Transparency for Sales & Revenue Leadership with Todd Caponi

10/10 GTM Episode 11
Transparent sales process - working together
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Welcome to Season 1 of 10/10 GTM: The Podcast for Revenue Leaders!

Our guest for Episode 11 is Todd Caponi, an award-winning author of The Transparency Sale and The Transparent Sales Leader. Todd’s motto is ‘transparency sells better than perfection,’ and when he isn’t writing you can find him speaking and leading workshops for revenue leaders and teams. 

In this episode, Ross talks to Todd about his coaching and leadership journey, the five F’s to follow, and why you should rethink what you measure and ask for. 

Listen to the episode here, and get the key takeaways from our conversation below. 

3 tactical tips for being a successful sales leader

If you’re making the leap from frontline management to running an organization, here are three strategic tips to employ: 

  1. Don’t be a Dunderblitzen: This is a sales parable from 1909, and its message is still relevant today. The main takeaway is that as you work your way up from a top rep to a sales leader, team-wide enablement is key. The skills and information you’ve amassed and learned need to be transferable to others. 

To successfully achieve this, take a step back, strategize, and plan. Otherwise, you will find yourself beholden to the fires of the day. Also, apply these five ‘Fs’

  • Focus: Time is your team’s most valuable asset. Your responsibility as a revenue leader is to establish and maintain your team’s focus on the right activities, firmographics, demographics, prerequisites, etc. 
  • Field Org: Do you have the right people in the right places on your team? Are they equipped with the right tools and resources based on their focus? 
  • Fundamentals: You have an ongoing responsibility to make sure your team gets the right things right, consistently (prospecting, discovery, qualification, demo presentations, negotiations).
  • Forecast: Your job is to predict the future which includes the metrics and KPIs.
  • Fun: This is about creating a positive work environment where people show up, stay, and become advocates for you. 

If you map out these five Fs and follow them, you will be the opposite of a Dunderblitzen

  1. Rethink what you measure & ask for: A mistake many revenue leaders make is that they get stuck on ratios. For example, if their team closes 25% of deals, then they believe they need 4x. The problem here is that the focus is on quantity rather than quality. Rather than getting hung up on ratios that don’t work anymore, focus instead on increasing win rates.  
  1. Embrace the science of intrinsic inspiration: If you can create a place where reps are intrinsically inspired to do their best work and variable compensation becomes the reward for doing it, not the reason they do it, you’re going to win. 

The PRAISE Model

The PRAISE Model was created by Todd as a way to embrace the science of inspiration. It encompasses the six things that drive us intrinsically to do our best work: 

  1. Predictability: We do our best work when we know what to expect. 
  2. Recognition: We do our best work when we’re recognized for our efforts, validated, given status, and given feedback. 
  3. Aim: We do our best work when we know the mission, purpose, and impact of what we’re doing. If it’s based on a number, you’re doing it wrong. 
  4. Independence: We do our best work when we’re given a level of autonomy, resources, trust, and tools without being micromanaged. 
  5. Security: We do our best work when we feel safe, secure, and we’re part of a team. 
  6. Equitability: We do our best work when there are no unfair politics at play, and people are paid the same amount for the same work. 

In his book, The Transparent Sales Leader, Todd goes into more detail about the PRAISE Model and how to apply it. To learn more, click here

Rapid fire: Todd’s fast sales insights

In a rapid-fire Q&A session, Todd shares his insights with us on a wide range of topics: 

What’s the main reason most teams miss their ARR goals? They aren’t fully optimizing the data available to them to set their ARR targets, so they’re setting them incorrectly. 

What’s your favorite resource for revenue leaders? Sales Management by John G Jones. It’s brilliant and talks in a way that sounds like it’s just from today. My favorite line is, “As selling gets harder, the importance of sales leadership goes up.” 

What’s the number one challenge for revenue leaders in 2023? Reps are concerned that technology is going to take their jobs. Leaders need to make sure reps stay focused and know their jobs are secure. 

SMB, Mid-market, or enterprise? Mid-market. 

What’s the most important org: Sales, CS, or Marketing? I’m going with CS and here’s why: today in this ‘as a service’ economy, the deal is merely a milestone and no longer the peak. 

How do you unplug from the demands of revenue leadership? It’s important for sales reps and leaders to realize their self worth has nothing to do with whether or not they reach their quota. 

The road to successful revenue leadership is paved with  . . . an unquenchable thirst for learning. 

About Todd

As Todd puts it, he fell into sales, then fell in love with the decision science surrounding it. He turned that into a career encompassing multiple sales leadership roles, including building the revenue capacity of one tech company from the ground-up into Chicago’s fastest-growing, another where he helped drive the organization to a successful IPO followed by an acquisition worth almost $3B, and another where his  turnaround efforts were rewarded with a successful exit and the American Business “Stevie” Award for Worldwide Vice President of Sales of the Year.