Add more content here...

Get the High-Ticket Growth Kit™ delivered to your inbox. We’ll email you one resource a day. Click here to subscribe.

Sales Recruitment Playbook: How To Stop Taking Sales Calls So You Can FINALLY Grow Your Business

Dear entrepreneur,

I'm about to give you the secret to going from janky 50k months to consistent, predictable 500k months. Are you ready?

Get off the damn phone.

That’s it.

To be more specific, get yourself off the damn phone.

Listen, you might be able to sell ice to an Eskimo. But if all the revenue in your business depends on you…

…you ain’t no entrepreneur. You’re self-employed. Yes, even at 50k.

So, if you're ready to make a change in your business and life…

If you're ready to go from frazzled and frustrated to FREE and FIRED UP…

If you're ready to reclaim your time and sanity…

If you're ready to stop taking sales calls so you can finally grow your business to $100k, $500k, or even $1m per month…

Then keep reading, because this sales recruitment playbook may be the most important thing you'll read, not just today, in your entire business journey.

Hi, my name is Mike Mark. I'm the founder of CoachingSales dot com. We're a sales consultancy that helps entrepreneurs go from 6- to 7-figures in under six months.

In the past 3 years, my team and I helped 150+ businesses hit million-dollar run rates. Some of our clients went from zero to $100,000 per month in under 60 days. That's because we've developed a blueprint for attracting, training, and managing multi-million dollar sales teams, over and over again.

Before I get into the meat of this playbook, let me give you the contents. Feel free to skip ahead to any topic you like.

Table Of Contents

Chapter 1: Finding 7-Figure Salespeople

  • You're Looking For Salespeople In The Wrong Places
  • The Classic “Head On Fire” Sales Recruitment Strategy
  • Recruiting Salespeople Is Like Finding Real Estate Deals
  • Salespeople Are Taking A Risk Too
  • Which Salespeople Perform The Best?
  • Red Flags When You're Interviewing Potential Sales Reps

Chapter 2: The Sales Hiring Process

  • “Why Won't This Sales Rep Work Out?”
  • The Trial Period For Shortlisted Sales Reps
  • The Final Selection Of New Hires
  • Paying Sales Reps: Commission Structure And On-Target Earnings

Chapter 3: Managing Sales Teams

  • Performance Metrics For Sales Reps
  • Training Sales Reps: Ramp-Up And Calibration
  • How To Lead Sales Teams
  • Numbers Mean There's Nowhere To Hide
  • Coaching Underperforming Salespeople vs. Top Performers
  • Your Sales Reps' Emotional Support Animal

Chapter 4: Scaling Sales Teams

  • When To Hire A Sales Manager
  • The Role Of A Sales Manager
  • The Right Way To Scale Your Sales Team
  • The Business Development Manager

Chapter 1: Finding 7-Figure Salespeople

You're Looking For Salespeople In The Wrong Places

Top-performing salespeople don't need jobs. The process of “finding a job” is the process of selling yourself.

So if someone's actually good at selling, they're not in a situation where they go without a job.

Also, what you'll tend to see is that people who are top-performing, consistent, valuable members, especially in the realm of sales, they get their “in” from referrals.

And it's not just in Sales. If you look at any role, the highest level candidates get introduced, they don't submit resumes.

They bypass the normal hiring process because people will say, “Hey, you know, so-and-so is really awesome. You should talk to them.”

So, if you look at big companies, the higher the talent level, the more likely it is that the hire comes in through a warm network, personal connections, or just someone knowing their work history.

And the more likely they are to already have a job, the more likely it is that they're transitioning to a job that's a better fit for them and their long-term goals.

The Classic “Head On Fire” Hiring Strategy

Here's what entrepreneurs tend to do when they need to hire a salesperson.

They're in a rush because one of two things is happening. Either they're running advertising and not closing, so there's a ton of anxiety there. Or they're running advertising, closing, and so busy they're about to burn out.

They're taking calls all day. They're exhausted. They're frustrated. They have little time to handle the rest of the business, work that needs to get done no matter what.

And on top of that, they have to add recruiting, training, and all those things.

