Welcome to Episode 41 of the Sales Influencer Series: the #1 podcast for modern B2B sales leaders. Enjoy the interview and take a look at our special offer for high-growth technology sales organizations.
We welcome accomplished SaaS sales VP and Cerebral Selling founder David Priemer to the podcast this week. He joins Ambition COO Brian Trautschold to discuss how to create and sustain great sales culture in modern B2B sales organizations - what defines elite culture and how it drives revenue.
Scroll down to hear David and Brian discuss strategies, anecdotes, and key industry statistics that support the preeminence of great sales culture as the defining trait of today's top sales organizations - and the north star for modern VPs, Managers, and Operations Leads charged with hitting high growth numbers.
Ep. 41: How Great Sales Culture Drives Revenue
Background. 0:00 - 3:40.
In this episode, Ambition cofounder Brian Trautschold welcomes David Priemer, a genuine expert on sales coaching, the power of culture, and the science of sales.
David's writing and speaking has been an inspiration at Ambition - after leading the charge for modern sales performance management as VP of Sales Rypple in the early part of the decade, David was tapped for the following major leadership positions:
- VP Sales, Work.com.
- VP Commercial Sales, Salesforce.
- VP Sales, Influitive.
The purpose of this podcast is to discuss active steps you can take today to be a better leader, sales coach, and create a culture where your reps will thrive.
The Unsung Value of Great Sales Leadership and Culture. 3:40 - 8:35.
One of the foremost talks David has given was at Dreamforce last year - Leading for Growth: Four Key Behaviors to Master.
The thesis of the presentation is that businesses to think things culture, good leadership, et al have intuitive value, but vastly underestimate the massive ROI that can be gained from these aspects of a business.
There is hardcore, massive ROI from great leadership and culture - higher profits, reduced turnover, shorter onboarding time, and increased goal attainment. And leaders are in a unique position to impact their business - be empathetic, and inspire their team to unlock discretionary effort and that 5th gear that delivers amazing customer experience."
Acquiring leadership that inspires this kind of greatness - an army of leaders working within your organization to foster elite culture - should be the highest priority of every sales organization.
What Are The Qualities of a 'Great Sales Culture'? 8:35 - 13:00.
The easiest way to pinpoint 'great sales culture' is to look at the customer experience. The experience that customers have with your organization, the end-to-end interactions with your brand during the customer lifecycle, are the product of your sales culture.
Pictured: Sales performance dashboards that track live KPIs from Salesforce, et al.
Customers who love your product and brand are the byproduct of great front-office cultures - and the hard-working employees inside of them giving the extra effort and working in unison to deliver powerful, positive experience.
What Are the Symptoms of Poor Sales Leadership? 13:00 - 16:05.
On the flip side, the symptoms of bad sales leadership and culture shine through in the mechanics of how that culture manifests. Business leaders who want to be more strategic, thank people more, operate with more focus, and spend less time being reactive, working in the weeds, and fighting through unfocused meetings.
Poor leadership and culture is not for lack of desire. All of us are well-intentioned. But through lack of focus and poor muscle memory, we fall back into poor habits that do our teams a disservice.
What Are the Easiest, Actionable Coaching Strategies? 16:05 - 23:10.
Coaching is the number one thing that leaders can do to positively impact their teams. David points out that too few organizations measure coaching as its own KPI - and evaluate frontline managers on the quantity and quality of their 1:1 coaching with reps.
At Salesforce, David and his team used Rypple and Work.com to measure how often coaching was happening.
Pictured: Ambition's lets managers hold 1:1's and track coaching impact over time.
One of the problems with coaching - if you go to an individual contributor and ask how often 'coaching' is occurring in the 1:1's with their managers. There is often a disconnect. Reps think there is very little coaching ensuring in these meetings. Managers think they are doing a great job coaching.
