Sales Management Training: 9 Keys for a High-Velocity Team

Do you manage a sales team or an organization that has a sales team? If so, you might often find yourself thinking, “I feel like with just a couple of small tweaks, we could be making so many more sales…”

If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. One of the most common questions I get from sales managers is, “How can I make some small changes that will allow my sales team to sell significantly more?”

Simply put, small tweaks have an outsized impact in sales.

We see that high-velocity sales teams do certain things just a little bit differently—and it makes a huge difference. These small changes might not seem transformational on their own, but taken together, little tweaks can take a team from average to high-velocity.

In this video, I’m going to show you some top sales management training tips on this concept. 

Check out the 9 keys to building a high-velocity sales team now: 

Why Prospects Push Back on Price

1. Scalable offering.

1. Scalable offering.

Scalability is basically the starting point for building a high-velocity sales organization in the first place. You simply must have an offering that’s scalable; there must be a strong product-market fit. People must actually want or need what you’re selling. If you don’t have the right offering for the right people, then trying to scale is like building a house on a foundation made of clay.

One of the most important sales management training ideas is the concept of putting a product in place that essentially sells itself in some ways. Now, obviously, many products or services are either invisible or commonly available, which makes it hard to literally throw them out into the market to sell on their own. But it’s up to you as the sales manager to do the legwork to make that product or service as saleable as possible. That way, your sales team is starting with an advantage. Making sure your offering is scalable is the number one way to give your sales team an edge from the start, setting them up for high-velocity selling.

2. Career progression.

2. Career progression.

When it comes to sales management training, one of the biggest mistakes I see sales organizations make is that they try to exclusively hire seasoned sales veterans. The problem is two-fold. First, it’s really hard to find seasoned sales veterans who want to leave the organization where they currently work. And second, most people, particularly in the younger generations, want to see career progression at a company. They want to know that even if they start out lower (such as in a business development rep position), they can achieve higher levels of success (moving on to be an account executive, for example). But if those roles are already filled with seasoned veterans who are going to stay in their positions forever, the outlook for career progression is bleak at best.

Creating an environment where you have true career progression on display is one of the keys to building a high-velocity sales team. This way, if reps are really successful in their role, they know they can move on to become a sales manager, a director, a VP—or whatever it is. Fostering obvious career progression will allow you to hire top-performing talent at the lower levels. People who start out at your organization in a sales entry-level position can prove themselves, learn about your company, master your processes, and then develop into high-performing salespeople.

3. Right people.

3. Right people.

One of the most critical sales management training credos is that you must have the right people in the right roles. This might sound obvious, but sales managers and sales leaders say to me all the time, “Oh man, I just can’t get my people to really close deals. I have no idea why.” My first reaction is always to ask, “Well, do you have the right people in the right roles in the first place?” It often turns out that they don’t.

I like to think of this in terms of sports. When building your sports team, you’ve got to start with people who are at least athletic. They don’t necessarily have to be experts in the particular game you’re playing, but they should at least be generally athletic. That’s true of sales, too. You’ve got to hire the right people who can grow into the position. The important factors are potential, eagerness, drive, and will. Find those people and show them real career progression is possible at your organization. Have a process in place for hiring the right people for the right roles on a consistent basis.

4. Align incentives.

4. Align incentives.

One of the biggest barriers to creating a truly high-velocity sales team is lack of alignment. What I mean by that is, if we don’t have clear alignment between what the company wants to accomplish, and why and how salespeople are rewarded for their efforts, then we’re not going to be successful. Aligning incentives is the backbone of any successful sales management training initiative.

The ideal situation is one in which the compensation (and in particular, the commission) is rewarding the right sales behaviors. For example, if you want people to be creating their own leads, then you’ve got to incentivize them to do that. Break down your sales organization into teams and roles and incentivize each group in alignment with company goals. People on the lead generation side should be rewarded for setting appointments. Account executives should be incentivized to close deals…and so on.

By aligning incentives appropriately, you can make sure that even when people are working from home and you’re not watching them every day, you have aligned incentives. If you’ve got go-getters in the right roles, they’re all going to march forward.

5. Lead gen.

5. Lead gen.

This may sound trite, but sales teams will struggle without a lead generation process in place. Lead gen can look very different at different organizations. It could be that you have a business development team whose sole job is to schedule appointments for your closers. Or maybe you just have a really strong marketing group that can also schedule appointments for your closers. But what we don’t want to do in today’s world of selling is ask closers to generate their own leads.

Closers can certainly leverage referrals, introductions, and client relationships to get just a couple of extra appointments on top, but they shouldn’t be in charge of setting appointments in general. Closers shouldn’t be doing cold prospecting because A) they’re typically not very good at it, and B) they really don’t want to do it. Instead, by having a strong lead gen process in place, you can make sure that your closers are doing what you actually want them to do: closing deals.