Their head is on fire and they're looking for a bucket.

This forces them to take shortcuts because they're looking for a quick fix to their big problem.

And so, they'll say, “Hey, we're looking for a salesperson.”

They'll post it in three or four Facebook groups. Maybe they'll ask a few people in their network. They'll get about 10 people to interview (if they're lucky; I've seen a lot of people get less.)

And really, all 10 are basically the same person. All these “closers” who've come through some certificate program. They don't have a job. Or they have a job, but it's not a sales job and their experience isn't really relevant to what they're trying to do.

They'll make promises like, “Oh, I'll work on commission only, so you know, there's no risk to you.” Which is silly, because the risk is opportunity cost and what you have to invest in advertising in order to support those sales reps. So there is still a massive amount of risk.

And then, the entrepreneur usually chooses one to “try out” – which ends up lasting an entire quarter – and that sales rep doesn't work out. They may repeat this process 3 or 4 times before they find just one salesperson who sticks.

That's what happens when entrepreneurs try to find a quick solution and hire using just their warm network.

Hiring Salespeople Is Like Finding Real Estate Deals

Finding really good sales reps is a lot like real estate investors finding off-market properties. If a deal is on the market, the odds of it being a deal are pretty slim.

It's the same thing with sales reps, right? If sales reps are submitting resumes, the odds of them being a really good sales rep are pretty much slim-to-none. So, what we're looking for is the sales rep who's a top performer and a high contributor at the company where they are already employed. These salespeople have considered switching jobs, just like the homeowners who've considered selling, but they haven't actually done anything about it.

And just like the homeowner opens up their mailbox and receives a letter in the mail that says, “Hey, I'm interested in buying your property,” they get something in their inbox that says, “Hey, we have a sales role, here are the basic details.” That's when they go, “that sounds interesting.”

They may still be skeptical. They want to make sure this is a safe bet, just like the homeowner would want to make sure this person actually has the funds and actually wants to buy the home. And so, that's why we've got to talk to them. We've got to understand what their needs are, what they're looking for, what their background is, and make sure we can actually place them on a team. Once they're in the “process” and they see how organized and systematic it is, that's when they develop trust and think, okay, this is for real.

So it all comes down to finding that sales rep before they're on the market. A home that's been on the market for a year is not a deal because it's overpriced. A sales rep that's been on the market for a year probably is not a good salesperson. Any sales rep worth their commission has a friend or colleague who'll say, “Hey, you know, I'm working at this spot now. It's really good. Why don't you come over here and let's make some money together.”

Salespeople Are Taking A Risk Too

Business owners don't understand the problems sales reps go through. Entrepreneurs make big promises salespeople with their massive dreams and endless optimism, that they're going to scale to the moon, that they're going to build a $10 million a year business, and this and that.

So then the sales reps get in and the marketing doesn't work. And they're not getting any calls and they're sitting around idle for weeks on end. Or they're getting calls and everybody's broke. Or the calls are getting booked but nobody's showing up. The entrepreneur doesn't have their s*** together. They haven't done a good job on their lead generation or lead nurturing. And so the sales reps aren't making any money.

So, the higher-level talent is cynical and reluctant to believe in these wild optimists that are business owners. And at Coaching Sales, we value the sales reps we work with too much to jerk them around like that. We make sure we're not taking on businesses that don't have the right marketing in place. So that when we put a rep on a team, they know that they're getting into a viable, proven business.

We would never waste their time or skills on entrepreneurs claiming, “I'm launching this offer and it's going to be huge.” No way. The entrepreneurs we deal with tell us, “We've got this offer. It's converting at this. It's doing these numbers. And I desperately need help because I got too many calls.”

Which Salespeople Perform The Best?

This is the secret sauce. I really shouldn't give it away, but I will.

In our experience, the people who have long track records in high-ticket sales for the coaching, course creator, and consulting spaces, tend to be big babies. Expect sales reps like these to fancy themselves as funnel consultants. They'll be telling entrepreneurs how to change the advertising, and this and that.

