Musings from the Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference

Last week I delivered the keynote at the Sales & Marketing 2.0 conference, where I spoke about building the next-generation sales organization in a social and mobile world — about leveraging the digital pulse of a salesperson, and then using that insight to create repeatable patterns across the entire sales team.

Creating this next-generation sales organization requires a change in mindset. In today’s social and mobile world, there is a massive amount of data you can capture for people – data you can use to understand your sales team more than you ever could before. These digital profiles are core to identifying what works in your selling organization, and using that insight to build a top-notch sales team. This involves five key building blocks:

1. Hire Scientifically: There are over 18 million sales people in the U.S. alone. So how do you find the right reps for your organization? Scientific hiring is about using targeted selection. This means leveraging SaaS tools like behavior-based video interviews and sales assessment tests to gain rapid insight into your sales candidates; and above all, benchmarking those candidates against your top performers’ digital profile. In doing so, you understand what behaviors and temperament work in your sales team, and you leverage that data to make better hiring decisions.

2. Provide Coaching, Not Evaluations: According to a recent Psychology Today report, 30% of performance reviews end up in decreased employee performance.1 Evaluations force a critique of past performance results and review opportunities that have already gone by. Instead, sales leaders should focus on forward-looking coaching, conducted at the speed of business, at the time of business. Successful leaders deploy Coaching to gain visibility into the best practices of their top performers, and build concrete roadmaps for their B players to help gain an overall attainment lift. The greatest return on your investment comes from using the digital pulse of the top performers to move the middle.

3. Train Frequently: The best athletes train the most, and this is the case for all of us. But it makes no sense to bring frontline sales to a kickoff for training. You take them away from selling, and no one remembers anything, let alone product and process. Training must happen on the job, in the field. Training should be mobile, frequent, and fast. And training should be deployed, again, based on what high performance proves works.

4. Simplify Selling: For every completed B2B sale, four potential sales are abandoned due to process complexity. Don’t create barriers for your sales people to succeed. Make it easy to sell by giving them the tools they need to succeed. Deliver information about your products, pricing, and customers in a single place – don’t test them by seeing if they can find it in your corporate document management system. Give them the tools that simplify their day-to-day interactions with their customers. And give it to them wherever they are, whenever they need it, whatever device they use. When implemented well, sales enablement technology can result in larger deal sizes, shorter sales cycles and improved close rates.

5. Above All, Make It Easy for Customers to Buy: Today, customers access products the same way they access music, video, and print – anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Don’t create barriers for your customers to do business with you. Deliver value transparently, allow customers to personalize your solution to fit their needs, and give your customers a voice to communicate with you on their experience with your services.

Delivering the widest range of easy-to-buy and easy-to-use solutions that help sales organizations of every size deliver sustainable and profitable sales growth–this is the vision that Callidus is marching to. As always drop us an email and let us know your thoughts at

1 Psychology Today, Why CEOs Need to Scrap Employee Performance Reviews