Three Undeniable Shifts Sales Leaders Can’t Ignore

by Amy Kohl
A woman is typing on a laptop at a table.

There’s been an undeniable shift within our client base regarding their sales management and strategy. I’ve noticed two major things in the last 24 months:

  1. Every company has a nationwide talent pool, which is incredible. However, cultivating loyalty and commitment remains a challenge.
  2. Salaries have grown exponentially and sales strategies that used to work aren’t as effective anymore, leaving young companies at a crossroads as to how best to scale their sales. 

Both of these factors make it increasingly hard to build and manage sales teams. Sales is not for the faint of heart and no other department has a target on their back quite like sales.

That’s why I’m sharing my perspective on sales management after seeing over 50 companies choose different paths—most good, some bad, and a few really bad. 

1. You don’t always need tenure early.

With sales salaries costing more than ever and post-onboarding performance varying greatly, aggressively filing out your sales team isn’t the best tactic anymore. Remember, one good rep can outperform two decent ones. Of course, good reps should be expensive, but young companies should avoid hires that are too senior. 

Instead, look for a go-getter that closes. Someone with room to learn and who can be taught. Mentoring the up-and-comers can be challenging in the beginning, but the payoff can change the trajectory of scaling your sales team after they take off. Give rising stars the opportunity to shine. 

2. Good reps seek companies that invest in sales enablement. 

Reps care just as much, if not more, about joining a company that invests in sales enablement as they do their on-target earnings (OTE). As a sales rep, your OTE can be $300k on paper, but if employers don’t share resources or have a process built around helping their reps achieve their quotas, a good rep will flee.

Imagine being asked to cook a complex dish—without the recipe. If you’ve eaten the dish before, maybe you can guess the ingredients and get it close enough, but you’re unlikely to cook it perfectly. After so long, it becomes tiring and even frustrating to try and cook the dish. 

In situations like the one above, reps typically leave—or they never take the gig in the first place. That’s why prioritizing enablement is crucial. Plus, it helps you stay leaner, longer. Your small team can have the output of a team 3x their size with the right amount of automation and enablement. 

3. Make it impossible for good reps to even consider leaving. 

In order to cultivate a high-performing and committed culture, leaders need to prioritize their reps’ onboarding process, set realistic ramp expectations, and compensate aggressively. Consider offering bridge salaries early on while a rep is onboarding to help smooth the financial transition for them and/or their families. 

Picture a world where you have a lean team of enabled A-players that consistently hit quota. You’re treating them well and they’re motivated to serve your company. Choosing two reps and making whatever sacrifice it requires to onboard, compensate, and enable them can form the basis of your hiring strategy and onboarding blueprint. It will pay off! Hire in pairs and treat them well.

Two women are sitting next to each other at a table and looking at their laptops.

Stay Leaner, Longer 

After serving over 100 clients, I’ve seen how our leaner sales teams are more aligned with the sales process, collaborate better on strategy, and drastically make their pipeline conversions more predictable. 

In these cases, for each client, my team has innovated our strategy to put a few of their reps on steroids with more ammo behind them. We’ve doubled up on social and call task assignments for only high-converting personas. We’ve doubled down our targeting to land grab as fast as possible in our top converting industries—even expanding our demand generation to more than just the buying team. As a result, our clients’ sales management is locked down.

You see, when you can answer, “What’s producing the best pipeline and most revenue?”,  you can inform your top funnel strategy with what really matters. But without the right infrastructure, collecting these insights can feel like rocket science. 

At AK Ops, we enable sales teams to work the right leads, at the right time, with the right message—ultimately building bigger pipelines with better conversion rates. 

Interested? Let’s talk.