Five New Rules for a Modern Sales Leader

In a new era of data-driven sales, it's time to reassess how you train, motivate, and evaluate your team


There's a set of new rules for the modern sales leader. The B2B market has evolved considerably over the past five to 10 years, marking a new era of dealmaking. In order to maximize the capacity of your sales team and maximize your revenue, consider these five new laws towards growth, which were articulated at the Revenue Summit 2018 in San Francisco by the team of Jacco vanderKooij of Winning By Design and Rob Jeppsen of Xvoyant.

1. Apply the New Math

Math in sales is about more than just dollar figures. The new math is about using your resources, applying the talents of your people, and using their time most effectively. Here are three new formulas you need to know.

The New Math: 7 Is Always Greater Than 10

Quantity is not as important as quality when it comes to sales reps. You won't maximize your returns by just putting as many bodies as possible out in the field. Seven trained, developed sales reps are more valuable than 10 average reps.

To maximize growth, consider focusing on seven well-trained people. If you are worried about finding money for training, consider this: by focusing on seven, you have freed up the salary and benefit costs of three people.

4 Plus 1 Is Bigger Than 5

This means that four days of work plus one day of training amounts to more than five days of work. If you take on a monthly, weekly, and daily routine, you get your training done while the work is underway.

Set a theme for every month. Every week, review that theme for one to two hours. Every day, do a 15-minute training session on that activity. Overall, that's only 1/2 day a week -- but it adds up to more than a marathon session on a Friday.

5 Is Always Greater Than 15

Everybody has to be trained and we have to stay current and relevant in the market. Those five relevant reps, who know and understand the current market, will outperform the 15 who are still following old routes to success.

2. Chase the 80/80 Rule

It's time to abandon the Pareto rule of 20 percent of the workforce doing 80 percent of the work. As soon as you are looking at a more contracted market, that 20 percent simply doesn't have the ability to produce big deals.

Instead, you should focus on getting your 80 percent that were producing 20 percent of sales to bring in 80 percent of the sales. In previous generations, the peak performers had to outperform their counterparts by four times. Through efficient training, everyone can carry their weight.

3. It's About the Process

You may think it's natural that only 20 percent of your sales force will be peak performers. In reality, a process-driving training program is your ticket to 80/80. By creating a predictable process, you can get 80 percent of your sales agents to where you want them to be, 10 percent to a place you can live with, and 10 percent still striving to get there.

4. Use the Right Data

Data is fundamental to assessing how your sales agents are performing. However, it's important to focus on the right metrics. Volume metrics of the past would measure how many contact attempts reps made. However, that fails to consider the quality of those deals.

The new important data is productivity metrics, specifically those measurements that go beyond activities like number of customer contacts made in a day. Focus instead on productivity metrics like lifetime value of a customer, which gives credit to the employee whose past deals have developed into long-term relationships and future partnerships.

5. Drive Different Behavior

How do you motivate your salespeople? There are four key factors: money, experience, education, and networking opportunities. The most important to today's workforce is education. Employees want their employers to invest in them. If you don't invest in training your sales reps, you're putting an uneducated person in one of the most important roles.

Move your organization into the future by following these new rules of sales. It's a new era of growth.

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