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A better way to scale a sales team

5 min readAugust 13, 2019

Scaling, or the stage that follows the growth phase of an organization, is especially hard on a sales team.

At this point of growth, significant executive attention and pressure is placed on new revenue growth. Additionally, when selling a new product in an emerging market, freshly hired sellers & managers are tasked with testing messaging to find out what works.

Doing this with the wrong technology stack in place creates several challenges for the scaling sales team:

  • The entire team is learning on the job every day
    Even your most seasoned sales hires will be iterating and learning how to best position your innovative product in the new market.
  • New hire onboarding is twice as hard
    New hires in a scaling company must learn both standard new role challenges and learn along with the rest of the team how to position their new product.
  • Management structure lags behind growth
    Often the sales leadership doesn’t have the layers of management needed to fully devote time needed for team skill development & sales coaching.

A smart, timely investment in sales enablement technology can mitigate these challenges early, setting a foundation for future success.

We’ve laid out the 4 places sales technology helps a growing company scale smarter:

Automation of processes and day-to-day tasks

At any stage of a business, the automation of routine, boring, low-productivity but necessary tasks is important.

At scale, it becomes even more important for the company, because high-effort-to-low-value work is replicated across entire teams. This costs the business thousands of hours of wasted productivity, sapping crucial effort needed to move the business through this inflection point.

This is especially important for a scaling sales team. The worn statistic reported by Forbes a decade ago is that sales reps only spend 36% of their time actually selling. Various studies by Salesforce have found that salespeople spend 9% of their day leaving Voicemails, 21% of their day researching leads, 20% of their day doing CRM admin work, and 31% of their day creating or searching for content. Each of these points gives us a clearer picture of where sales teams waste time in ways that can be automated or streamlined for scaling businesses.

Eliminating CRM work with better sales tools like an intelligent dialer, reducing the time spent writing emails with a sales cadence tool, or eliminating voicemail time with a voicemail drop solution are all easy, quick wins that pay for themselves quickly in the resulting time savings.

Powering sales coaching and skill growth at impossible scale

In an interview with the VC firm Notion, Jacco Vanderkooj lays out a process for startup sales teams that places the “scale-up phase” after the “grow up phase”, and points out that the smartest sales teams put a process in place for skill development in the grow-up phase because it is so foundational to long-term success.

It’s important to also remember to increase your knowledge and capabilities too. As Verne Harnish says, “If you want a 10X a company, you really have got a 10X the knowledge not just of yourself, but everybody else in the firm.”

If your business missed this approach in the grow-up phase, it is absolutely urgent to develop it in the scale-up phase because your focus at this point needs to shift to hiring the right, coachable people that fit your process.

A sales technology such as conversationAI* allows you to coach your sales team as if you have heard every sales call. Surface key coachable moments in your call recordings, such as mentions of competitors, pricing, or interruptions, and have them ready for review in your coaching sessions, rather than spending hours listening to ride-alongs or call recordings for the perfect moment.

This allows you to coach at a scale that was once thought impossible – in years past, sales managers had to listen to live calls or research by digging through hours of call recordings to find coachable moments, which often meant that sales coaching fell by the wayside.

Now, you can coach your team as if you have heard every sales call, because your technology is doing the heavy lifting. This gives you a scalable process – all managers need to do is schedule 1:1 time and listen to the calls surfaced by the tool, allowing for more coaching and less researching.

Faster onboarding against the odds

Once you have reached the growth stage, you have your key players in place who have learned by trial and error, working alongside your pivotal hires who bring your years of experience. Now, you are at the point where the need for production is nearly immediate when someone new comes aboard to help you meet your ambitious goals.

The technology foundation you laid months or even years before has a dramatic impact on onboarding speed.

Not only will your salespeople be enabled or inhibited by how user-friendly the sales tool stack is for them to use and begin selling, but a solid suite of sales coaching tools put in place at the right stage of growth can be pivotal.

The right sales coaching software can reduce your rep onboarding time by:

  1. Allowing you to build an educational library of best practice sales calls that will enable your new sellers to learn from your superstars
  2. Giving them the ability to read call annotations and feedback provided to poor call performances, reducing rookie mistakes
  3. Providing an avenue for immediate feedback with recordings and annotations on their own calls, allowing for faster skill development from day one
  4. A mechanism for smarter call prep, where reps can listen to 1 or 2 best practice call recordings before 10-minute mini call blocks

This, combined with the power of a smart sales cadence solution can drastically reduce the time it takes to onboard someone.

More quality touches with prospects that match your playbook

As you continue to invest your time and energy into the iterative process of building your best practice call library, you’ll start finding language and strategies that are effective. With a sales cadence tool like Revenue.io’s Sequence, you can tie all of these together in a scalable package that eliminates the need for your salespeople to reinvent the wheel every time they send an email, and ultimately continue to refine and bake best practices into your outreach for continued improvement.

Additionally, you can use Sequence to jump-start your process development, easily enforcing Marketing-Sales service-level agreements (SLAs) and ensuring sales reps are hitting a set amount of outbound touches per day or per week. This is another key element in effectively onboarding new hire salespeople.

With the use of the right sales technology, sales teams can alleviate much of the pressure placed on reps during a scaling period. This technology not only allows them to meet the increased activity demands, but also increases the effectiveness of their selling in order to meet goals.

*conversationAI US Patent 10,440,181.