Recently, we invited notable experts in sales, marketing, and revenue operations to speak about their experiences and B2B sales strategy in our webinar, High-performing Sales Leaders Reveal Their Top 5 Secrets.
On the panel were SalesIntel’s board member Elizabeth Walter, Bryan Neale, Founder of Blind Zebra, Courtney Shaffer Lovold, VP of Sales at Zylo, and Amy Cerutti, Chief Growth Officer of Physicians Resources LTD (PRL).
The Secrets to Sales Successes
In the webinar, the panelists unpacked the top five secrets of high-performing sales leaders. Based on their experiences and expertise, each member of the panel was able to speak on their interpretation of the secret and elaborate on what it means to them.
1. Have a Defined Process and Operations, Then Follow It
Neale kicked off the conversation reiterating the importance of very clearly designed processes, but then following through. Many teams strive to have documented processes and procedures in place but struggle to use them in practice. He encouraged sales leadership to look in the mirror and ensure that they are practicing what they preach.
Lovold then added how critical it is to be efficient and optimized, but not to dwell on perfection before implementation. She tells her teams to “get something to help us be one step better, and then worry about the next.” Sales is ever-changing and to be successful you need to be agile and willing to change your process as needed. If you wait for your processes to be perfectly defined, they may already be out of date.
2. Practice Empathy
Walter begins by sharing how it’s important for leaders to keep their goals on track while still managing people, requiring them to be hyper-aware.
Lovold shared that it is critical for sales leaders to remember that their buyers are human and to strive to connect with them. By embracing that fully, we can bring empathy into our sales cycles and processes.
Cerutti joined in, sharing that the mentality and mindset need to always be thinking about the client – what’s best for them and how you can help them. But empathy goes beyond clients, it also includes the sales teams themselves. Sales leaders win when their teams win. As leaders, it’s key to act from a place of respect and consider others’ perspectives.
3. Be Hyper-Self-Aware
Warren introduced the concept of being hyper-aware, and how that can be tied back into the topic of empathy.
Lovold brought up that “you can’t truly embrace empathy until you understand your own self” and how individual stressors and motivators may contribute to that. As a sales leader, members of your team may not react or process things in the same way as you. Taking a unique approach with each member of your team and being open about your own struggles and joys can strengthen bonds internally by removing boundaries.
Cerutti mentioned that sales leaders should not take themselves too seriously and be open and vulnerable. You may not know it all, but you should always be willing to learn and grow. Cerutti reiterated the need to open up and connect, sharing that “vulnerability creates this ‘realness’ of you as a human that people will connect with.”
4. Own Your Number
Warren began by discussing how sales leaders are the ones who set the tone for their entire team. Having accountability and ownership be top-down, it’s indisputable. “Whether the numbers are great, or they aren’t so great, you just gotta own it.”
“Everything we measure in sales is a number, it’s measurable,” stated Neale. It’s easy to track your progress and embrace it. He shared examples from his tenure in the NFL and from his readings on how important it is to be accountable and contribute to the resolution of problems you may face.
Lovold then mentioned it’s important to focus on what’s important and decipher what is and isn’t resonating with your team. “The ownership is on us as leaders…I can’t win or lose without the people that surround me,” she said. “The teams that are best, and have the most longevity and continue to survive through adversity have a win or lose ownership mentality.”
5. Become a Spotter of Talent
The final secret of successful sales leaders is spotting talented players for your team. Neale began by speaking about “talent wizards” who excel in hiring and acquiring sales rockstars. In his experience, these “wizards” have a process that they use that doesn’t solely rely on energy and personality.
More important than extroversion is a drive for curiosity, according to Lovold. It’s a tell-tale sign in interviews and conversations and should be a core value for your team. They should be asking questions, inquiring, and searching for more information.
Warren circled back, mentioning that personality assessments can be a great indicator of future success on a sales team. These assessments can prepare leaders on how to manage these team members as well. Do they prefer structure and rules? Or do they work best when given their space? These tools when used in the screening process can be a great deal of help.
Expand Your Knowledge
The panel then opened up the floor for a Q&A, inviting webinar attendees to ask them anything. Topics ranged from establishing an effective sales culture, best hiring practices, and the best way to solicit feedback from your team.
As a sales leader, you can incorporate the lessons learned and secrets revealed from the panel to strengthen your B2B sales strategy and build a stronger pipeline.
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