SBI Podcast

Joining us for today’s show is Jennifer Bakunas, the Senior Vice President of Americas Sales for Monotype.  Jennifer has a wealth of experience, from spinning up successful start-ups to running enterprise sales teams. She took over the sales leadership role at Monotype last year, and we join her at the end of one year to discuss her successful transformation of the 100-plus person sales force.

Today we are going to demonstrate how a head of sales transforms a selling team to hit their growth objectives. 

Why is this topic so important?  The honeymoon for a head of sales ends quickly.  Successful SVP’s of Sales have one key thing in common.  They get off to fast start with a successful transformation that starts bearing fruit in year one. 

In the first segment of the podcast, Jennifer seeks to answer the questions: As a new head of sales, how do you approach assessing your sales leadership talent? More specifically: How do you assess talent at the individual rep level? 

"How I approach talent assessment when I come to a new business, is to assess who you have, and then where the gaps are, and who you need to add. I think the best way to do that is to just dig in,  sit down, and meet one-by-one with every single individual on the sales team. You get to know them. You get to know their background. You get feedback on what they feel like the performance conditions are. What's working. What's not. And then you compare that to the results, and do a stack ranking of the team, because they've all likely existed at that point under the same performance conditions." 

Jennifer goes on to provide an overview of her account segmentation scheme, go-to-market strategy, sales process, buyer personas, and assessment of the performance conditions of the sales force. We talk through the transformation initiatives Jennifer put into place to lay the foundation for success and how she made sure the new initiatives were adopted. 

Jennifer outlines in the second segment how to successfully communicate with the sales team, as the new head of sales, to keep them informed and focused on the right things. 

We discuss how to approach segmenting your accounts to focus on the accounts that can produce the highest revenue yield in the shortest amount of time.  Next we cover the topic of  ales organization design, including type of reps you need, the best organizational chart, and the number of heads. 

The final segment of the show describes how elite sales leaders insert themselves into pricing strategy. Jennifer describes how to approach assessing your pricing strategy and common trouble spots to look for. She specifically outlines a proven roll out strategy for your newest pricing initiative.

Direct download: AP1768_Jennifer_Bakunas-18935.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:20am EST

Our guest today is Gabe Larson, the VP of InsideSales Labs for InsideSales.com. Having spent five years as the VP of Inside Sales, Gabe provides a behind-the-scenes look at building and operating one of the best sales development rep teams that we've ever had the benefit of examining.  InsideSales.com has experienced tremendous growth and the Sales Development Representative has played a significant role by filling the funnel with quality opportunities.

Listen as Gabe and I demonstrate how to fill the funnel with real sales opportunities that will drive revenue growth for your company. If you prefer to watch a HD Video of the interview, click here

So why this topic? Marketing is going to contribute to about 30% of the pipeline, which means the sales needs to generate the remaining 70% of the sales opportunities. Pipeline per rep varies too much without a standard prospecting process used by all. So, lead quality and lead to opportunity conversion rates suffer when prospecting is left up to each individual sales rep. 

Gabe reveals, “Prospecting has become an interesting concept, especially in the tech space. How do you build that go to market strategy when it comes to structure? We've broken it down into three key areas: small business, medium business, and enterprise business. But to facilitate a bigger pipeline, we jumped on the train, and now have, what I consider to be one of the biggest innovations in sales in the last decade, and that is that sales development team.”

We begin with Gabe proving a sense of place by outlining the InsideSales.com sales organization and the various roles involved in prospecting for new customers. We then dive into the business case for the investment in building the Sales Development team of SDRs.  

In the middle segment of the show Gabe describes the prospecting process, the steps of engagement and how to make it easy to execute with technology.  We wrap up this segment by discussing the marketing support required to empower the SDR team, and how the SDR team support the marketing efforts to drive your buyers to your content and events. 

The SDR career track is a hotly debated topic among sales leadership, and we discuss the career opportunities the SDR role provides for the sales force.  Gabe explains: 

"There is a career track, and that's the great thing about stratification. You can come in as a mid-market SDR and move into an inbound rep, hone your skill, get the practice, and then move into that enterprise role. That's sometimes a year, a couple of years, but at that point, you're a pretty good prospector. Then if you want to jump into the closer role, you have the SMB track, the mid-market and enterprise. Very rarely do we push people obviously, from sales development into enterprise. But it was fantastic to move them into a mid-market or to an SMB type of role."

We summarize the show by describing the top metrics that indicate success and/or failure of the prospecting process.  Make sure to take the time to listen to the full postcast. The level of execution that Gabe describes will have sales leaders taking notes on how to execute and run a high performance SDR team.  

Direct download: VP1764_Gabe_Larson.mp3
Category:Sales Strategy -- posted at: 8:13pm EST

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