Guest post from the Salesloft team. For more great content, check out their blog.

What separates great companies from good ones? 

It’s one thing to succeed with a handful of employees, but scaling ideas, products, and processes is a whole new ballgame. Throw an evolving market into the mix and the challenge intensifies. 

How do you structure a sales team at a nimble startup all the way to maturing the sales process of an enterprise organization?

Building and maintaining your unique culture is a huge part of that endeavor. It sets the tone for how employees interact with one another and how they treat your customers. Yet, as companies grow, culture frequently collapses. 

How do you scale a strong organizational structure and maintain a world-class sales culture all at once?

Attract and Retain Killer Talent

Great people are the backbone of a healthy organization. Derek Grant, SVP of Commercial Sales at SalesLoft, says, “We’re in the people business, we just happen to sell software.”

Too many companies place all their focus on product. But even the strongest products will fail. So, the people who support your customers are what make the experience.

To attract the right candidates, you’ve got to get crystal clear on your cultural objectives. Set your values and then defend them with your hiring choices.

At SalesLoft, we believe in making additions that support our core values, rather than seeking “cultural fit.” We could interview an incredible candidate, but if they don’t pass our values interview, we won’t hire them. In fact, only 1.3% of all candidates who apply here make it into SalesLoft. 

Another way to attract the right talent? Structure your interview process to avoid unconscious bias. Being intentional in this way supports more diverse hiring practices, and diversity in the workplace drives innovation.

Once you’ve got that talent in-house, your job has just begun. Top performers expect to be respected and challenged. 

First, respect their autonomy. Make sure your team is empowered to do their best work by trusting them to do it, without micromanagement. Strike the right balance between coaching and letting them succeed on their own steam. 

Killer talent also needs to be challenged every day—both by their work and by other high-caliber employees. 

In Good to Great, Jim Collins says, “Letting the wrong people hang around is unfair to all the right people, as they inevitably find themselves compensating for the inadequacies of the wrong people. Worse, it can drive away the best people. Strong performers are intrinsically motivated by performance, and when they see their efforts impeded by carrying extra weight, they eventually become frustrated.”

And speaking of the wrong people, don’t tolerate bad behavior just because someone is a top performer. Maintaining a strict “no jerks allowed” policy compels well-behaved talent to stay.

Last, if you focus on giving your employees a career rather than just a job, you’ll foster loyalty in your organization.

Prioritize Mental Health for Your Teams

Sustaining a career in sales is hard. In this fast-paced world driven by quotas and the bottom line, sales professionals must prioritize their mental health to succeed. And in this environment, having conversations about feelings might seem frivolous. But it’s not. 

The World Health Organization found that depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. And there are many effective measures that organizations can take to promote mental health for employees.

The Sales Health Alliance says, “Currently sales organizations and sales leaders are missing a massive opportunity that comes with improving the mental health within their sales team. Studies consistently show improved well being leads to increased productivity, engagement and retention.”

The piece goes on to explain that cultivating trust between managers and reps, prioritizing coaching and collaboration, and using gamification are all ways to promote mental health in your sales organization.

Beyond that, author Jeff Riseley says that sales leaders must become mental health experts themselves. 

If you can learn how to manage your own emotions and prioritize self care, you set the example for your team. One way to do this? Take time off to rest and recharge and make it mandatory for your team to do the same.

Jeff says, “Maintaining positive mental health while working in an environment like sales that demands daily high-performance, has never been easy. The best way to improve mental health is to start having a conversation about it.”

Get Customer Obsessed

We’re living in the age of the customer. So, for your sales organization to succeed, the buyer journey must be at the heart of your sales process.

In TOPO’s latest Sales Process Design research, Craig Rosenberg, co-founder and chief analyst says, “The first step is to understand how customers typically buy a similar solution. With that understanding, an organization can design and optimize the process to meet the buyer’s needs.”

While that approach sounds obvious, Rosenberg has found that “very few companies match the design of their sales process with the reality of the buyer’s journey.”

Like it or not, brands like Amazon set the gold standard for buyers. Customers demand an experience that lets them move at their own pace and on their own terms. So, set your sales team up for success by aligning your sales process with the customer buying cycle.

Join Us for REV2020: Where Sales Is Going

Want to go deeper on organizational structure and culture? Join us at REV2020 March 9 -11. It’s SalesLoft’s annual sales and revenue conference, we’ll cover these topics and more in our Revenue Leadership & Strategy Track.


Guest post from the fine people at SalesLoft.