Creating, Building & Launching a World Class Inside Sales Team — Steve Driben

Have you ever thought to yourself, “if I only had a silver bullet, that one nugget of information to transform my sales team into passionate, “trusted advisors”, my job would be so much easier”? How many times have you thought about the secret behind your competitor’s success? Well, join the long line of sales managers, directors, vice presidents, CSOs, and CEOs that are thinking the same thing. The truth is, there is no single “silver bullet”, “nugget”, or “secret” to being successful. Success is determined by your own guiding principles, unwavering determination and vision of achievement.

Rehabilitating a Dysfunctional Inside Sales Team — True Story

Imagine this scenario, you are the top sales director, leading a team of 50+ sales representatives and 4 sales managers. You have a unique approach to leadership and have produced record-breaking results. You have improved the companies bottom line and now Senior Leadership wants you to assume the responsibility for a failing sales training program. The caveat; the existing program has the same reputation as the Sweathog characters from the 1975–1979 television series, Welcome Back Kotter. Ok, so I am dating myself here, but this comparison is very real. Would you accept the Senior Leadership request knowing the stigma associated with it? Before you answer that question, continue reading.

Risking your Reputation

The sales training program had a strong reputation as a prescription for failure. Very few sales representatives, who entered the program, remained with the company at its conclusion (30 days). The stigma attached to this sales training program proved to be a pathway to termination. I almost forgot to mention that sales representatives never volunteered for this training, they were “asked” or should I say heavily encouraged to participate. For those that completed the training program, they were mediocre performers at best. The program results were poor and the company wasted time, money and resources.

Game Changing Experience

The greatest business challenge ever was there for the taking!

The inaugural “new” sales training class was nervous. They were selected as in the past and had dim hopes for their future. Little did they know, through their own efforts, they would soon be transformed into happy, productive, revenue generating employees. The first order of business was to immediately change the name of the program to “Top Gun”. This name implied the best of the best.

The training class was organized into two teams of 10. Two of the best Sales Coaches available lead each team. Class design was 4 weeks in length. Focus of the training was on individual achievement with behaviors dissected to understand weaknesses of each individual. Classroom training commenced, mock sales scenarios were implemented and “Live-Call” training exercises were successful.

The Waiting List Formed

Top Gun’s inaugural training class achieved a 100% graduation rate and 100% of quota. For the first time in the history of the program, each and every person improved, remained with the company and became a valued part of the organization. Morale skyrocketed, sales representatives believed in themselves, and company revenue growth hit record numbers. The most gratifying part of this story is the fact that the program ended up with a two-month long waiting list of sales representatives who witnessed a great path to success.

Five Principles of Team Success

If you are looking to create or rebuild a world-class inside sales team, follow the five principles below.

1. Top Talent: Hire the smartest people you can find. To be the best, you need to hire the best. Top talent is the heart and soul of an organization. They are the rainmakers with the innate ability to solve problems customers do not even realize exist.

2. Aligning People with the Right Roles: To be great, you need great talent in every role. Each role that has great players that are laser focused on their task at hand wins deals. This principle is often overlooked by many organizations today and a reason for mediocre or sub-par performance.

3. Experience: Leveraging experience from previously won deals leads to many greater successes. Top talented people have developed “mental muscle memory” and do not have to think about their next move, they intuitively react.

4. Empowerment Culture: Top talented people, in the right roles are low maintenance. Empowerment provides a sense of “purpose”, and people are driven with a sense of purpose. Top talented people are competent, decisive, maintain a sense of urgency and realize that great things come to those who go and get them.

5. Laser Focus: Eye on the “prize”. Enough said!

The real secret for success really is not a secret. Success is the culmination of a set of proven principles, that when followed lead to amazing, profitable results. Use these principles as a foundation and you too will be successful.