on fewer accounts, doing between 1.5 and 2 times as many calls per account. The high performers were also more likely to do systematic account reviews with their customers.

Even the best need to plan. High-performing salespeople were more rigorous in their precall planning. High performers spent about 50 percent more time developing precall plans compared to mid-level performers. We see this time and time again, yet many organizations still don’t put sufficient focus on effective precall planning.

These are just a few examples of the opportunities that SFAS identified. By implementing the right processes, tools, training, and ongoing reinforcement practices, each of these targeted behaviors can be enhanced and spread throughout the sales organization. The key lies in taking a systematic approach to identifying the behaviors of high performers and then focusing on the behaviors we can replicate on a broader basis.

To learn how well your salespeople are using their time, check out the Sales Force Activity Snapshot from ZS Associates.

Tony Yeung
Tony Yeung is principal at ZS Associates.

[Image via Flickr / Kat…]

A Ten-Point Sales Leadership List for 2013

by Gerhard Gschwandtner

As we near the end of 2012, I’m certain about one thing: your success in sales will be dictated by how well you anticipate your buyer’s needs and expectations. Here’s a list of questions that can help you prepare your sales organization to win in 2013.

1. Do you thrive on change?

If your company’s rate of innovation is slower than normal for your industry, you can’t expect forward momentum. Customers are always looking for new ideas. If they can’t get them from you, they’ll get them from your competition.

2. Are you committed to ongoing improvement?

The more you improve as a company, the better you can help your customer’s business improve. Remember that the more customers improve as a result of your sales efforts, the better your bottom line.

3. Are you stretching your abilities?

If your salespeople don’t stretch their abilities, you’ll see a stretch in your company’s liabilities. If your team’s sales goals are not stretched, your cost of sales soon will be.

4. Are you removing all barriers to buying?

If you can’t deliver what your customers want, when they want it, they will surely look elsewhere for a company that can. Are you willing to improve your sales performance to a world-class level? Do you have a plan for mapping your sales cycle to the buyer cycle, and removing all barriers to buying?

5. Do you exploit technology aggressively?

The purpose of technology is to save time for the customer, to manage relationships for the sales team and to help management improve the organization. Is your information technology truly designed to serve people’s needs?

6. Is everyone motivated to win?

People come to work to win, not to lose. Winning demands that the heart be involved in the job. If salespeople love what they do, sales managers will love the results.

7. Do you measure and reward top performance?

Winners expect results, not excuses. Result seekers are scorekeepers. Set competitive rewards commensurate with the levels of achievement.

8. Are you managing meaning?

Rethink, resell and renew your company’s mission. If your salespeople can’t answer the question “why are we doing this?” you cannot expect them to get the job done. Once your sales team knows the “why,” the “how” will be easy.

9. Are you failing forward? I

f nobody makes a mistake in your organization, it’s a sure sign that you’re not growing. Use failure as an opportunity to learn. If you want to triple your success ratio, you have to triple your failure rate.

10. Are you creating trust?

How much trust do your customers place in your company? The answer will be in direct proportion to the amount of repeat business. How much trust do your salespeople place in your company? The answer will be in inverse proportion to your turnover. Do the right thing and you will create more trust.

Gerhard Gschwandtner is founder and CEO of Selling Power, and is host of the Sales 2.0 Conference. Follow him on Twitter @gerhard20.

Why Love (Not Money) Makes Great Leaders: Insight from Dr. Herb Greenberg

According to Dr. Herb Greenberg, founder of Caliper Corporation, great leaders are not motivated by money.

This is just one of the conclusions Dr. Greenberg drew from his extensive research on the qualities and characteristics that make great leaders, which he published in his book, Succeed on Your Own Terms (which eventually became a New York Times bestseller).

Among the hundreds of leaders interviewed for the book, Dr. Greenberg says that each had his or her own unique definition of success. “Each person knew exactly what he or she needed to do in order to feel like a success, short term and long term,” says Dr. Greenberg. “None of these leaders used money as a definition of success.”

Dr. Greenberg (who lost his sight at age 10) launched his own long and successful career with a single great idea — he was convinced there was a market for assessment tools that could help companies assess qualified candidates for job openings, including sales. In 1961, he left his job as a college professor and founded Caliper. He and his business partner began knocking on doors to spread the word about the value of a comprehensive personality test to assess job candidates in management, sales, and customer service. At the end of four months, they had nothing to show for their efforts but a string of rejections. “Many times, I woke up thinking to myself what have I done?” Greenberg told Inc.com in this video interview. In a blog post, he summed up his recollection of that time by saying, “The number of rejections, including being laughed at, cannot be counted — I can only say that we needed face masks to protect us from the doors slammed in our faces.”

