We prioritize how quickly we can get reps productive.​”

Adam Gilberd,
SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
 
 
 
 

I recently worked with a group of young salespeople, most just out of college. One participant asked, “What are some of the things that you’ve seen in working with top sales producers? What do they have in common?”

Colleen Stanley — President and Chief Selling Officer, SalesLeadership, Inc.

I want to express my views on our current sales-enablement tools and technology. I have been using technology in some form or another for my entire 15-year career, and I have never felt its objective was to help me sell.

Rob DeSisto — Vice President, Global Customer Transformation, Salesforce

A few years ago, I met a CEO who shared his company’s unique approach to performance reviews. When managers sit down with employees, they only ask two questions: Did you get your job done? Did you do it right? I think this concept translates beautifully to sales.

Tony Rodoni — EVP, Commercial Sales & Market Readiness, Salesforce

 

According to a study by Bank of America, robots are likely to be performing 45% of manufacturing tasks by 2025. Meanwhile, Oxford University predicts that nearly half of all U.S. jobs will be at high risk of being lost to computers.

Eliot Burdett — CEO, Peak Sales Recruiting

Selling is all about time. The more you can save on routine tasks and processes, the more you can spend on managing your existing clients and prospecting for new ones.

Laura Stack — President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.

 

In today’s world, we have literally seconds to get people’s attention, which is why the first few words that come out of our mouths on a call, or the subject and first lines in an email, can make all the difference.

John Barrows — Owner, j.barrows LLC

Of all the skills I’ve had to develop in my sales career — prospecting, qualifying, pitching, building executive relationships, negotiating, and closing — the pitch is one of my favorite parts of the sales cycle.

Annie Simms — Account Executive, Salesforce

Sales has become almost a repugnant word. It’s as if somewhere along the way we became averse to calling ourselves salespeople. Instead, we tiptoe around the word.

Jessica Sharp — Account Executive, Salesforce

 

The Quarterly Business Review, or QBR, is a great forum for sales managers and enterprising salespeople to separate themselves from the pack. After all, the best reps are CEOs of their territory.

Somrat Niyogi —  Vice President of Business Development, Clari

Even in today’s digital age of profitable, effective marketing, the methods and assumptions we stick with for selling to our leads are a throwback to the era when disco and bell-bottom pants seemed like good ideas.

Colleen Francis —  Owner, Engage Selling Solutions
Salespeople know how to work hard. They know how to make lists and check things off. They know they need to prioritize, delegate, and eliminate distractions.
Laura Stack —  President & CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.
 
Guy Kawasaki is the first to admit “the best way to recruit, evangelize, market, and sell is to have a great product. Because selling, marketing, and evangelizing a great product is easy." There is, however, a catch.
Laura Fagan —  Product Marketer, Sales Cloud, Salesforce
A brand is not what a company says about itself. A brand is what the market says about the company. A good brand can take years to create and be lost in a second. Similarly, you have a personal brand.
Tony Rodoni —  EVP Commercial Sales, Salesforce
I’ve talked to hundreds of enterprise customers and partners over the last year. Without fail, the number one executive priority, regardless of industry, is growth at scale.
Tony Owens —  EVP, Enterprise Sales, Salesforce
 
A really interesting thing about being a salesperson today is that your job is to compete with people. You exist because some other company has another sales rep just like you.
Mike Rosenbaum —  EVP, CRM Applications, Salesforce
When the Internet exploded onto the scene in the late 20th century, we heard confident predictions from many experts that sales forces would soon become extinct.
Jason Jordan — Partner, Vantage Point Performance
“Send me information.” How do we deal with this? Usually we fall right into their trap and say, “Ok, I’ll send it right over,” without getting any firm commitment on a follow-up or next steps.
John Barrows — Owner, j.barrows LLC
 
Nearly every sales or marketing framework you see makes the same mistake: it puts your company — the seller — at the center of the universe. In reality, you are competing against numerous forces.
Jill Rowley — Founder & Chief Evangelist, #SocialSelling
The key challenge of B2B selling today: Customer purchase processes are overwhelmed by an increasingly large and diverse number of customer stakeholders.
Brent AdamsonPrincipal Advisor, CEB
 
There’s a question I’ve often asked CIOs and other executives: What is the worst thing you can hear from a salesperson when they’re pitching you an idea, product, or solution?
Vala Afshar — Chief Digital Evangelist, Salesforce
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to sales training. The good news is that the company is investing in its sales team. The bad news is that most don’t teach an important skill.
Colleen Stanley — President and Founder, SalesLeadership Inc
The playing field for sales has changed dramatically. The numbers game doesn’t produce the same results that it used to, and a paradigm shift is in order: Sales is now a team sport.
Tim Sanders — Author and Keynote Speaker
 
 
 

At Salesforce, we put a lot of thought into how we plan our sales territories. The process starts about five months before our fiscal year begins, and we have a fairly large team that tackles it.