It's never their fault. It's always the lead's fault. Sales reps like these get to a place where they feel like they should be the guru, but they are just temporarily taking calls because they need cash today. The reality is, they can't run a business and have no idea how difficult it is. All they see is, “Oh, I'm making sales and I'm generating all this money, I should be just generating it for myself.”

And so they end up treating the position like it's a stepping stone or it's something to hold them over while they are doing something else.

There's an important concept I teach, I call it “Looking Up And Looking Down.”

Have you ever gotten a job where you felt like, “Oh my goodness, I don't know how I tricked these people into a hiring me for this, but I'm so not qualified to do this.” That's “Looking Up.” You feel like the job was “above your pay grade.” That's how we verbalize it. The metaphors we use in language indicate our mindset towards a situation.

People will work super hard, they'll stretch themselves, and they'll be fully committed for something that's above their pay grade.

However, if they “Look Down” on certain positions or they feel like it's “below their pay grade” – again, same metaphor – they don't show up with that hunger, that intensity, that commitment, that follow-through. And we notice that salespeople like this just don't tend to work out as well.

That's why we like to find people who have relevant experience in similar sales cycles. Salespeople who are comfortable with one call closes at big price points. Big numbers don't scare them. Closing someone who doesn't want to talk to them or closing people who give them objections doesn't scare them, because they've been in that environment. But they just haven't had the freedom that the online world gives them. They haven't been able to work remotely. They've never had a calendar they can shut off at certain times or open up certain times, and work around their schedule.

These kinds of salespeople will get on our clients' offers and feel like, “Oh my goodness, this is the biggest blessing I've ever found.” They show up committed, they play full out, and they don't treat it like it's something that's beneath them. They treat it like it's the amazing opportunity that it truly is.

Red Flags When You're Interviewing Potential Sales Reps

One of the best indicators we've found when interviewing potential candidates is response times. How fast they respond to our messages tells us how bad they want it. If we message them and they wait a day or two to respond to us, we won't hire them. Even if they're a good sales rep.

Chapter 2: The Sales Hiring Process

“Why Won't This Sales Rep Work Out?”

I apply my philosophy about sales to interviewing and recruiting (they're pretty much the same thing.) I'm always looking for threats. I'm always asking, “Why won't this deal work?” I'm looking for red flags to know whether a deal is a good fit or whether I don't want any part of it. It's the same thing in the interview process. You're looking for any reason that the candidate won't work out.

The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make when they're interviewing is they so desperately want the person to be a good fit. Just like when people are selling, they so desperately want for that phone call to be a deal. So much so, that they may gloss over things that could be potential problems. Whereas, when you are actively looking for reasons why it's not a deal or why the person won't be a good fit, then when you do spot any subtle inconsistency or incongruence, you're willing to tug on that thread and see what happens.

The best metaphor I've found to describe this is Sales and Recruiting are more like a goalie than they are a striker. Their job is to keep the ball out of the net as opposed to put the ball in the net.

The Trial Period For Shortlisted Sales Reps

We put everyone on a 30-day trial. It doesn't always take that long, but 30 days is just the max that we're willing to trial someone. Sometimes trials can be 10 to 15 days and we'll know the rep isn't a good fit.

What to look for when trialing your sales reps:

  • How do they sound on sales calls? We do filter for this during the interview process but we also want to hear what happens when we give them a live opportunity.
  • How responsive to coaching are they? Do they have a big ego? Do they take criticism well? Do they make a lot of excuses? Are they highly self-accountable?
  • How responsive, in general, are they? Responsiveness is a huge indicator of a person's commitment. Do they take forever to fill in their numbers? Do they take forever to responsd to communication?

You can teach a salesperson the fundamentals and can get them on your offer. But what you can't teach are the intangibles of commitment, consistency, being hungry, and so on. That stuff's innate or part of their skillset at the time, or not.

Sometimes the trial period is just a formality. They don't need any feedback They'll come out and just start slinging deals and you'll think, “Holy crap, this person's a hitter.” And like a lot of sales reps we put on offers will close on their first call, the first three calls, or the first five calls.