6. Sales process.

6. Sales process.

This sales management training tip goes back to the idea of career progression. If you’re hiring veteran senior salespeople, they’re going to bring their own sales processes with them. But obviously that comes with a lot of baggage, too. High-velocity sales teams typically hire people who are relatively newer in their career, and then they provide them with the sales process to follow. That way, they can train the sales team on the exact process they want them to use.

When you teach your sales team the same proven sales process to follow, you know that they’re out there having the types of conversations you want them to have. And ultimately, you’re all speaking with the same vocabulary. When a sale doesn’t go well, you’ll have the right vocabulary to understand whether those salespeople did what they really should have done in any particular situation. This all starts by having an organizational sales process in place.

7. Organized system.

7. Organized system.

This is pretty boring, I know. But having an organized system in place is one of the key pillars of sales management training that can’t be ignored. I see sales organizations all the time that aren’t using their CRM system at its full capability—or they’re not even using a CRM system at its minimal level. They may even just have a bunch of Google Docs or Excel spreadsheets instead of a CRM system.

The key here is to organize all of the systems in place at your sales organization—not just the CRM. What system are you using for your cold email outreach? What system are you using for your phones? How does all of it organize into one smooth stack of technology that allows your salespeople to do as little operational and administrative work as possible? Answer these questions and you can make sure your sales team is ultimately laser-focused on what you want them to do: sell.

8. Coaching.

8. Coaching.

I find that while most sales managers and sales leaders say they coach their sales teams, they actually do much less coaching than they really should. They get mired in the administrative stuff, just like salespeople do, so they’re not doing enough of what actually matters: coaching.

The number one activity that any sales manager can do is coach. If you’re not consistently coaching your reps, then you’re not really doing your job as a sales leader. Coaching typically involves using some technologies, such as call recording or Zoom recording, to record each team member’s sales interactions. Then, you should be taking your reps through a process of actually watching or listening to themselves on the recording.

This reminds me of when I played college football, and our coach would tape our practices and we’d watch it right after we practiced. And then the coach would say, “Well, what happened here, Wayshak?” The tape doesn’t lie. So, when you’re consistently coaching your salesperson on their call or Zoom recordings, you have something concrete you can go over with them, to help them develop and create their own path for growth.

9. Accountability.

9. Accountability.

Accountability ties together all the pieces of sales management training that we’ve been talking about so far. Having strong accountability processes in place is the best way to hold reps accountable to what you want them to do— having the types of conversations you want them to have, doing the type of sales activity you want them to do, sending out enough proposals, or moving prospects through the sales pipeline as quickly as they need to be. Having some real metrics to hold salespeople accountable to actually takes a lot of pressure off the sales managers. When you have an accountability system with metrics in place, the automatic reporting does a lot of the management work on its own. As a result, managers need not constantly check in on what salespeople are doing. The data on what they’re doing is already there. You can see exactly what’s happening—and that’s a huge step in the direction of building a high-velocity sales team.

So there you have it. Now you know 9 sales management training keys to building a high-velocity sales team. Which of these ideas will you implement with your sales team now? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.

More Keys for a High-Velocity Team…

Could your company’s sales culture be stronger? If so, you’re not alone.
In just the past few years, we’ve seen an unprecedented amount of change in the business world. Without a world-class sales culture, organizations simply haven’t been able to withstand the turmoil.

Since 2000 alone, a whopping 52% of Fortune 500 companies have either gone bankrupt, been acquired, or disappeared completely. At this current rate, about 50% of all S&P 500 firms will be replaced by 2027.

At the same time, the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 firm was around 75 years in 1960. Today, it’s less than 15 years, and declining all the time. Specifically in the world of sales, the data is equally bleak. The average tenure of a VP of sales has dropped precipitously from 26 months 7 years ago to 19 months today, and that’s across all industries and geographies.

Quota attainment has dropped as well, from 63% about 5 years ago to 53% today. But there are some tactical, tangible strategies you can implement to build a world-class sales culture that can withstand these brutal changes.

In this sales management training video, I’m going to show you 9 tactical strategies for a world-class sales culture. Check it out:

Be sure to download Marc’s incredible Key Pages & Worksheets Guide mentioned in this video! Just click here to get the Key Pages & Worksheets Guide instantly.

10. Thoroughly assess your existing team.

10. Thoroughly assess your existing team.

I can’t tell you how many managers and business leaders come to me and say, “I need you to train my salespeople because they’re doing a terrible job.” Now, that may sound logical to some people at first. But it’s completely illogical when you really think about it. The reality is, there are probably some people on that team who shouldn’t even be there. And so, before we ever get into sales training, we want to first assess the existing sales organization.

