Introducing the “Simplify Your Sales Environment” Series

July 26, 2023

As your business grows, it becomes more complex. It’s natural.

You update your pricing structure, and now you have customers grandfathered on legacy plans. You gain traction with multiple lead sources and channels, and as a result, tracking attribution is more difficult. You introduce outbound sales, and now you’re managing territories and rules of engagement. New products, new tools, new org structures. These are growth milestones to be celebrated. They declare, “we just crossed over to a new stage of growth!”

They also introduce complexity that requires sales attention: more to learn, more to track, more to be held accountable for. The very changes you earned through success, now make it harder to keep succeeding.

Learning lessons from every stage of growth

From pre-seed to post-IPO, I’ve seen every growth stage. Additionally, as a Sales Operations and Revenue Operations leader for high-growth B2B SaaS companies, I’ve learned some rich lessons:

  • At Shopify, I learned about the impact an amazing product can have, and how to measure your company’s success based on your customers’ success.
  • Intuit provided lessons on customer obsession, leading with curiosity, and how those two principles converge in rapid prototyping.
  • How the power of a compelling mission can attract great talent. At Clio, this helped to inspire innovative solutions.
  • At Eloqua (now Oracle Marketing Cloud), I learned the value of ecosystems, and how to educate a market as you introduce disruptive technology.

Aggregating all my experience, here are my two greatest lessons learned in how to scale your revenue growth:

  1. Every stage of growth has its unique sales challenges, but they are all expressions of the same grand challenge: How do you keep the sales experience simple as your business grows more complex?
  2. Your most valuable sales resource isn’t just your sales people. In fact, it’s the act of your sales people when they’re directly selling. As your company grows, it’s imperative that you find ways to protect direct selling time. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t capture sales activities and key data points throughout your sales process. It simply means that manual data entry from your sales reps should be a last resort in how you capture that information.

Identify the company strategies vulnerable to complexity

Complexity can filter into specific areas of the sales environment that are crucial to any high-performing company. We’re talking about sales compensation plans, pipeline management, and sales technology.

When overtaken by complexity, they can impede your revenue growth. But when these tools are designed and implemented well, they can fuel powerful momentum in your revenue engine.

3 common areas to look for obstacles in sales

In this series, “Simplify Your Sales Environment,” I’ll highlight how common areas of complexity tend to develop—but more importantly, I’ll identify some tried and true practical solutions to regain direct selling time, and how to keep your Sales team highly motivated.

Administrative distraction

We’re familiar with manual data entry, research, submitting expenses, preparing forecasts, and other repeated tasks. Though they’re necessary, I’ll share methods to simplify, automate, or eliminate these tasks to help you identify which ones are unavoidable, and which ones can be taken out.

Mental distraction

Context switching throughout the day can make it difficult to get into a flow and properly time-box their schedule. Meetings, switching tools, and ad-hoc requests all require context switching. Finding ways to organize the week for your sales team can help minimize distractions.

Motivational distraction

Your sales team wants to be trusted, and motivational distractions can tarnish that sense of pride and trust. What begins as an investment to help sales win can eventually feel like more ways they can lose, with penalties behind them. Keeping sales reps feeling trusted and supported helps them consistently perform at their best.

We will explore the “what” and “how” of implementing Sales tools and compensation plans, communicating their value to ensure they achieve their intended result: help Sales win.

Focus is your sales team’s best attribute

As your company grows, it is possible to effectively manage your operational complexities while keeping your sales reps focused on selling. They will thank you, and most importantly, your customers will thank you—with their business.

Look out for the next part in the series

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Founder & Principal

Michael has led revenue operations at some of the world's fastest growing technology companies, including Shopify, Intuit, Clio and Eloqua (now Oracle Marketing Cloud). He is known for his ability to develop high-impact leaders, and align customer-facing teams to deliver sustainable revenue growth. Michael is happily married to Dana Hanna, his co-founder and wife of 23 years. They founded Hanna Strategy to help companies grow and leaders mature to their next level of impact. He offers coaching for Founders and Revenue Leaders, and consulting for B2B companies looking to systematize their revenue growth.