Here, the situation's a little different. Here, we're thinking, “How can we protect them from themselves?” Because they're on an emotional rollercoaster, and if you've ever seen the graph of “the Dip” by Seth Godin, there's an initial uptrend and then the downtrend. And we want to make sure that they're prepared for that downtrend and that they're willing to stick through. Otherwise, it could get nasty.

The Final Selection Of New Hires

If you can hire them all, hire them all. Let's say you click with all of them and they all pass the trial period, maybe they've all closed deals or whatever. Hiring salespeople is a time- and resource-intensive process. You've spent all this time looking for people and talking to them, to find 3 or 4 out of hundreds. And as much as they're people, they're also assets to the business. They're human capital.

And if you find a productive asset, it doesn't make sense to throw them out. You'd rather optimize and get the most out of that asset. And so, that means, if you have the resources or cash on hand to scale up your marketing and book more appointments, then increase your ad spend and hire all the reps you just trialed.

So, if you find 2 or 3 or 4 salespeople who are going to rock it, build the team, build the culture, and make everything go faster and smoother, it will save you a lot of money over the long term and you'll be able to grow faster in a shorter amount of time.

Paying Sales Reps: Commission Structure And On-Target Earnings

This is one of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of hiring sales reps. Typically, entrepreneurs are thinking in terms of commission percentages. Because in the client acquisition system we operate in, it's normal for salespeople to work on a commission-only basis. Really, though, the main consideration isn't commission percentage, it's “on-target earnings.”

What are on-target earnings? Let's say you have a sales rep that has a full call volume and their close rate is in KPI. How much revenue do they bring in every month? Annualize that number. Now, based on the salesperson's expected annual salary, what commission percentage gets them to that number?

To give you a rule of thumb, the market value of an inbound salesperson is $100,000 a year on the low end to $180,000 for the best of the best. And on your end, you should be looking at between a 7-to-1 or 10-to-1 return on investment. So, if the sales rep wants to make $120,000 a year, they need to make you $840,000 to $1,200,000.

And typically, the commission structure we recommend is between 10 and 15%. Sometimes we'll interview salespeople who tell us, “oh, well, I was getting paid 25% on this offer,” which just tells us that the entrepreneur had no idea what he was doing. Because the math doesn't add up.

Some salespeople might get 20% if, for example, the business is really, really good at your customer acquisition, they've got a lower-tier front-end and a solid upgrade path on the backend. In this case, the business owner is justified in paying the closers a higher comp on the front end so that they can maximize sales opportunities on their profit maximizer.

So, it does depend a little bit on the offer, but the big takeaway here is you need to look at on-target earnings as opposed to percentages.

Chapter 3: Managing Sales Teams

Performance Metrics For Sales Reps

In the first 30 days after they join a team, our target is to get sales reps to a 15% close rate. This number is based on the client acquisition system we like to operate in. The metrics may differ for other systems. We like to operate in a VSL- or a webinar-to-application system.

So, if we can get them to 15%, then we can get them to 25%. And if you're optimizing your team, at any given point in time you're going to have an average close rate of 25%. Because there'll be some rockstars who perform in the 35 to 40% range, some in the middle of the pack, and some in the 15 to 20% range. It's a bell-curve.

So, how do we get the salespeople from 15% to 25%?

Training Sales Reps: Ramp-Up And Calibration

There are two phases to training, “Ramp-up” and “Calibration” phase.

Ramp-up is less about technical selling, more about the meta-journey and the principles of selling. We give them the frameworks they need and make sure they have enough support in those first 30 days to get the muscle memory of selling the offer.

Every sales pitch is unique. So, if you swing a baseball bat, you know how to swing a baseball bat. It's similar to swinging a golf club, and it gives you the ability to be good at swinging a golf club, but swinging a golf club is still different than swinging a baseball bat.

And so, selling one product, even though similar, doesn't necessarily mean the experience will transfer one-to-one. Selling is selling, like swinging and swinging, but the plane on which you're doing it – in this case, the market or offer with what you're selling – is going to have nuances.

