Building High-Performing Sales Teams

In this masterclass, leaders from Aiwyn, NetApp, and Matrix discuss how to create a winning culture, retain top performers, and up-level your team to achieve 10/10 performance.

From 2022 to 2023, companies spent $101.8 billion training new and current employees. On average, it takes six months for most companies to reach the break even point for onboarding. The bottom line? Hiring and training employees is expensive. To succeed in today’s economy, organizations need to focus on building high-performing sales teams that stick around. 

In this masterclass, leaders from Aiwyn, NetApp, and Matrix discuss how to create a winning culture, retain top performers, and up-level your team to achieve 10/10 performance. They cover how to: 

  • Define a high-performing sales team
  • Build a winning sales culture that upholds GTM standards and retains top talent
  • Implement proven strategies, tools, and training to cultivate A-players

Watch the full masterclass and get their advice below! 

What is a high-performing sales team?

A high-performing sales team is built on trust, curiosity, and bias to action. “The first thing that comes to mind when defining a high-performing sales team is one that I can trust is doing what they need to do — both within the company and their customer base — in order to be successful,” says Jim Lambe, VP and GM of NetApp.

This means that reps can work autonomously without issues. They are curious about the company and its technology, which they use to their advantage. They develop informed opinions that they can share with their customers, setting them apart from the competition.

In the current climate where interest rates and inflation are high, closing deals has become more challenging, and organizations need to spend fewer resources than before. “The definition of excellence is: How are you finding ways to bring in the same amount of revenue more efficiently? How are you using tools, processes, and systems to intelligently guide customers along the sales journey and convert them without spending one dollar to make one dollar, or two dollars to make one dollar?” says Kojo Osei, Partner at Matrix. 

A high-performing sales team is also qualitative. This means you’re consistently hitting the operating plan set forth, and improving efficiency and planning along the way. 

Building a sales culture to enforce GTM standards & retain top talent

The first step in building a sales culture that enforces GTM standards and retains top talent is to hire great leaders. A strong leader will naturally attract and recruit top performers. Establishing a solid structure is crucial, as it enables you to identify areas in your sales stack or process where you can allow room for experimentation. Encourage your team to adhere to proven strategies while also encouraging innovation to improve efficiencies and increase revenue.

“This is a great time for sales teams to be experimenting because there’s a big shift happening from classic CRM systems of records to systems of action,” says Kojo. “Today, you’re not just inputting data into a CRM. CRMs are becoming more intelligent and can be leveraged to help teams innovate, move faster, and sell better.” 

As you build your baseline for what excellence looks like, there are several important questions to ask: How do you find customers? How do you build credibility? How do you secure the first customer? How do you scale?

Once you figure out what works best for your organization, you decide what defines best in class and then you train your salespeople on it. “We do a lot of Loom tutorials and record all of our calls. We have rules of the road, and any deviation from that may be acceptable, but we have to be able to understand the ‘why.’ Sales, when done right, is a very conscientious, thoughtful, problem-solving process,” says Pat Morrell, CRO of Aiwyn.

Another key element is account planning. Although it takes time and effort, consistent planning enables reps to identify their blind spots and address them prior to meeting with prospects. As a result, they come to conversations prepared and well-informed, which boosts their confidence and credibility. Effective account planning also allows sales teams to tailor their strategies to meet the unique needs of each prospect, leading to more meaningful engagements and higher conversion rates. 

“Account planning is like a truth pill,” says Jim. “As a salesperson who’s great, you take a truth pill every day. When your reps present their account plan, you can see areas where you can help. And this isn’t a criticism or gap. It’s nothing more than another person putting their gray matter to your problem and thinking from a constructive perspective. So, I’m a big believer in planning and questioning that plan to help my team enforce our GTM standards.” 

Implementing proven strategies, tools & training to cultivate A-players

Implementing proven strategies, tools, and training to cultivate A-players requires a combination of the right people in the role and the right culture and processes in place. But what percentage of success is based on the people versus the tools?

“In the early stage, people are the priority,” says Pat. “Then as time lapses, those paths converge and there’s equal balance between the weight of having the right people, and the right culture and processes in place.” 

To cultivate A-players, the setting of expectations and standards is crucial. Clear expectations ensure that everyone knows what success looks like and what is required to achieve it. Standards provide a benchmark for performance, ensuring consistency and quality across the team. When expectations and standards are well-defined and communicated, it creates a foundation for accountability and continuous improvement.

For instance, regular training sessions and workshops can help sales reps stay updated on the latest sales techniques and industry trends. Mentorship programs can provide guidance and support from experienced sales professionals. Additionally, performance analytics tools can offer insights into sales activities, helping teams to identify areas for improvement and track progress against goals.

By focusing on both the people and the processes, companies can create an environment where A-players thrive. This balanced approach ensures that sales teams are not only equipped with the right skills and knowledge but also motivated and supported to achieve their best performance.

Closing thoughts

When it comes to creating a winning culture, retaining top performers, and up-leveling your team, success boils down to hiring the right leaders and people, figuring out what works for your organization, and putting together a baseline for reps to follow.

This includes setting clear expectations and standards. Have a clear definition of what success looks like and continuously train your reps so they understand their role in achieving it. Use performance analytics to track progress and identify areas for improvement. Host regular workshops and mentorship programs to keep your team’s skills sharp and relevant. And balance the focus on people and process so you can create an environment where A-players thrive.