Adam Gilberd — SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce

In most sales organizations, there is incredible pressure to deliver. I’ve been in sales for over 20 years and know this firsthand. Management is under tremendous stress to hit numbers. Salespeople are hired because they’re closers.

Ashley Welch — Co-Founder, Somersault Innovation

As a sales leader, nothing bothers me more than receiving feedback from a member of our team that he or she is unclear about “what management wants.” It’s also an indicator that the teammate isn’t receiving the context around what we’re trying to accomplish.

Mike Wolff — SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce

 

Sales has changed a lot in 20 years. It used to be about cold calling more than anything else. There wasn’t really a need to know that much about your customer. It was a hustle game, a shark tank.

Will Anastas — Senior Vice President of Enterprise Corporate Sales, Salesforce

You don’t sell to just a few decision-makers anymore. There are more competitors than ever, muddying your unique selling proposition. Yesterday’s simple deal has morphed into a labyrinth of sales challenges you need to defeat to win the game.

Tim Sanders — Author & Keynote Speaker

 

Part art, part science, sales forecasting is an incredibly complex and nuanced business process. Like the best sports plays, forecasting must be carefully choreographed to ensure seamless success.

Somrat Niyogi — Vice President of Business Development, Clari

Hear from Shift's COO on why its salespeople aren’t paid on commission, the reason behind its strict no-haggling policy, and what it means to have a no-inventory sales model.

Laura Fagan — Product Marketer, Sales Cloud, Salesforce

Top salespeople get promoted to manager every day. But what do you do if you make the move from being a peer on the team to being the leader of that same team practically overnight?

Keith Rosen — Author of Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions

 

The fact of the matter is that most companies don’t have the resources of a large technology company. They still need to effectively onboard and train new hires, but must accomplish it with less.

Elay Cohen — CEO and Co-Founder, SalesHood

Sales coaching is an interesting topic, if for no other reason than that everyone thinks it’s a great idea. Sales leaders expect their managers to do it, sales managers like to do it, and salespeople want to receive it.

Jason Jordan — Partner, Vantage Point Performance

With 83 million members, Millennials now already makes up the largest sector of the U.S. population, and by 2025 will make up 75% of the workforce.

Eliot Burdett — CEO, Peak Sales Recruiting

 

“My top performers? Oh, I just leave them alone and let them sell. Don’t mess with a good thing, right?” I can’t begin to tell you how often I’ve heard this said by sales VPs and other C-level leaders.

Colleen Francis — Owner, Engage Selling Solutions

Think about a recent deal review that you had with an account executive on your team. Any chance you asked them to “tell you” about an opportunity or deal and then started to tune out after about five minutes?

Mike Wolff — SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce

I’ve often likened recruiting to dating and marriage. Both processes begin with the search for the best possible candidate. Yet statistically not all work out as blissfully as we hope.

David Priemer — VP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce

 

Mike Derezin leads the global sales organization within LinkedIn’s Sales Solutions business unit. He joined us to chat about how he’s built his team, the latest in social selling, and the part predictive analytics will play.

Laura Fagan — Product Marketer, Sales Cloud, Salesforce

When hiring top account executives, there is an essential tool I always leverage: the chronological interview. When done right, this approach acts like a truth serum.

Mike Wolff — SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce

John Wooden was the coach of the UCLA men’s basketball team. There he won a record 10 NCAA national championships in a 12-year period. Studying him has forever changed me as a sales leader.

Mark Wayland — SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
 
The holy grail for leadership is to develop a team of self-motivated, highly accountable, top performers. The question is, how does a manager assess who an underperformer is, and who is not?
Keith Rosen — Founder and CEO, Profit Builders
How do I build a great sales culture at my company?” I get that question often from small business owners. And what I always share is that it starts with your leaders.
Mike Wolff — SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
 
The majority of companies make it the focus of their salespeople and marketing department to get leads and open doors. I believe when sales management is involved as well, the value of the doors opened will increase
Mark Hunter — CEO and Founder, The Sales Hunter
No culture, no perks, and for the most part, no amount of stock options can compel someone to follow a bad leader. A great leader is the glue that holds a team together and makes or breaks success.
Trish Bertuzzi — President & Chief Strategist, The Bridge Group
The resume looked good, the interview went well, and the pre-hire assessment showed this dog can hunt. It doesn’t take too long before you see signs that this so-called sales rock star is anything but.
Colleen Stanley — President and Chief Selling Officer, SalesLeadership, Inc.
 