What we want to do is help the sales reps find their groove and find the muscle memory of this pitch. Once they get that, then they get the confidence and belief in themselves, and in the process and in the system. Then we can fine-tune their technical abilities to get them to higher and higher levels. This is the Calibration phase.

So the first phase, Ramp-up, is learning the rules (of the offer and the market.) And the second phase, Calibration, is learning how to break the rules.

How To Lead Sales Teams

This doesn't just relate to your sales team, but your organization overall. The main thing your people need is people need consistency. Across the board, consistency builds trust more than anything else. And trust is the fuel for your organization's high-performance engine.

In any domain, wealth, fitness, relationships, whatever, the thing that separates the world-class from regular people is consistency over a long period of time. It's the same with world-class teams.

Bill Belicheck has been consistently Bill Belicheck over a long period of time. Phil Jackson has consistently run his team the same way over a long period of time.

If they don't have consistency, what happens is they lose two major elements: safety and trust. When that happens, everything falls apart.

It's a lot like taking care of a car if you own one. You have your regular scheduled maintenance, oil changes and whatnot. And if you take care of your car, it can run for a long time. But if you neglect your car, its lifetime will be a lot shorter.

And so, with your team, leadership needs to consistently demonstrate whatever the values of the business are.

They need to consistently focus on the same metrics over time. They need to consistently meet and communicate in the same formats over time. And then that allows the salespeople to feel safe so that they can perform at their best.

Numbers Mean There's No Place To Hide

Data is everything. When you have clarity on numbers, people know what they're held accountable for. It's black-or-white, and they don't need to worry about things like office politics. They can see, by the numbers, whether they're doing their job or not.

And you need data across-the-board in your organization. Problems happen when people don't have the full picture. Let's say the organization doesn't track it's marketing that well. Or they only track a few data points on sales. How can they tell whether they have a marketing problem or a sales problem?

So, the key is to have as much data as possible, and then figure out how to make it useful. As a teaching tool, as a decision-making tool, as a management tool, whatever. And when you do this well, people can't hide.

Instead, if they don't have clarity with regards to their data – Sales, in this example – it'll lead them to mistrust their salespeople and to communicate that mistrust in how they manage the team. This is micromanagement.

And micromanagement leads to the opposite of high performance. If you look at work in general, people are happiest, they're most fulfilled when they have tasks that are challenging and the autonomy to solve problems on their own. Any time you remove autonomy from top performers, they lose motivation, resent the job, and don't want to do it anymore.

Micromanagement is worse when you do it to salespeople because it destroys their confidence in their skills and ability to sell. Your mistrust in them makes them lose trust in their sales instincts. Before you know it, they don't trust themselves to tie their own shoes.

Clarity on the numbers gives them back that autonomy.

Coaching Underperforming Salespeople vs. Top Performers

Coaching top performers is easy. Just leave them the hell alone. That's the best thing you can do for them.

You don't need to micromanage LeBron and you don't need to hype up Michael Jordan. Your best people run a team because they're internally wired a certain way and they've got themselves to that place. They don't really need support and if they do need it, they'll get it themselves. At that high level of performance, they're so tuned in to their own instincts that you just want to let them do them.

Look at Kobe Bryant. Kobe ran the Lakers when he was playing. He doesn't need anybody to coach him. It's his team. He knows it's his team and he carries himself that way. And he shows up a certain way where, even if he's injured, he's still going to play full out. Even if you know he's got issues going on with his wife, he's still gonna play full out because Kobe has created an identity and he shows up through that identity consistently over time.

When coaching underperforming sales reps, again, it depends on the quality of your data. And data doesn't just mean numbers on a spreadsheet. We can listen to their calls too.

So, we get an idea of the rep's performance from their numbers. Then we say, okay, let's listen to a sample of calls. It's best to listen to calls where the application is high quality and should close.

After listening to a batch of calls, we can see patterns. Based on the patterns, we can figure out where they need to improve and coach accordingly. This involves you pulling information out of their head to figure out how they're processing information or what's happening in their world. Because sometimes the root problem isn't what you think it is.

We've seen many situations where sales reps are underperforming and we think, “Oh my God, we need to coach them on how to do a sales call,” when really, all we have to do is get them to go start working out again. And once they start working out again, their confidence comes back.

