September 17, 2013
Vendavo is growing its global sales force, and as a result, I spend a significant amount of time vetting candidates for multiple roles on our team. Recently, in a conversation with a strong candidate, I was asked, “How do you keep it all together, keep your global sales force running?” It is a good question. I responded that I approach leading my team from three dimensions: people, process, and cadence.
You have to find the best salespeople, ones who can close, who are competitive, who are eager to learn and do more.
You need process to feed and govern the sales machine. I often say a big part of my job is to feed the tiger, which means we invest in lead, appointment, and nurture generation processes so that our sales territories are constantly growing and so that our account executives are constantly motivated. In sales, nothing is more motivating than a real pipeline that is continually primed. Related to this, you also need a process to govern a deal. We built our own sales methodology to do so, and what it’s done for us is to provide a common language in tactically and strategically managing an opportunity. Vendavo is consistent in building and investing in these processes.
You absolutely must have a cadence. In fact, I think cadence in any business acumen is the most important part of management. Cadence is a rhythm. It is a discipline. It is a habit. It is the art of getting things done. It is a deliberate approach to business, and I think to life. Deliberate is an important word. You have to think business (and life) out, think it through, absorb it, contemplate it, write about it, find failure in it, celebrate success in it, and measure it. Cadence keeps me honest, and it keeps my team on it. For example, talking with my direct reports 1-1, every week, is cadence. I have found that weekly 1-1 sessions are great ways to provide coaching, guide deals, give feedback on recent meetings, and more. As another example, I host weekly regional meetings where we share sales updates in a small group setting, really digging into deals and helping others. In addition, the idea of facilitating a monthly learning call with my global team and inviting extended teams is a great way to teach about a special topic (like social media), or invite a senior colleague from another team to present the latest customer stories, or ask my CEO to talk about innovation strategy.
Cadence. Cadence. Cadence. Can you hear the drum?