Eat That Frog!, a best-selling book from author Brian Tracy teaches us that the most successful people tackle their biggest, hardest challenges first. Turns out this mantra is true not only on a personal, task-based level, but also on a leadership level.
Jill Konrath, globally recognized sales acceleration expert and bestselling author, recently interviewed five sales leaders at high-growth companies to learn how they are achieving such outstanding results. What she found was these leaders tackle their biggest challenges head on – often times obsessing about them.
Here’s an overview of their obsessions. To get more detail download Jill’s new “5 Obsessions” ebook now.
Obsession 1: Feeding the lead machine
High-growth inside sales leaders depend on leads to fuel growth – lots and lots of leads! They obsess about creating a steady stream of high-quality leads, doing everything possible to optimize those leads with a rigorous sales process, and continuously monitoring lead performance to spend smarter.
For example, At First Direct Lending, VP of Marketing, Mike Eshelman says the high cost of marketing keeps him awake at night. Purchasing leads is expensive and not all of them perform as well as others. Mike’s goal is to ensure his people are doing everything possible to exhaust all their options with every single lead.
Obsession 2: Hiring and onboarding personnel
It takes a very special kind of seller to succeed in this high-pressure, rejection-laden environment. Top-tier leaders start by looking for the most tech-savvy, hard-working, self-starters they can find. Once they’re hired, nothing is left to chance. Each company has rigorous standards for training and onboarding.
For example, at Stormwind Studios, an online IT training company, new hires have to create their own leads, so they take their sales training very seriously. Everyone goes through Sandler’s Sales Mastery Foundations program. Recently, they’ve added internal training to leverage the Pitch Anything methodology. According to Charania, significant time is invested teaching new hires about their product, buyers, and the smaller niche markets they pursue. To help reps bring their own personality to the conversation, they give their reps screen plays to follow, not scripts to memorize.
Obsession 3: Differentiating when competition is fierce
How do high-growth inside sales organizations become the chosen vendor when their product is virtually identical to their competitors? Jill found a few common themes among high growth companies that center around making a positive first impression. First, they focus on speed. Often, the first person to reach the customer wins the business. Simple as that. Also, they’re maniacal about creating a quality customer experience, too.
For example, Adam Kerr at Plymouth Rock explained that if they don’t connect with a lead within the first 30 seconds, their chances of closing a deal are four times worse. To further differentiate, Plymouth Rock provides immediate quotes in a market where other companies first get the requisite info and then call later with an insurance quote.
Obsession 4: Maintaining motivation in a burnout job
Making hundreds of dials each and every day is tough. These top-tier companies have cracked the code on how to retain great reps in a high-pressure environment. Some offer upwardly-mobile career opportunities, while others leverage their compensation plan. Additionally, they focus on creating a great corporate culture to engage and keep their people. While the methods vary, the obsession is the same.
For example Russel Mikowski, during his time with previous employer, LivingSocial, developed an Associates Academy to give his senior BDRs incremental growth steps after their initial training. BDRs were able to earn three certifications (e.g. proficiency giving a demo) in one year, resulting in mini-promotions. Once at 100% of their goals for a certain period, they were able to travel in the field with an experienced sales pro. His hungry, upwardly mobile reps loved the growth opportunities. Implementing this approach reduced turnover from 30% to zero.
Obsession 5: Optimizing sales productivity
To meet their growth goals, all the sales leaders Jill interviewed agreed they couldn’t do their jobs without sales acceleration tools. These leaders obsess about automating their sales process for scale and growth, and leverage technology to ensure reps are always working the highest value opportunity at any given time. They also consistently inspect what they expect – top sales leaders have access to dashboards and reports that give them instant visibility into rep performance and lead performance.
For example, Dan Miedema at Guaranteed Rate brings his top people together to map out the best conversation strategy. They review the questions they’re asked and the answers that work, then build that into the sales scripting system. He’s also a huge believer in A/B testing, using it all the time in areas such as messaging cadence, the impact of the subject line on email open rates, and the content of the message itself.
If you’re a sales leader in a high-velocity selling organization and want to be top-tier, it is critical to obsess about what matters most. To hear best practices from these five top-performing individuals, check out the ebook from Jill Konrath – 5 Obsessions of Top-Tier, High-Velocity Inside Sales Teams.
Alyssa Trenkamp is the director of marketing communications at Velocify and a 15 year veteran in the enterprise technology sector. Prior to Velocify, Alyssa spent nearly a decade as a marketing and public relations consultant for Microsoft. Alyssa holds a BA in Journalism from Western Washington University.