I can't tell you how many reps I've seen where their identity is, “I'm a person who works out” and they haven't worked out for a long time, so they felt like crap. And because they felt like crap, they weren't converting well on calls. And I had to tell them, “Dude, just do some push-ups, sit-ups, and burpees in your house. Spend five minutes a day and if you do that, that's a win.”

All of a sudden they're closing deals left and right. Their confidence came back because now, they're following through on what they said they would do. And they don't have this identity crisis of feeling out of alignments.

We have to figure out: is it something happening on the call and is a part of them not understanding the process? Is it because they're not talking to the right people? Is it a life issue that's showing up on calls? So it could be any one of a number of problems (or several.) But the way we find out is through data. And “data” means the numbers from the spreadsheets, call reviews, and conversations with the sales reps.

Your Sales Reps' Emotional Support Animal

You ever read those stories in the news of some guy or girl trying to board a plane with a dog, or a hamster, or a peacock? It's their emotional support animal because they're afraid of flying.

Well, as their leader, you are your sales reps' emotional support animal.

Especially with your middle- and bottom-of-the-pack people. Even with the top-of-the-pack, they need less of it, but they still need it. They'll come to you every now and then, “I've got this thing going on and I just need to talk to someone about it.”

Safety and trust. It comes back to safety and trust. And that comes from allowing people to be vulnerable. And you yourself being vulnerable with them plays a big role, so that they know that they're allowed to do that.

A lot of business owners have this idea, “I don't want to be a therapist,” or “I don't want to be a babysitter.” At the end of the day, if you're a business owner, you have to be whatever you've gotta be until you don't have to be that thing anymore.

You have to know accounting. You have to be a numbers person. You have to be a systems thinker. You have to be a salesperson. You have to be a marketer. You have to be a copywriter. You have to be everything as a business owner.

And if you're not, then you're not going to be able to effectively run a business. There are levels you can reach, where you can get yourself out of certain tasks and roles. But until you're at that level, you have to do the task.

Elon Musk once said, and I paraphrase, “Entrepreneurship is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss.” The reason he said that is because as a business owner, your job is to find the worst problem in your business and attack it head-on to solve it.

You get paid to solve problems. You get paid in proportion to the size of the problems you solve. And so, as a business owner, you have to find the biggest hairiest, nastiest problem in your business and then go solve it. And you have to do it while you're solving a bunch of other problems at the same time.

Eventually, you get to a place where you can have a full-time sales director or sales manager and you don't have to do that. And usually, that'll happen when you're at $5 to $10 million a year, somewhere in that range. At that level, the sales director can do the babysitting for you.

But in that gap, from $50,000 to several million, you're going to have to play a certain role, and part of that is being the coach, being the cheerleader, and being the emotional support your sales team needs.

This is also why some of our clients hire us because they don't necessarily want to play that role. So, in the interim, we can take the majority – say, 80 percent – of that burden off their plate. But we still need their buy-in.

There's a common saying, “A fish rots from its head.” Your team is going to trust you more than anybody else. You're the one who's putting food on their plate. You're the one paying their bills. You're the one deciding their fate, more or less. And so, they're going to trust you as the commander or the person charge more than anybody else.

Chapter 4: Scaling Sales Teams

When To Hire A Sales Manager

On the subject of hiring a sales manager, it's a combination of your revenue and headcount. The sweet spot is around 4 or 5 salespeople. At this point, you can consider bringing in a full-time sales manager or promoting one of your existing reps.

And a good rule-of-thumb is one full-time salesperson should be bringing in $1 million a year. So, if you have 5 reps, that's $5 million a year on the front end. And then, if you have a back-end offer, the business brings in $7 to $8 million a year. So, that's where we get the revenue range from.

What Does A Sales Manager Do?

A common mistake people make is being a player-coach. And the player-coach is trying to be a sales rep and a sales manager at the same time. This usually ends up with both jobs being done poorly.

The sales manager or sales director role works like this. The highest and best value of the sales manager is getting the salespeople to sell more. It's not recording data. It's not preparing and turning in reports. It's spending time with salespeople.

