“our experience suggests that CEOs who are able to take a step back and view sales through a holistic lens ... have the highest level of success.”
Eight Core Components to Building a High-Performance Sales Team
- Customer & Prospect Database:
- Develop a comprehensive list of all existing customers and prospects in the market that includes key variables that may be used in account prioritization and targeting, some of which may not be directly available in the public domain.
- Account Targeting:
- Leverage knowledge within your company and review historical drivers of sales wins to determine what variables support success within your sales organization. Weighting these variables and balancing them with deal size can assist in prioritizing accounts for your reps to target (prioritizing purely based on deal size is often the wrong answer).
- Sales Playbook & Strategies:
- Establish a sales playbook for your reps to codify the messaging, approach to different customer segments, objections handling, competitive dynamics, and coordination with other resources within your company.
- Sales Territory Design:
- Design territories that segment the market and align reps on specific strategies and approaches most common to each territory. It is important to note that territories, while often purely geographic, need not be one-dimensional (market segmentation strategy could lead to other territory approaches).
- Sales Compensation Plan:
- Establish a compensation plan that is competitive, incents the right behaviors, rewards top performers, and aligns with the predictability / timeline of your company’s bookings to revenue conversion.
- Hiring & Recruiting:
- Define a sales rep profile that focuses on sales and industry experience and matches your company's sales motion. Ensure you have a strict set of interviewing criteria that emphasizes prior sales rep success vs. quota at companies with similar deal sizes, sales cycles, and end markets.
- Develop sales training programs for initial onboarding of reps as well as ongoing training that focuses on product competency, relative value delivered to clients, and familiarity with the end customer’s business operations and financials.
- Sales Performance Management:
- Establish a regular cadence of 1x1 performance management meetings with the sales leader vs. broader team meetings, leverage a data-driven sales scorecard (highlighting individual performance, pipeline health, sales activities, territory coverage), and clearly define future action plans for the next meeting to create custom coaching for each rep.
“We have seen success deploying this framework within our portfolio.”
"While this framework can consistently be applied across industries and business models, it is important to note that this is not a cookie-cutter playbook."
We have seen success deploying this framework within our portfolio. Whether it was helping a services company’s sales team scale from $11M in annual bookings to $36M in two years or establishing the first professional sales organization at a software company and accelerating bookings growth from $1M per year to $3M run rate in less than 12 months.
While this framework can consistently be applied across industries and business models, it is important to note that this is not a cookie-cutter playbook. The reality is that selling software in higher education institutions will differ from how a service offering is sold to a skilled nursing facility or how a construction company will think about purchasing workflow software. Taking the framework as step one, we’ve found a hands-on engagement model, truly understanding the end customer’s journey, experience, and the industry dynamics, will bring true impact.
Serent Capital invests in profitable, growing software and service companies. We typically invest in founder-led companies and often represent the first institutional capital in the company. We are highly selective, choosing to invest in only a handful of businesses each year. Our selectivity ensures that all our companies receive the attention and expertise that they need. Learn more about our portfolio companies.