Bennett: According to the company’s LinkedIn page, Xactly specializes in sales performance management. Can you tell me a little bit about what that means to you?
Brian: I see it as giving credit to all the right people and providing reports and dashboards so reps can immediately see how they are getting paid, what they are getting paid and where they stand against their goals.
In other words, they can see if they are performing the way the company needs them to. Much of what you guys do is related to incentive compensation.
Bennett: What advice would you give to a startup founder or sales leader who is trying to figure out their comp structure for a growing sales team?
Brian: Have 3 variables in your comp plan, with most of the percentage going towards selling your main product.
Bennett: Obviously money is an important factor in terms of motivating salespeople, but what else do you think serves as a good motivator?
Brian: An old blog of mine lists various types of motivators (see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bgroth/archive/2004/10/06/238946.aspx) but our CEO also had something to say about it in an interview he gave last year: http://www.zdnet.com/gaming-sales-compensation-plans-7000024045/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=linkedin
Bennett: In your role of Sales Enablement Manager at Xactly, what are some best practices you follow to get new-hires up to speed quickly?
Brian: Have a good on-boarding checklist for them and their manager to work through (see http://www.slideshare.net/BrianGroth/sales-onboarding-306090-day-plan-oct-2014) and put them through a sales boot camp within the first few months so they get the immediate training to get going on the job In a similar vein.
Bennett: how do you equip existing salespeople with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to succeed?
Brian: I write guidance documents for them to refer to, train them, provide tools to help reinforce what they’ve learned and provide the sales managers with tips to help coach.
Bennett: In your experience, what do the best salespeople do differently than mediocre or unsuccessful ones?
Brian: They manage their time effectvly and they treat the sale like a project and they play the role of project manager with the customer to help manage the project with and for the customer.
Bennett: What sales tools has Xactly invested in for the sales team? Are there any that you just couldn’t live without?
Brian: Salesforce.com, Xactly Incent, LinkedIn, KnowledgeTree, Infer, and many more.
Bennett: In your own words, what is the role of a front-line sales manager?
Brian: To make sure their team is working on realistic opportunities, moving through their proven sales process and doing the proven activities that win deals, and coaching the rep’s skills and behaviors.
Bennett: What is the most valuable/hardest lesson you’ve had to learn in sales?
Brian: There’s a few, but all related: Actively listen to the challenges they face and objections they bring up, work together to problem solve and to get to a solution that works for both of you.