This post is an excerpt from the Ambition Guide to Predictable Revenue.

It is an easy, natural mistake for CSOs to assume that providing lucrative monetary incentives is all that is needed to drive a sustainable sales machine. In reality, happiness and satisfaction go way beyond money. 

Employees need to feel that they are valued, truly part of a team, and making a difference. Placing an emphasis on healthy competition and employee recognition can go a long way, in this regard.

Building a Sustainable Sales Machine

In Predictable Revenue, Aaron Ross preaches a few critical ways to avoid reaching this point of dysfunction and build a sustainable, growing sales machine.

Sustainability has two primary roots: your people and your processes. Predictable Revenue has two critical insights on building a sustainable machine:

  1. Grow your people.
  2. Grow your processes.

Complementary illustrations will be provided from the 1993 film Heavyweights, whose main antagonist, Tony Perkis, endures as one of cinema's towering monuments to dysfunctional leadership. 

Creating a Sustainably-Driven Sales Team 

 Please do not turn your organization into Heavyweights' Camp Hope

Ross does not mince words when it comes to cultivating talent. "The quality of your people means everything to your team's success."  If you want happy customers, you need happy employees.

  • Especially when your reps are selling SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), your company must place an emphasis on keeping them happy and promoting long-term relationship-building with your customers. Fail to do so, and you might as well be trying to climb a mountain with one hand tied behind your back.
  • Happiness and unhappiness are learned mentalities that have trickled down from upper-management and executives. Look at my colleague's company: they have a massive turnover rate, even with the more experienced members of their sales force who were earning six-figures. 

If you want effective sales reps, dedicate yourself to hiring, training and incentivizing your reps appropriately.

  • Bring on reps with some prior live sales experience. Hiring sales reps with no prior experience selling to live customers (i.e., in-person) means you are just giving your team a much bigger mountain to climb
  • On training your employees: Show, don't tell. Be committed to incorporate involved training practices such as role-playing, sitting in on a live call, etc. Two equally important points on this topic: 1) Give your reps realistic expectations--don't over-inflate or crush their expectations. 2) Training. Never. Stops. Let your employees train each other.
  • Money doesn't matter. You can't buy employee happiness. 

Developing Sustainable Sales Processes 

Tony Perkis: The Anti-Aaron Ross 

Disrespect your processes at your own peril. Like your people, your processes are a valuable lifeline that require your commitment, attention, two-way communication, and dedication to improving. You should nurture and grow your processes just like you would a sales rep.

If you aren't committed to continuous, thorough tracking and measurement of your sales operations, then that sound you are hearing is the ticking clock of your company's time running out.

  1. Measure consistently and frequently. Once a quarter doesn't cut it. You can start by picking 3-5 key activities and looking at them on a daily basis, and then experiment with adjusting the metrics you measure going forward.
  2. Measure the right metrics. Ross astutely points out that so many companies are measuring the wrong data (i.e., the number of dials per day your sales people pake is not what matters).

Start with: 1. New leads/month. 2. Lead to Opp. conversion rate. 3. Booked revenues. 4. Opp. to closed deal conversion rate. 5. Qualified opp./month.

If you aren't constantly requesting feedback from your employees and customers on the processes you are running, that spectre off in the distance is the Grim Reaper steadily approaching to inform you that your time has come. Don't compartmentalize. Feedback must happen on all levels. Your upper-management must talk with your sales reps and customers. Your CEO must talk with your sales reps and customers. Don't sacrifice open and negative feedback in the name of maintaining "a positive culture."

While it's true that you don't want disgruntled sales reps running around the office killing morale, it's important that, if an employee has a problem with a process or a co-worker, they can come to you behind closed doors without fear of repercussions. Let your reps and customers dictate the conversations sometimes when you are getting feedback. Ask what is on their minds and let them open up about what is and is not working.

Predictable Revenue in Theory. Ambition in Practice. 

Business enterprise is all about two things: your people and your processes. Yet, it is amazing how many businesses do not properly cultivate their people and processes, nor properly understand or even pay attention to their numbers. (Cut to people like our embattled colleague nodding sadly).

In order to become high-achieving salespeople, your reps need consistent, proper training. And everyong -- even your highest-paid reps- - need recognition and a healthy competitive environment, or they'll leave you in a lurch. 

Developing good processes is essential, and at the end of the day, it all starts with the metrics. If your management team has to go digging to find meaningful metrics on every employee, the harsh reality is that they probably aren't going to do it. Without those metrics, they lack the essential tools needed to properly train your sales reps and make them better. Here's how Ambition helps.


  1. Ambition directly impacts the “sustainability” aspect of your sales machine by providing a better framework for cultivating consistent, widespread employee recognition. 
  2. Our product encourages feedback and training on a peer-to-peer level by inducing team members to ask each other, "what can each of us do better to help our team win?"
  3. Easier tracking for managers allows for better and more-appropriately tailored coaching opportunities. 

Sales Processes

  1. We enable you to do more with your metrics, more efficiently, than anyone else out there in our space.
  2. Using metrics effectively requires figuring out which metrics are most important to your teams success. Our product allows you to experiment freely with basic and advanced data to achieve that understanding.
  3. Most companies don't look beyond their most basic (and least important) metrics such as outbound dials for a reason: the tracking software they are using doesn't make them readily available. Our product makes your metrics readily available to your management and your sales reps.

We encourage everyone, if you haven't already, to pick up a copy of Aaron Ross's book, Predictable Revenue. For more information on our product, check out the below information. 

Ambition: The 360° Sales Management Platform

Ambition is a sales management platform that syncs business teams, data sources, and performance metrics on one system.

Sales leaders use Ambition to enhance sales performance insights and build sales reports, scorecards, contests, and TVs that supercharge focus, effort and accountability.  

Ambition is endorsed by Harvard Business Review and AA-ISP (the Global Inside Sales Organization). Hear more from business leaders who use Ambition in their organization.

Watch Testimonials:

  1. FiveStars: Adam Wall. Sr. Manager of Sales Operations . 
  2. Filemaker: Brad Freitag. Vice-President of Worldwide Sales.
  3. Outreach: Mark Kosoglow. Vice-President of Sales.
  4. Cell Marque: Lauren Hopson. Director of Sales & Marketing.
  5. Access America Transport: Ted Alling. Chief Executive Officer.

Watch Product Walkthroughs:

  1. ChowNow. Led by Vice-President of Sales, Drew Woodcock.
  2. Outreach. Led by Sales Development Manager, Alex Lynn.
  3. AMX Logistics. Led by Executive Vice-President ,Jared Moore.

Read Case Studies:

  1. Clayton HomesHBR finds triple-digit growth in 3 sales efficiency metrics. 
  2. Coyote Logistics: Monthly revenue per broker grew $525 in 6 months.
  3. Peek: Monthly sales activity volume grew 142% in 6 months.
  4. Vorsight: Monthly sales conversations grew 300% in 6 months.

Contact us to learn how Ambition can impact your sales organization today.

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