Finally, Gail Smith, VP of Merchandising for General Motors, decided to take a chance on them. Just three years later, Caliper was performing assessments for 900 job candidates a month for dozens of clients. Dr. Greenberg told Inc.com that persistence was key to their success. “Fight through the failures, take the rejections … and we say this to anybody who’s looking for a job or a client. People are going to tell you ‘No.’ If you’re ahead of the curve, you’re going to hear ‘No, no, no.’ You need the ego strength to take that beating … and push forward.”

Today, Caliper employs more than 250 professionals in 12 offices around the world and is a recognized leader in using personality tests and assessments to predict success in management, sales, customer service, and even sports. In this video interview, Dr. Greenberg shares a story with Selling Power founder and CEO Gerhard Gschwandtner about a successful basketball player they interviewed.

“Everyone said he had all this talent in the world … but would never be Shaquille O’Neal or a Tim Duncan, or any of the great ones,” Greenberg says. “I said, “What’s holding you back? Why aren’t you as good as you could be?’ He said, ‘I hate this game.’ I said, ‘So why are you playing it?’ He said, ‘They pay me $6 million a year!’ But that’s what stopped him from being a great leader. Not loving his work.”

Watch the interview below between Dr. Herb Greenberg and Gerhard Gschwandtner and discover the top qualities that all great leaders share.

5 Important Blog Posts for Sales Leaders

Busy week with your sales team? We thought so. Here are links to five great blog posts you might have missed in the past week, related to topics especially important to sales leaders (including compensation, motivation, social selling, Sales 2.0, and the new B2B buyer cycle). Happy reading!

Blog Post #1: The smart way to motivate, reward, and compensate sales reps (via Sales 2.0 Conference blog)

Have transparent payout information. Salespeople shouldn’t worry if last week’s deal will be in their paycheck or not. If they can see the deal is credited toward their payouts, they can focus on the next one. According to Zuora, it’s a “dispute killer.”

Blog Post #2: Know your B2B buyer cycle (via Sales 2.0 Conference blog)

Here are three basic questions that sales leaders should be able to easily answer about today’s buy cycle:

  1. How well can your sales team build relationships with customers via a variety of channels?
  2. How well does your sales process map to the buy cycle?
  3. How empowered are your reps to have compelling and relevant conversations with qualified prospects online?

Blog Post #3: Saying goodbye to the good old days of selling (via Selling Power blog)

I have always believed that selling is an art. Today, however, no sales leader can afford to ignore science. Sales 2.0 and technology solutions are making the art of selling measurable in actual numbers. And that is going to have a huge effect on the way we lead sales teams in the years to come.

Blog Post #4: Communicating value to prospects (via Heinz Marketing blog)

Many companies include examples of the problem in their sales presentations, and wonder why prospects don’t immediately light up.

Your prospect isn’t going to buy unless the cost of changing is lower than the cost of doing the same. Isolated, anecdotal evidence doesn’t change that value equation. But communicating the scope of the problem very well may.

Blog Post #5: The effect of social on enterprise selling/thoughts on Marc Benioff’s keynote at Dreamforce (via Sales 2.0 Advocate blog)

As your customers, employees and partners become increasingly connected online, this raises some interesting questions, opportunities and risks in regards to trust:

  • Will we have some kind of open and universal access to ratings and reviews for B2B sales and service professionals as we now see on consumer Internet sites for professionals like doctors? Will enterprise products – and the companies that produce them – be subject to a proliferation of eBay or Yelp-like reviews?

VPs of Sales: Challenge Your Managers to Think Differently About Sales Productivity

status-quo.jpgNo one ever said that you had to be an Einstein to run sales, but his thoughts do apply: “Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” Yet many sales leaders seem to accept living with the insanity of sales ineffectiveness, or sales enablement programs that lack focus.

These sales leaders don’t know how to challenge their HQ team to change the status quo. If you run sales, take this as an opportunity to challenge your team to think differently. Here are five questions to ask.

1) “Tell me your plans for onboarding and sales training/enablement?”

What’s the first thing that your marketing and product managers will mention? If they respond with something about new product capabilities, it’s backwards. We guarantee the results will be out of alignment, and will not be well received by the field sales team.

Bottom line: if you don’t have a single sales-led definition of the strategy and the outcome, go and get one.

2) “Whose journey are we on?”

Progressive sales teams don’t just think about sales process; they start by thinking about their buyer’s journey. At a minimum, it’s a progressive engagement model. Properly adapted, it’s a sales culture change that matches 2012 reality and means better selling results, less waste, and a far better way to organize your training and content.

Bottom line: if you don’t have a well defined buyer’s journey, and then properly map your sales process to it, then get your top field sales practitioners in the room with your sales ops and marketing leadership and develop one.

3) “Do John and Jane know when to ‘go/no go’?”

