Managers can keep tabs on the big deals coming down the pipe so they can come to their reps’ aid if necessary. “Usually managers will let reps know in advance if they are listening in, or they’ll come sit near them, or come sit next to them afterward to provide feedback,” Cerilli says.
25. Drive weekly one-on-ones with metrics.
SinglePlatform provides two forms that managers can fill out with metrics for each employee — including deals closed, minutes spent on the phone, as well as qualitative advice for how to improve. Putting information in this format tends to be less intimidating and gives people a concrete reference point for improvement.
“Plus the form gives managers structure — which is especially important for new managers who may be supervising their former peers,” Cerilli says. “They can look at the form and say, ‘Ok, first let’s talk about your closing technique…,’ they have more control over the conversation.”Here's an example:
26. Kick off Mondays on the right note.Cerilli and his team begin every week with a sales floor meeting where the focus is motivation. Account managers come in and read the “wow” customer success story of the week so that salespeople can hear the impact they're making for the people they call all day long.
“For a while we circulated these stories over email, but people just skimmed them. When they hear it in front of everyone they work with, it makes a huge difference. Now we try to pick a story where the customer was skeptical at first but got convinced by the end. That way, when everyone hits the phones, they won’t be so nervous about running into skeptical customers.”
The sales floor meeting also includes the “close of the week” — a recording of the most successful call from the previous week. Whoever made that sale is crowned king or queen of the sales floor. And yes, there is an actual crown.
27. Motivate with group competition.SinglePlatform runs all kinds of competitions for teams: Who spent the most minutes on the phone? Who got the most closes? Who is on the most consistent winning streak? “People get really into it,” Cerilli says. “They start fighting for their managers and it really solidifies loyalty.”
Create competition that encourages people to work harder but achieve together.
28. Make it fun. In addition to these competitions (which occasionally have themes like March Madness and Battle of the Sexes), SinglePlatform awards salespeople with big Legos for big sales and small Legos for small sales. “Now when you walk through the office, you see these big Lego towers, and its this really cool, easy way to identify top performers.”
Hone Your Process, Celebrate Your Wins
29. Build a SWAT team.It’s critical that you keep up with market trends and track your customers' needs. To evolve your script in the right direction, Cerilli recommends creating a SWAT team of 2 to 3 people to test out new pricing or pitches. “Run one large test a month,” he says. “And if it’s successful, expand the new script to 4 to 8 people, then to 10 to 12 people. Recently, we had two people test a model that pitched the value our mobile product instead of our network like usual. The response was unbelievable. One rep went from selling one and half licenses a day to 40 in a week.”
To make SWAT teams as effective as possible, don’t make the changes too big. Make sure it’s a realistic pivot from the script you’re currently using. You also want the team to be a cross-section of your sales organization. “You can’t have all your best people on your SWAT team because that would skew the data. You want one rock star and then one to two other solid salespeople who represent the majority of your staff.”
30. Celebrate victories everywhere you can.You want to communicate people’s wins constantly, as visibly as possible. Send out emails to the whole team. Acknowledge people’s anniversaries with the company and their sales milestones. Maybe they had the biggest sale of the week, the month, ever. Award actual prizes — whether it’s cookies or a day of go-karting. The more positive reinforcement you give them, the more motivated everyone will feel.
SinglePlatform uses a system called Hoopla to display the faces of people who just closed deals on screens around the office. The system even plays an anthem chosen by the salesperson pictured — a literal victory dance.
31. Celebrate the no’s too.“When people hit their first 10 no’s, we’ll ring the bell and celebrate that too,” Cerilli says, harkening back to his days hawking coupons. “Part of getting people where they need to be is getting them past that fear of rejection. Making it less scary and more acceptable is huge.”
32. Promote from within.This serves several functions. First, you know you’re creating managers that share the philosophy of close monitoring, constant feedback and keeping morale high. By making them mentors for reps and new hires, you’re only refining these details that make your organization successful in the first place. Second, when you hire from within the team, you send the message that you reward hard work and results.
Build a Great Environment
33. Make your office a place people actually want to work.Last year, SinglePlatform was named one of Crain’s Best Places to Work. But this was no accident, Cerilli says. In order to get the most productivity, you have to carefully engineer an environment where people are happy first and work hard second. This is one reason the company has enforced a strict “No Asshole Rule” from the very beginning. “We fired top performers because they didn’t fit our culture,” he says. Negativity and a bad attitude are contagious.
34. Bring customers in as much as possible.This doesn’t necessarily mean inviting them to the office, but it does mean telling their stories so often that they become a significant presence.
You want your people to know their customers are winning.
To this end, managers at SinglePlatform not only circulate customer success stories over email, they also issue a monthly report that everyone reads showcasing the top 10 to 20 accounts that are having a great experience with the program. “When salespeople see and hear customers saying things like they love the system or they logged in 200 time last month, they start believing in the product more, and they can sell it better.”
35. Start a meaningful speaker series.A lot of companies bring in outside speakers, but attendance is often weak. To make this experience more meaningful, Cerilli focuses on bringing in CEOs of other sales-oriented companies who will talk about their struggles not only with sales, but account management and tech issues. “Hearing from these types of people normalizes their environment and inspires people who may be struggling too.”
36. Run product demos early and often.Cerilli recommends bringing in representatives from the product team to demo new features or products on a monthly basis so that the entire sales org has the opportunity to ask questions, get up to speed on all the products’ capabilities, and truly understand sticky issues they may run into with customers.
37. Use lunches to connect sales with the company.Salespeople are easily silo’d at tech companies because they have such a different skill set. Ensure this doesn’t happen by formalizing cross-functional lunches. And give individual employees the chance to eat with executives from other parts of the company so they can better understand the mission and direction they're rallying behind.
The more you can connect salespeople to your company's values, the stronger they will feel about its success.
Turn on the Turbo-Boosters
Once you have your script in place, your training program turning out talented salespeople, and a strong layer of management, it’s time to scale operations to sell even more.There are two things you can do that will make a bigger difference than anything else:
38. Hire someone to do the hiring.At a certain point, it becomes unmanageable for the head of sales to be involved in every single hire. By hiring an in-house recruiter to do the sourcing and the screening, you streamline that process and feed an ever-widening pipeline of candidates to ultimately get more people on the floor and on the phones. This also frees up top sales management to think more strategically about scripting, who should be promoted, and what your SWAT team should focus on next.
39. Hire someone to do the training.Teaching new people — especially the young, less experienced people who eventually make the best reps — is extremely time consuming. If you think about everything SinglePlatform does to get recruits ready for sales calls, it requires someone designing and administering tests, running all-day programming for a week, setting up simulation calls, and providing granular feedback. If you can hire someone with teaching experience who really gets what you’re trying to do, you can free up many managers’ time and end up with a better trained salesforce, Cerilli says.
At the end of the day, your human capital will always be your biggest needle-mover in sales. The best thing you can do as you enter hyper-growth is find people who can focus on optimizing this one component. If you give people all the tools they need to win, they will.