How to Build a Killer Sales Team — The Missing 18 ½ Minutes from Dreamforce ‘15

By Mike Kreaden, Sr. Director, Startup Relations

At the first-ever Startup Summit, held in tandem with Dreamforce ’15, Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross shared their experience on how to build a killer sales team.

This was one of the most popular sessions at the Startup Summit, and for good reason. Aaron Ross is the best selling author of Predictable Revenue, the de facto guide to building a repeatable process for enterprise sales. Jason Lemkin is a serial entrepreneur, best known for pioneering digital signatures in the enterprise (founder of Echosign) and for his prolific web mentoring and advising through SaaStr.com — the web’s largest community of SaaS founders and execs.

If you attended the session (recording is provided below), you may have wondered what additional advice the pair had in mind for you. With time running out in their talk, they skipped through some golden nuggets of advice that could have been lost, if not for some careful archiving from yours truly. I have posted the complete presentation deck for your benefit on slideshare. Here are the highlights of the missing discussion points:

1. Invest in your customers. Meet with them as they grow and you grow. This will help to lower churn and increase revenue per customer. Important in the early days, but especially important as you are scaling your business. Customer Success is the breeding ground for upgrades and renewals and for second order revenue. Second order revenue kicks in when customers trust you and have recognized the value (ROI) in their initial purchase. It is at precisely this point that they become evangelists for you. Internal champions may leave for other companies and take your solution along with you. This overlooked effect is part of the viral sales machine that is a by-product of “happy customer syndrome.”

2. When to fire your VP of Sales. Sales success is so crucial in the early stages of growth that you can’t wait for your VP of Sales to learn on the job. You hired them to get results, and you should see sales increase in one sales cycle.

3. It Gets Better. At initial scale, everything gets better. You have a proven solution, a repeatable sales process and credibility. You likely don’t feel like it’s any easier, because it isn’t. Not enough resources, risk of losing critical personnel, feature requests on the backlog, etc. You can’t see it if you haven’t been there before, but it does get better. And you get better, too.

4. Successful CEOs are ruthlessly focused. On things that are working. Always doing things that are accretive in value. They are deliberate in where they invest for growth and hold everyone accountable to that singular goal.

5. Building Great Teams. Great sales teams have low turnover and help to inspire and drive the entire company. Success is palpable across the organization. Be sure to invest at least 20% of your time in recruiting the next additions to your killer sales team.

Salesforce for Startups looks forward to another year of growth, so be sure to join our program as we start to share more thought leadership content. Also, be sure to catch any sessions you missed on our YouTube channel:


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