Every sales leader we talk to these days would kill to get an extra hour back in their day. The truth is, the way we’re working isn’t working anymore.
Jill Konrath — Bestselling Author, Sales Acceleration Strategist
Trish Bertuzzi — President and Chief Strategist The Bridge Group, Inc.
I’ve worked for, managed, and hired many a salesperson. Some of our best software reps had never sold software before. Some of our best closers had never closed a deal before.
Dan Ross — Sr AVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
If sales candidates lack the unteachable qualities, they won’t be successful. If they have the unteachable qualities, that’s great news.
Dan Ross — Sr AVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
 
Congrats. You’ve successfully brought in a sales leader who is going to propel your sales team to greatness. Not so fast. You’re job is not done.
Mike Wolff — SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
I have, in fact, hired almost 1,000 account executives. And not just your average AE, but people who went on to become extremely successful.
Mike Wolff — SVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
 
Walter Rogers — CEO, CCI Global Holdings
Few things stir as much discussion as determining the role a sales manager should play in closing a sale. And it seems as if opinions on this issue rarely change.
Mark Hunter — CEO & Founder, The Sales Hunter
In the era when business could afford to be leisurely, largely due to limitations of distance and technology, projects could take many months. That won’t fly anymore.
Laura Stack — President & CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.
 
I knew transformational selling was a part of sales I couldn’t let go of. Transaction selling on its own wouldn’t keep me engaged. Some 25 years later, I still haven’t forgotten that.
Anne DelSanto — EVP, Solution Engineering & Solution Sales, Salesforce
Unless you can assume the customer’s perspective, enriched by your experience with other similar customers, your outcomes will never be great.
Donal Daly — CEO,  Altify
Salesforce hasn’t always had an inside sales team. It’s something we backed into a couple of years ago based on a need. Not only have we learned a ton along the way, but you, the reader, can too.
Will Anastas — SVP, Enterprise Corporate Sales, Salesforce
 
 
 

Mobile is everywhere today. And now something that’s not so obvious: In many corporations, thinking hasn’t caught up with how much mobile has changed the way we work, sell, and collaborate with others.

Colleen Francis — Owner, Engage Selling Solutions

In my experience, sales operations can play a couple of key roles within the sales organization. First, it's the group that brings science to sales and knows how to apply it most effectively in the organization to improve performance. That’s to be expected.

Brian Selby — Expert Partner, McKinsey & Company

Have you ever felt that maybe, just maybe, your sales kickoff wasn’t as effective as it should have been? That when all those salespeople leave the venue and get on their flights home, they don’t remember much of what was presented?

Mark Magnacca — President and Co-Founder, Allego

 

While writing our new book, one characteristic rose to the top that differentiated best-in-class sales leaders from the rest: their ability to find growth opportunities before their competitors do.

Maria Valdivieso de Uster — Director of Knowledge, McKinsey & Company’s Marketing and Sales Practice

As a business owner, you should strive to automate as many processes as possible. With automation, your company can move faster and make fewer mistakes.

Iman Maghroori — Master Solution Engineer, Salesforce

 

Customer expectations are changing. They want a richer, more delightful, and more engaging experience. This means companies face not only a huge opportunity, but also a choice.

Lareina Yee — Partner, McKinsey & Company

Zillow’s Tony Small is the general manager for the real estate marketplace’s Premier Agent Business. During a recent chat, he shared how he’s used data science to increase sales and productivity dramatically.

Laura Fagan — Product Marketer, Sales Cloud, Salesforce

Often in the training world, we see organizations planning one-off learning events, treating training as a silo, or looking for a quick fix to problem behaviors and results.

Walter Rogers — CEO, CCI Global Holdings

 

Companies spend somewhere between 5% to 15% of revenue on sales. The way you deploy and use that investment makes a huge difference on both top-line growth and bottom-line performance.

Bertil Chappuis — Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company
A decade or so ago, Salesforce’s account executives had one thing to sell: our sales force automation (SFA) tool. Fast-forward to 2016, and our offerings have become much more comprehensive.
Dan Darcy — SVP, Productivity, Salesforce
 
Scale is what makes many big companies start to slow down. And often the stagnation happens in part because they didn’t appropriately prepare their sales organization.

Susan St. Ledger — Chief Revenue Officer, Splunk Inc.

Every sales organization should have one metric that’s considered the most important measure. It sounds obvious, but it’s always surprising to me how companies become distracted with so many other details.

Patrick Blair — EVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce

Most organizations still believe in the perfect sales and marketing delineation: This is where marketing generates leads for sales, sales development reps then qualify these leads to create opportunities.
Jill Rowley — Founder and Chief Evangelist, #SocialSelling
 
Selling used to fall into one of two groups: B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer). Each had its own set of rules.
Colleen Francis — Owner, Engage Selling Solutions
Sales used to be strictly a relationships game. You hired people for their Rolodex and the access to new business it gave your company.
Tony Rodoni — EVP, Commercial Sales, Salesforce
 
From the paper-based forecast forms of the analogue days of selling, to today’s world of smart systems, mobile SFA, and real-time dashboards, B2B sales is ruled by data.
Joe Galvin — Business Analyst
You make great plans, start an initiative, roll it out, and get your sales team on board. Then two weeks later, you see or hear that another sales team is doing something different but related.
Walter Rogers — CEO, CCI Global Holdings
Sales development, or the art and science of finding leads and qualifying opportunities, is on fire. According to a recent headline, it’s the biggest trend in sales today.
Trish Bertuzzi — President & Chief Strategist of The Bridge Group
 
 
Learn from the best. Sell like the best.