Do your average sales reps understand what they need to discover and discern, and how this relates to the key “go/no go” decisions they need to make at each stage in the buyer’s journey? Sometimes the best decision might even be to disengage and nurture for the future. Top performing reps intuitively get this and mediocre ones don’t. Therefore, mediocre reps struggle, believing every deal is worth winning. Again, it’s simple. Knowing what you need to know and what you don’t at each stage for “go/no-go” can dramatically improve your sales effectiveness.

Bottom line: get your best reps into a room and ask them to map their “go/no go” decisions against your buyer’s journey. Then bake this into your sales process and ask your sales managers to instill this discipline into their forecast calls.

4) “What sales capabilities are we missing?”

Play “find the missing sales capabilities” with your best people. When critical sales capabilities are not well developed, they prevent your team from engaging, closing bigger deals, or compressing the sales cycle. A hint: less is more.

Bottom line: identify the top three sales capabilities that are the common denominators within your best performers. Then ask your sales managers – does our sales enablement address these? It doesn’t? Perhaps it’s time to send you to pasture.

5) “How well do we coach?”

You probably have multiple levels of sales management. Ask yourself: “What impact do these coaches have on our overall selling effectiveness, and where are my coaches?” Hard experience as professional coaches has taught us that any program where we can’t find committed manager-coaches is flawed.

Bottom line: get your top coaches into a room and ask them how they’re improving performance and how can you help. Document the responses, coach the lesser coaches, and bake it into the performance review process. John Wooden would approve.

Steve Crepeau
Steve Crepeau and Jeremy Barnish are panelists on the “Challenge Your Company to Think Differently about Sales Enablement” breakout session at the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference this October in San Francisco. For a copy of his book, Effective Enterprise Sales Enablement, email him at screpeau@truesalesresults.com.

5 Misconceptions about Sales Enablement Plans

Leading analysts and companies we work with agree on the top issues sales leaders struggle with year after year:

  • conversion ratios are falling,
  • fewer sales reps are making quota,
  • sales rep attrition rates are rising,
  • it’s taking longer to effectively ramp up new sales team members, and
  • there is increasing misalignment between sales and marketing.

To overcome these challenges, every sales leader needs a strategy and systematic program to build key sales capabilities and deliver them to the entire team via focused content and iterative training. In other words, they need a sales enablement plan. For each week that you can shave off the time it takes to get a new sales rep to productivity, you can see the benefits in the form of real revenue dollars. It’s really as simple as that.

8 Things We Learned That Could Move Your Sales Enablement From Yawn to Wow.


Yet, when we sit down with clients to build out sales effectiveness content and training, we scratch our heads at their misconceptions about what sales enablement means. Here are the top five misconceptions we hear:

1) “We’re swimming in messaging content … let’s do some more and organize it better!” At the most basic level, sales enablement requires two key things: the right content and effective training to get it into the brains of action oriented sales people. The skew in a lot of organizations, however, is on volume of messaging content rather than a balance of content and training. Worse, the problem is not just volume, it’s also the type of content they make available – most construct “product-out” messaging, when most effective sales people think “customer-in” messaging.

2) “Just give them the value props and they’ll work out how to sell it.” Sure, maybe the top 20% will do that, but the others will simply struggle and pretend that they get it. A good sales enablement program strives to make “the many” as good as the best practices of “the few” based on tribal knowledge from the field, where the real lessons are being learned every day.

3) “Sales enablement is tactical and should be designed and done by marketing or sales ops.” Sure, both make an invaluable contribution, but the one with the quota should own the show. Our strong belief is that the strategy and ownership of sales enablement should not be delegated by sales leadership to others. Bottom line: sales leadership needs to identify the problem in the gap between company strategy and field sales execution, set a strategy and define outcomes aligned to the buyer’s journey, and orchestrate a sales and marketing process that optimizes your ability to sell more effectively.

4) “Why do it at all? It’s not adding to my top line! Let other companies train our sales reps and we’ll just hire them. Then pistol-whip them to perform.” This is very common in the more, shall we say, “traditional” VPs of Sales (aka anachronistic dinosaurs) who view enablement as just another fad sales methodology or generic sales skills training that they did themselves. Yet, in our two decades-plus of B2B enterprise selling, we have never come across anyone who has been able to staff his or her team with a full complement of such highly performing automatons. In 2012, the reality is that your team is constantly in flux: reps are not making quota, customers are harder to engage, and even normal attrition means you are losing a good chunk of your people annually.

5) “Use technology to deliver the right information at the right time in the sales process to the right person.” Technology is an enabling agent, not a panacea. Salespeople don’t learn by downloading, they learn best by doing and practicing against real world or close-to-reality scenarios in a competitive environment. This, in my opinion is a crucial element that is paramount to the success of any good program.

Steve Crepeau
Steve Crepeau is CEO of True Sales Results. He’ll be a panelist on the “Challenge Your Company to Think Differently about Sales Enablement” breakout session at the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference this October in San Francisco. For a copy of his book, Effective Enterprise Sales Enablement, email him at screpeau@truesalesresults.com.