Our goal at Building the Sales Machine (BTM) is to enable sales leaders in the tech community to help and learn from each other. We’re all in this boat together, trying to help evangelize new products and business models that will make people’s lives easier, better, more fulfilling. We’ll aim to bring some of these great teams, leaders, and strategies to life through our articles, meet-ups, speaking events and interviews.
For today’s Q & A, we’re publishing the second part of our chat with Matt Bress, VP of Sales of Simplifeye, a mobile technology platform to help doctors run their practices.
How do you get buy-in from the people you manage?
I am a big believer that, as a manager or leader, you don’t actually have the power to directly motivate your sales reps. Humans simply don’t possess that power over another (despite what we may think). Pat Summitt, one of my personal leadership role-models, summed this up once by telling her players “I will help you get there, but I won’t start your engine.” In reality, the best you can do to get buy-in is to create an environment and atmosphere where already-motivated people are able to achieve to the height of their potential. For me this encapsulates three main responsibilities as a sales leader: 1) inspiration/vision; 2) culture of success; 3) empower performance.
The single factor most determinative of whether a team succeeds or fails is its leader. As a leader you must be more than just technically proficient, operationally sound, or analytically savvy. Again, sales is HARD. Your team needs a reason greater than their day-to-day tasks or their monthly/quarterly commission check to completely buy in, they need a VISION for WHY they are doing this painstaking job and WHAT is the larger purpose they are helping the company achieve (Simon Sinek has a great concept of this in his “the Finite Game vs. the Infinite Game”, see video below) It’s not easy, and usually takes introspection at the highest level of company leaders for this vision to resonate and be applicable. Ideally, you as the leader are someone who is able to connect to your team on this visceral level; it is important that you are someone they respect, trust, and on some level aspire to be like.
A culture of success begins with realistic and attainable goals. Nothing is more deflating to an otherwise good rep/team than a quota that can’t realistically be met (remember, we are hiring highly competitive personas). There must also be clear expectations for how one goes about achieving the goal and predictable consequences (followed by decisive action) when expectations are not met. Winning begets winning, so celebrate and recognize wins (even the small ones) so that your reps and team continue to spiral up. Lastly, make sure your values align with success and never abandon or compromise them. Few things erode buy-in and culture more than a perceived deviation from alleged values.
Empowering performance means that as a leader you view your primary role as putting every individual in a position and providing them the tools needed to succeed. This means a genuine investment in reps as more than a cog in the wheel or a slice of the organization sales quota. It means providing them training materials, scripts, leads, dialers, CRM, coaching, and support that actually work for them. Too often sales orgs rely on their reps to “figure it out” or rely on their natural talent to make up for a lack of tools or resources. As the leader, you must send your troops into battle each day with the very best resources you are capable of mustering – never skimp on this. A rep’s success is a two way street; half the equation is what they are able and willing to put in, but the other half is what the leader and management is willing to invest in their success and growth. Finally, you must provide a roadmap for success. What are the benchmarks they should be achieving along the way to ultimately achieve their goal (e.g., 100 dials, schedule 8 demos, hold 4, close 1).
Matt Bress started his sales career at Single Platform as an AE, and rose through the ranks to sales manager, sales training manager, senior sales manager, and eventually Head of Sales. Since they he went on to lead as the VP of Sales at Lofty, which was recently acquired. He now leads the sales team for Simplifeye, a mobile technology company making it easier for doctors to run their practices and communicate with patients.