Book Review Part 4: Predictable Revenue

At Acquirent we participate in all varieties of ongoing training to include a book club. Recently we read Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross, which describes the processes he implemented to help Salesforce.com add an extra $100 million in revenue in the early years of the company.

We created this blog series to save you time from having to read the book yourself (although it’s a short book, who has time to read these days?) and to list the takeaways and best practices from the book that we’re putting into practice, which we encourage you to do. This second installment in this series is by Sales Manager Shelli Anderson, links to the previous week’s reviews are at the bottom.

The final chapters of Predictable Revenue dealt with the exceptionally simple concepts of leadership and management. Ok, I’m kidding about them being “simple”. In reality these are not only two of the most difficult concepts for a company to consistently execute but also the most important. Commitment to a great leadership and management team is key to developing, leading and sustaining a healthy and sustainable sales structure and company.

Below are some of the takeaways-

6 Responsibilies of a Manager

1. Choose People Carefully. Understand the role you are hiring for and what will be expected from the person hired. Be careful, sometimes a “hungry” salesperson will be more beneficial than an “experienced” one.

2. Set Expectations and Vision. This is simple: Provide metrics expected to be achieved and give your salespeople resources and guidance to get there.

3. Remove Obstacles. Don’t over complicate process, commission plans, territory structures, etc. Simplicity + Clarity= Productivity.

4. Inspire your People. Don’t CHEERLEAD!—Understand your teammates motivations and their potential and lead them in the right direction.

5. Work for you People. Teammates want to grow and learn. Help them work towards their goals and the team success will follow.

6. Improve it Next Time. Nothing is perfect (except Lambeau Field)…always review your processes and structures to make them better.

I know he is on his way back to Cleveland but for the sake of a good analogy–Don’t let LeBron James “take his/her talents down to South Beach….”

Retaining Star Employees (The 12 Step Program)

1. Do I know what is expected from me at work? Are there daily, monthly, weekly goals? Dial/Revenue quotas? Set the table for your teammates so they can measure success.

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right? You wouldn’t want to get handed a knife and fork and be told to build a house would you? Give your teammates the technology, training, and support needed for them to do the job.

3. At work do I have the opportunity to do, what I do best, everyday? This goes back to choosing the right people for the position and giving them the tools to do so.

4. In the last 7 days I have received recognition or praise for good work? What salespeople do is hard, recognize the successes. Be careful though, not all teammates like the same kind of recognition.

5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person? Pay attention to your teammates not just as salespeople but as humans.

6.Is there someone at work who encourages my development? Here at ACQ we not only have full access and contact with the partners of our company and training courses but are also assigned a mentor to help with personal and professional development goals.

7. At work do my opinions seem to count? Not every suggestion can be implemented, but it can be heard. Give your teammates access to provide feedback and take it seriously. Your sales team is your “front line” so be sure to LISTEN to them!

8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel like my work is important? No matter how good a salesperson is, if they don’t feel like they are important they will look for a company that thinks they are. Don’t be fooled that just because a teammate is a top performer means they are happy.

9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? Build quality teams and cut out the lacking performers. Your top performers will burn out and get frustrated if they have to consistently carry their other teammates.

10. Do I have a best friend at work? Best friend might be a bit of an overstatement…I don’t think you need your teammates to get “BFF FOR LIFE” tattoos with each other or anything, but, some teammates do need someone to connect with.

11. In the last 6 months have I talked to someone about my progress? Check-ins are key and I would recommend not waiting 6 months and instead suggest a monthly 1-on-1 with each teammate if possible.

12. At work have I had opportunities to learn and grow? This will mean different things to different people. Know your teammates and you will know where they want to go…then it is up to you to guide them.

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I encourage you to run through these questions for yourself and with your teammates. You might be surprised at the responses you get or the questions you don’t have good answers to.

I would encourage reading the entire book to really get the full scope of how you can help your company attain Predictable Revenue but if you’re looking for the “Cliff Notes” read through the weekly posts below.

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