Our goal at Building the Sales Machine 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 revolutionary companies disrupt the norm. To 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 interview we sat down with former SVP of Sales at Offerpop. Prior to Offerpop, Josh served as VP Sales for Experian’s Audience IQ digital advertising solution, where he was responsible for developing initial market traction and building the sales team from the ground up. Previously, he worked as VP Sales for CheetahMail (acquired by Experian), helping it grow from start-up to a company grossing over $150 million in annual revenue.
Best tip for sales teams that are scaling?
Plan and build infrastructure ahead of the scaling process. Before ramping up sales hiring, I think it’s really important to have a clear view in regards to what your team will look like, how it functions, and all of the process needed to make it successful. This includes organizational structure, management layers, new hire on-boarding process, territory assignments, and ongoing coaching framework. It’s easy to get into a mode where you’re focused on the hiring process, but without infrastructure you’re not setting them up to be successful.
It’s easy to get into a mode where you’re focused on the salesperson hiring process, but without infrastructure you’re not setting them up to be successful.
What traits do you look for in a sales person?
I’m a big believer that success in sales is broken down into one part math, one part sales EQ.
On the math side of the equation, the sales person needs to understand the metrics required to overperform. Metrics like win rate, average order value, sales cycle, pipeline multiple, activity to meeting ratios, etc. It’s a relatively simple formula to understand the daily/weekly metrics required to exceed quota. During an interview process, I will drill into how well they know and understand the metrics. Sales can be a grind at times, so we’ll also discuss how they stay motivated to put in the necessary work to be successful. We’ll walk through these topics in context of their previous sales roles.
On the sales EQ side of the equation, top performers have a strong ability to read sales situations and act accordingly. It’s the intangibles- deeply understanding the client’s goals and objectives, picking up buying signs or objections before they surface, or understanding when to reposition the sales process based on how your prospect reacts to the pitch. During an interview process, I’ll ask the candidate to respond to various sales scenarios and outline their thought process behind why they are taking that strategy.
The top performers I’ve worked with typically have a strong sense for both sales math and sales EQ. They constantly work hard at measuring and improving both sides of the equation.
Do you believe you’ve built a metrics driven environment? What’s an example of something you’ve done that other organizations may not have thought of?
I’ve spent my career selling data driven marketing platforms, so using data to drive our business (or our client’s business) has always been front and center. Our sales operations manager runs a set of reports every Monday that pull an exhaustive list of metrics from the previous week/month/quarter, and creates several custom ratios and conversion metrics that we use to measure activity across the full funnel. It’s broken out by manager and individual salesperson, which allow us to quickly understand how everyone is pacing to their full funnel goals- opportunity creation, current pipeline velocity, and rolling 90-day forecast. It allows us to address any potential issues before they become major problems. One mistake we made early on was using average metrics to forecast individual performance. In a business like ours, with varying package and pricing combinations, we really needed to create individual formulas to accurately determine areas of success vs improvement. It was worth the additional effort.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from a mentor?
The best piece of simple advice that has served me well is to think about where you want to go and what you want to achieve, and to put a plan together to get there. In other words, set big long term goals, and a series of smaller goals to help develop the path to get there. It’s been useful for me in achieving career goals, as well as during the yearly sales grind. For example, if you want to hit 250% of your quota, do you understand the smaller steps it takes to get there? If you want to go from an Account Executive to VP Sales, what does the path look like?
What’s your favorite sales book?
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. At the end of the day, we’re all in sales. Whether you’re on a sales team or not, we all try to convince other people to do the things we want them to do- go to a specific restaurant, agree to a date, watch football instead of reality TV, buy our product, etc. Influence covers scientifically proven techniques to increase the likelihood of “achieving compliance”.
This book really helps develop sales EQ, and personally, has been more effective than standard sales books, which mostly focus on sales frameworks.
Josh leads Offerpop’s global sales and business development teams. Prior to Offerpop, Josh served as VP Sales for Experian’s Audience IQ digital advertising solution, where he was responsible for developing initial market traction and building the sales team from the ground up. Previously, he worked as VP Sales for CheetahMail (acquired by Experian), helping it grow from start-up to a company grossing over $150 million in revenue. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wagner College. You can follow Josh on twitter here and on linkedin here.