Up front, we want to understand: Are the right people on the team in the first place? If not, then my suggestion is to either move them to another department where they might be happier, such as operations or customer service, or let them go and find a job elsewhere. You need to have a team of salespeople who are coachable, buildable, and willing to implement new ideas. If you don’t have this, then everything else is going to be a waste of time. No amount of sales management training will help you. You need to have the right people from the start, so assess your existing people before you do anything else.

What I suggest you do is rate them on an A to F scale. A is obviously superior performers. F is someone who really needs to be elsewhere. If anyone is below a B-minus, then they’re probably not the right fit for your team. You want to be focusing only on those higher performers.

11. Use a process for identifying superior talent.

11. Use a process for identifying superior talent.

You may not be actively involved in the sales hiring process at your organization. But if you’re a manager or even the CEO of a good sized organization, you need to make sure that the process for hiring talent is going to yield superior performers. That means having a systematic process for hiring with multiple steps that force potential sales hires to demonstrate their selling ability. This is something I implement with my clients all the time, because we need to ensure the people we’re hiring are going to be the right fit.            

Now, nothing is 100% certain. But you can mitigate a lot of uncertainty around the hiring process by making sure it’s systematic, it’s intentional, and it uses all the tools available to ensure someone is a superior fit. Some of those tools might include online assessments that assess both behavior and cognitive fit; pre-screen calls that test candidates’ ability on the phone through roleplays; and other highly structured methods of assessing potential sales hires.        

12. Know the strategic math to grow your sales.

12. Know the strategic math to grow your sales.Every manager, CEO, and sales leader must understand the exact math that goes into increasing sales.    

There are only three ways to actually increase sales. First, you need to increase the conversion rate of every opportunity that’s in front of you. Next, increase the average size of each sale. And finally, increase your sales pipeline, or the actual raw number of prospects that you’re getting in front of.                              

Most organizations tend to focus on the first and last. They’re thinking about how to increase conversion rate and how to get in front of more people. But very often, the easiest one is increasing the average size of each individual sale so that sales increase. If you combine all three of these together, they have a multiplicative effect: You can actually double sales by increasing each of those areas by only about 26%. So, you can make smaller tweaks to each area to have a knock-on effect that’s huge. Understanding that math is vital to ultimately growing your sales.    

13. Implement leveraged prospecting.

13. Implement leveraged prospecting.So many CEOs and sales leaders come to me and say, “I want our salespeople to be making more cold calls.” My first response is always, “Well, help me understand. Is cold calling the most effective use of their time?” Now, in some cases, it can be — but very rarely.                     

This doesn’t mean that making a call to a person you don’t know is ineffective. It just means that the act of a pure cold call — where the other person has no idea who you are, has never received anything from you, and is just getting a random phone call from you — is probably not going to be the best use of a salesperson’s time.

Instead, we want to use leverage to make sure that every action by our salespeople has the highest likelihood of leading to either a meeting or a sale. So, leveraged prospecting simply means that we use every prospecting tool possible to make sure that salespeople are going to be effective. That typically looks like having a real sales prospecting campaign that salespeople are following, including a combination of emails, phone calls, LinkedIn messages, voicemails left, packages sent, etc.

Give prospects lots of content throughout this process and lots of ideas they can implement. Then, by the time you actually get the person on the phone, it’s most likely to lead to some kind of a real next step. We want to have leveraged prospecting. We don’t just want our salespeople to be making more dials. Make sure those dials are effective. 

14. Have a structured sales process.

14. Have a structured sales process.This is a tough one. Many organizations are all over the place when it comes to sales process, so at the end of the day, they just end up letting their salespeople do whatever they want.

The problem with this is that it’s like herding kittens. Everyone is going off in different directions. Everyone is doing different things, and there’s no common sales philosophy within the organization. Quite frankly, what most salespeople are deciding to do on their own is probably not the most effective use of their time.

Put a structured sales process in place that walks salespeople through how to get prospects on the phone or how to get in front of prospects. What does that initial discovery process look like? How are they presenting? What do the proposals look like? Once we actually close a sale, how are we onboarding prospects into our general processes?

Structuring out that sales process is key. If your organization is small, then it’s probably just about finding some basic sales training to give your entire sales team. If you’re a bigger organization, you can really customize that process to make sure that it fits exactly in line. Every step, every question, every line is understood so that way, even if people aren’t following it exactly by the script, there is a process that they can follow, and you can manage that exact process. 

