Energizing Sales in a Chaotic World

Aaron Ross
Photo: Pierre Ekman

Maybe it’s about energy, not effort! How do you energize your sales team and lay the ground for repeatable success? Aaron Ross, author of Predictable Revenue, shared in his keynote 3 vital ingredients to establish and achieve precisely this: Energized Sales!

Aaron started his speech by pointing out that the more interconnected the world becomes, the faster news will travel. And whether news are good or bad, they contribute to more rapid swings up and down. So it seems safe to say that the future will keep bringing more chaos. Predictability is decreasing, so companies need a new approach. They need a plan, but they need to be super quick at changing it when needed. So how do you build a resilient sales team in that context?

Aaron shared three important ingredients for building that resilient and energized sales team that will keep delivering in changing circumstances:

  1. Sale team design
  2. Predictable pipeline
  3. Emotional smarts

Sales team design – add more roles!

This is the direction many SaaS companies are moving in. Instead of having each salesperson running the whole process, from prospecting to signing and upselling, companies are creating increasingly specialized roles. And the main reason why this works so well is that specializing brings better focus. 

Giving people fewer things to focus on helps them do a better job. Having clear “jobs to be done” also brings comfort in a chaotic world. And it’s not the exact design of XDR, AE, AM, and CSM roles that matter. This can be done in many different ways, but the keyword is specialization. 

Predictable pipeline – how insightful are your metrics?

Knowing how to forecast your pipeline is crucial in SaaS sales. Aaron distinguishes between three kinds of leads: seeds, nets, and spears. 

  • Seeds are things like word of mouth, referrals, and relationships.
  • Nets come from marketing casting a wide net. 
  • Spears is outbound prospecting and business development. 

You need all three types of leads, and then you need good dashboards to tell you what’s working well and where to double down. The right metrics will help you plan and optimize operations. 

Emotional smarts – what energizes YOU?

Aaron notes that many executives are struggling with exhaustion and overwhelm these days. And this is a problem, not just on a personal level because executives set the tone for their entire teams. Time and money used to be the precious resources, but today, it’s also energy. 

Remember that if you’re a leader, you set the example for your team. If you’re doing things that are good for you, and avoid getting burnt out, you lead by example and help your team do the same thing. Aaron wrapped up by emphasizing that it’s a very competitive recruiting market, and it’s important to remember that nobody needs to work for you. And if people are not happy and energized, they will eventually leave.