ICYMI, 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 help bring some of these great teams, leaders, and strategies to life through our articles, meet-ups, speaking events and interviews.
Jorge Soto ran Twitter’s Inside Sales Team, before SDR became the super hot buzzword it is today. He’s since built, advised and helped many more teams scale their operations as a founder of Sales4Startups.org, and now part of the SalesHacker family. Now that he’s founded his own sales development technology called Dashtab.co and consulting with the folks at RedBridge.co, we stopped to grab his thoughts on the lay of the land.
What is one thing that you’re doing that you think sales leaders today aren’t doing enough of? Why?
A leader with emotional or “human” intelligence is absolutely critical. I don’t think enough “sales leaders” have a clue what it is to be a real leader. Most think it’s about buying the right software tools or creating the best strategies. As a result they miss out on the most important aspect of their sales organization; their reps.
I always have and will always invest time, energy, and emotion into getting to know my reps. It’s important to have more than just sales related conversations and understand your reps at the human level. After all, they are human, and so are you by the way.
I have seen a lot of poor excuses for sales leaders here in Silicon Valley. You’ll often have 4.0 MBA student from Stanford, who is surely the smartest person in the room, but a) don’t have a clue what it is to sell anything, b) their emotional intelligence is about as advanced as my left shoe.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Stanford graduates. In fact I wish I was half as academically intelligent as most of them appear to be. However, we’re generally not talking about solving complex equations. Although sales is becoming ever more scientific with the introduction of today’s tech, we are still in dire need of the role of a sales leader. Not a data scientist. Remember, we still have humans executing all this.
If you are looking at running a sales team solely based on numbers, you are dead wrong. It’s about the people, the humans; not some Salesforce report that you hacked together to cover up a subpar job of leading reps.
“If you are looking at running a sales team solely based on numbers, you are dead wrong. It’s about the people…”
If you were going to start a new team today what are the first 3 things you would do to get on the right track?
- Recruit and train the right teammates. Hiring the wrong reps can be the reason your team underperforms or even falls apart before having a real chance.
- Develop a powerful and comprehensive onboarding and training program. This is something that so many sales leaders screw up or completely blank on. If you don’t have a system to onboard, ramp, and continue to train your team you are missing a very important piece of your sales organization.
- Develop and refine a sales playbook. This playbook covers all aspects of the sales organization including the hiring strategies to tactics to software tools.
Man in the arena. Winston Churchill.
Man in the Arena:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
Who are 3 sales teams / leaders that you think are “doing it right”?
What is one thing that sales reps in general, should be doing more of?
Getting on the phones and having voice conversations. We are way to email centric right now. Although email is very effective I believe it should be used as a way to get on the phone and coordinate. If you are “selling” via email, you are drastically giving up control; leaving too many other variables and potential objections to be introduced.
Jorge Soto is a serial entrepreneur, artist, & sales trainer. He is founder of Dashtab.co, a sales development consultant tool & Soto Ventures. Previously, Jorge was 1st hire at MoPub, aquired by Twitter in 2013. After which he led Twitter’s Inside Sales operations before moving on to his own company. Jorge is also founder at Sales4StartUps (Exit to Sales Hacker in 2015), and is now a Trainer at Sales Hacker.