15. Track discovery meetings closely.

15. Track discovery meetings closely.Managers, CEOs, CSOs, and VPs of sales always ask me, “Marc, what is the most important KPI or what’s the most important metric that we can be tracking of our salespeople?” There is no one right answer to that question, but if I were to generalize one answer that is accurate for most organizations, it would be the number of discovery meetings that salespeople are setting. Discovery meetings are those initial sales meetings that are in the calendar for that first introduction.

If managers are tracking that number, they’ll have the most likely indicator of that salesperson’s success because discovery meetings are the ultimate leading indicator of success. If a salesperson has tons of discovery meetings in their calendar, then you probably have a pretty good idea that they are likely to be successful in the following months.

Use your CRM to really track those discovery meetings and make sure that salespeople are setting enough discovery meetings. A whopping 90% of the issues I see in terms of prospecting are simply due to salespeople not setting enough discovery meetings, and so they have this empty pipeline, and all of the issues snowball from there. Make sure that the one thing you’re really tracking besides of course sales numbers is the number of discovery meetings that salespeople are setting or that they have on the books.

16. Let your CRM do the heavy lifting.

16. Let your CRM do the heavy lifting.

I always ask managers, owners, and CEOs the same question: “Do you know exactly what your salespeople are doing on a day-to-day basis?” What’s amazing is that they often can’t answer that question in the affirmative. They say, “Oh, yeah. I think we generally have an idea.” I say, “No, no, no. Do you know exactly what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis? Can you track that? Can you see what’s actually happening?” Most managers, even VPs of sales at pretty sophisticated organizations, simply can’t say yes to that question. But the success of the organization depends on your ability to know what salespeople are doing.

 This isn’t about being Big Brother. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s about letting your CRM present to you a story of what salespeople are actually doing. That way, you don’t have to stop in on their office or poke your head in and say, “Hey, what’s going on today? What are you doing today?” It’s the exact opposite. You can see exactly what’s happening in the CRM. You know exactly how many meetings they’ve scheduled, how many calls they’ve made, how many referrals they’ve asked for. Those key metrics are being tracked in the CRM so you don’t have to play that Big Brother role.

17. Run a structured sales meeting.

17. Run a structured sales meeting.Have you ever been in a meeting that was just completely unstructured? Suddenly, you look at your watch, and it’s been 90 minutes. You’ve accomplished exactly nothing. Well, this may be the experience that your salespeople have when they sit in on your sales meetings.

Now, I don’t mean to be aggressive about this, but it is so important that managers run structured sales meetings with their salespeople. There must be a clear agenda to every meeting, along with a clear set of commitments that each salesperson is 100% committed to accomplishing over a specific period of time. Likely, a period of time that will lead to the next sales meeting, when we will then check up on those commitments to see if they’ve actually done what they’ve said they were going to do. Start to run those structured sales meetings, and it’s amazing how meetings suddenly become more valuable.

A structured sales meeting means that it is regularly scheduled, there’s an agenda, and that the follow-up is consistent. You may run a meeting once a month, or you may run it once a week. It depends on the type of organization you have. Make sure the cadence is completely consistent, so salespeople can start to expect that consistency. Accountability starts to drive performance when salespeople know that there’s real consistency. Be sure to run that structured sales meeting.

18. Coach with intention.

18. Coach with intention.Coaching is one of those things that most managers know they need to be doing more of it. Yet, they don’t do much of it at all. It tends to be very reactive.                               

As managers, when we coach with intention, it means that we have a systematic process to coaching people. One of the things that I teach my clients is how to coach in a way that is leading to the answer, but not leading with the answer. It’s really easy for a manager to just say, “Hey, so I just watched what you did, and here’s what I think you should do differently.”

It’s really easy to do that. We tend to, as managers, be very driven and we just want to get right to the point. But what we actually want to do is have a systematic approach to asking questions of our salespeople to get them to lead themselves to the answer.

We want to ask questions of the salespeople. I call it the Rule of Three. Any time you have a coaching point that you want to make, ask three questions to get there. Let’s say you’re in a meeting with a salesperson and they just completely botched the budget part of the conversation with the prospect. Rather than saying, “Hey, you really want to be getting right into budget,” start with, “So, walk me through what you think could have been done differently in that meeting.”

Maybe they recognize the budget thing. Maybe they don’t. You say, “Well, help me understand the budget piece. What was your takeaway in terms of what their budget really is,” and now, we want to dig into that. Keep asking questions to get them to articulate that there was a challenge. This is what coaching with intention is all about. Whether you’re the CEO managing the VP level, or you’re the VP managing your managers, or you’re the manager managing your salespeople, or you’re the business owner managing your own salespeople, you need to be coaching with intention.

So, now you know 9 tactical strategies for a world-class sales culture. I want to hear from you. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comments section to get involved in this conversation.

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About the Author Marc Wayshak

Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.

Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.

Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.

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