What It Takes to Build a World-Class Silicon Valley Sales Team

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From COVID research to autonomous vehicles, AI is changing the world.

So, it’s no surprise that some of the biggest deals happen in the tech sector.

But you don’t have to move to California if you want a world-class sales team fit for Silicon Valley.

You just need to listen to Ken Grohe, President & Chief Revenue Officer at WekaIO, who shares the secrets to Silicon Valley selling in today’s episode.

We discuss:

  • How to get your team members selling when you aren’t in the room
  • Why appearances still matter
  • Ken’s unique title

Prepare your champion

If you want to get the best sales team you can possibly have, you need to make sure it can handle high-volumes and move fast.

Which means you can’t be doing all the work.

The power of the word

If you want to get the best sales team you can possibly have, you need to make sure it can handle high-volumes and move fast.

Which means you can’t be doing all the work.

What happens when you’re not in the room?

So, the first step is to cultivate your people into fully autonomous sellers — sellers you can trust to make deals without you.

“You need to prepare your champion to sell in the room that you’re not in.”

Ken Grohe of WekaIO

You need to inculcate selling skills and responsibility in your team to such a degree that they don’t even need you.

And this doesn’t mean just teaching them to sell your way, which will make you more necessary and defeat the purpose of building this autonomy in your people.

If they are selling in a rote paint-by-numbers emulation of you, there will always be a cap placed on their potential.

You need them selling in the way that works best for them.

Getting aligned

Still, you need everyone to share a common goal.

Even if they are selling their way, your whole team should be in concert when it comes to its purpose.

One way Ken suggests you get everyone playing in time is by creating a “game-ready environment.”

He achieves this through role-playing, sharing snippets of success stories (and sometimes failures, which are just as important to learn from), and other training.

These allow his team to learn without the real-world consequences of a seller practicing new things on a customer.

By that time, the seller should be battle-ready and the tactics and strategies should already be muscle memory.

Appearances still matter

It may not seem like it these days, but appearances still matter.

Sure, tattoos are accepted and more and more workforces are jettisoning the confines of stuffy suits and uncomfortable dresses, but how you show up can still make or break a deal.

These days, however, the tie and dress shoes have given way to other visual cues.

Particularly online.

“People underestimate how much their LinkedIn profiles and how they conduct themselves during Zoom meetings matter.”

Ken Grohe of WekaIO

LinkedIn and Zoom

When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile?

If you haven’t checked in a while, I guarantee you your buyers have. And they noticed it was out of date.

If they are doing a business with you, they want to make sure you’re worthy. These days, this means looking up your social media profile.

And if the only info they find looks like lost relics from the digital stone age, it might just tank a big deal.

Even if this wasn’t the case, however, an out-of-date LinkedIn would still be a horrible move. LinkedIn is especially valuable for sharing content, engaging with others, and building the relationships you need to succeed.

Go ahead, check your LinkedIn real quick, I won’t tell anyone. But hurry back, we have more to talk about.

Did you hear the one about the president and CRO?

Building a great sales team requires great leadership and Ken is a great leader…

But his title is a relatively rare one. How many people do you know who are both president and CEO of a company?

I can count the ones I know on one finger. Yet, I think Ken may be onto something here.

See, Ken had something very specific in mind when he decided to take on both roles: the full customer lifecycle.

“President and CRO is a unique title, but I wanted to own the full customer lifecycle.”

Ken Grohe of WekaIO

While he prefers the term “flywheel,” Ken’s goal is to own every part of the funnel. This way, he gets to spend most of his time on user experience and nurturing existing customers.

By owning the full customer lifecycle, Ken may have made his job harder, but he’s also avoided letting himself become myopic to one point in the buyer’s journey or one aspect of the business.

Which, in the end, means he is — and, of course, the business is, too — more attuned to the thing that matters most in sales:

Solving the buyer’s problems.

This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with Ken Grohe, President & Chief Revenue Officer at WekaIO.

Subscribe to hear this episode and many more like it. For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

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