The key is going into these meetings with a plan. If there's no plan, it's difficult to stick to a coaching-focused meeting. Managers should have a formalized plan for what topics to cover - including asking what reps need help with, where they are making progress, and so forth.
Also - not all sessions need to be the same. For example, a beginning-of-the-month 1:1 can be forward looking and choose top areas of focus for the month. An end-of-month 1:1 can be more reflective and also cover EOM action items to help deals close, and such.
Lastly - every 1:1 should reference data and include notes on the key takeaways from the meeting for reps and managers, alike. This assures mutual accountability and continuing dialogue moving forward.
Build Ownership, Recognition and Accountability into Culture. 23:10 - 29:10.
Writing things down is the best and easiest way to ensure reps take ownership over their performance and stay accountable to coaching action plans.
In a group setting - managers often want to create accountability over tactical things, like objection handling. Another thing is creating public recognition for positive behaviors. One of the key things David's teams at Rypple and Work.com discovered was that high-performing reps often leave their teams because they feel unrecognized for their extra effort and success.
David recommends that sales leaders figure out strategies to create visible recognition for high performers - such as singling out one rep each week for being an exemplary performer.
Pictured: Ambition lets managers quickly find top performers by role, manager or location.
Another strategy David used was 5 Minutes in Heaven. At every weekly team meeting, David would ask a team member to explain how they handle objections or perform some other aspect of their job.
According to David, this created accountability among reps. They came to each meeting knowing they might get called upon for a five-minute 'show-and-tell' session. Every rep wants to look good in front of his or her peers. Using these strategies and similar ones is how you build recognition, ownership and accountability into your culture.
Leadership Versus Authority - Being A Leader. 29:10 - 33:43.
In sales - authority is title-based. Leadership is belief-based. Sales leaders must recognize that people follow leaders - those with high emotional intelligence, gifted communication skills, and the ability to movitate team members while serving as an example.
Pictured: Pete Carroll is a leader. Tony Perkis? Not a leader.
Leadership is not position-based. Anyone can be a leader. Managers and reps alike should look for leadership opportunities to set the example for their teams. Position-based leaders should seek to be the kinds of people their reports would love to work for and with again.
The goal is to have your reps reflect back on their time on your team fondly - and see you as someone who truly cared about them and helped them grow both personally and professionally. Leaders operate with empathy.
Get More Insights from David. 33:43 - 34:49.
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The Sales Influencer Series Library
To check out further Sales Influencer Series podcast episodes, just click on the links below.
Episode 1. John Barrows
Episode 2. Lori Richardson
Episode 3. Max Altschuler
Episode 4. Matt Heinz
Episode 5. Mark Leslie
Episode 6. Kyle Porter
Episode 7. Jon Bradford
Episode 8. Eks Anderson
Episode 9. Matt Hottle
Episode 10. Heather Morgan
Episode 11. Ilan Ferdman
Episode 12. Ryan Jenkins
Episode 13. Tamara Schenk
Episode 14. Mike Weinberg
Episode 15. Scott Britton
Episode 16. Mark Kosoglow
Episode 17. Dionne Mischler
Episode 18. Ken Barton
Episode 19. Kevin Karner
Episode 20. Jill Rowley
Episode 21. Brandon Redlinger
Episode 22. Will Wickey
Episode 23. Drew Woodcock
Episode 24. Dail Wilson
Episode 25. Nathan Sexton
Episode 26. Tucker Max
Episode 27. Bruce Tulgan
Episode 28. Dallas Hogensen
Episode 29. Morgan J. Ingram
Episode 30. J. Ryan Williams
Episode 31. Emily Mikailli
Episode 32. Lee Bartlett
Episode 33. Rex Biberston
Episode 34. Marcus Cauchi
Episode 35. Gary Vaynerchuk
Episode 36. Joe Gianni
Episode 37. Jason R. Jordan
Episode 38. Mike Kunkle
Episode 39. James Carbary
Episode 40. Skye PoVey