The majority of a sales manager's time should be spent coaching sales reps. And there are certain call structures a sales manager should have at a consistent cadence with the sales reps.

There's a pipeline review. This is where we look at all the deals in the pipeline. We figure out who needs to get out of the pipeline, who needs to advance through the pipeline, and where the highest leverage activity is in terms of getting deals to come across the line.

You'll have a call review. This is where we're going to listen to calls, like reviewing game footage, and critique and analyze how we can do better. Maybe we listen to calls that should have been a deal but didn't close, and figure out what we need to do to not lose those deals down the line.

Then, there are the weekly and daily meetings where we communicate with the reps, plan out goals, talk about metrics and what expectations are, how to hit them, and so on.

The last one is you want to have one-on-one meetings with your reps. Typically, you're going to be talking about anything that's relevant. This is almost like a therapy session. So, you talk about their life. You talked about their girlfriend or wife. You talk about their goals. Anything that's relevant in general to them, their performance, and their mental attitude.

With this call structure in place, and doing them at regular intervals, the sales reps will have everything they need to perform at their best.

The Right Way To Scale Your Sales Team

Sales teams scale with “pods,” not headcount. Adding headcount when scaling is a common mistake that entrepreneurs make.

Pods are mini sales teams that consist of:

  • Account Executives (closers)
  • Sales Development Representatives (setters)
  • Sales Administrator
  • Sales Managers

There are lots of different ways to structure these teams. But a common structure is 3 account execs, 3 SDRs, 1 sales admin, and a sales manager. That's one pod. And pods are what you should optimize for.

The problem is, people hire sales reps and expect them to be an account exec, SDR, and sales admin, at the same time. They want them to book appointments, do cold email, set appointments, stuff like that. They want him to talk to qualified prospects and convert them into cash in the bank. And then they want them to update metrics, data pipeline, everything like that.

Left to their own devices, one person's going to be better at some of that than others. Most sales reps are going to suck at admin work. It's just who they are. They're the types of kids that talk in class and don't do their homework. Certain people are going to be better at setting appointments because they're hyperactive and high energy. Other people are more selective and then they're more skilled, so you want them specifically only closing.

You can't expect an employee to be three or four roles inside of one and then get mad at them for underperforming. Really, as a business owner, it's your fault because you've designed this role so that the employee is set up for failure. You are asking them to do everything when even you don't do it. If you're not tracking your numbers diligently, or you're not setting appointments, how can you expect someone to do something that you're not willing to do yourself?

You have to know what role you want to hire. Do you want to hire a Setter who's outputting huge amounts of activity getting you qualified appointments? Do you want to hire a Closer, who takes your qualified appointments and turns them into cash? Or do you want to hire a sales admin, someone who's there to help make sure that end to the end of the day, all the numbers are clean, the pipelines clear, the calls are confirmed, all the housekeeping stuff you don't really need to do?

This is a big lever you can pull to architect your organization in a way that pulls out optimal performance. It's like when Henry Ford invented the production line: “You sit here and do this one thing over and over again. That's all you do. Don't think about the rest of the process.”

It used to be two to three guys in a garage that did everything together and it took them months to make a car. Henry Ford was able to shorten it down to days. As a result, they could serve more customers and take over market share.

This is what you have to do with your sales teams. Everybody masters their own domain and then the production or the throughput of the machine accelerates. You are creating a customer acquisition machine and you want to accelerate the throughput of that machine.

The Business Development Manager

The business development manager's (or business development representative's) job is to work on bigger deals. Thinks like affiliate programs, joint venture partnerships, referral partnerships, getting you booked on stages (or podcasts), and so on. These are the longer sales cycle, bigger deals.

You don't need more than 2 to 3 BDRs on your team. And they can specialize. One can be the affiliate manager, another the booking agent, and a 3rd the JV manager.

Like What You See And Want Us To Help You Implement?

If you'd like us to take recruiting, onboarding, or training sales reps off your plate, leave a message in the chatbox on this page. One of our specialists will get back to you within the day.