As part of an ongoing series, I've been conducting interviews with influential sales executives from some of the world's leading sales organizations.
Sales is the lifeblood of many of today's enterprises as well as up-and-coming startups and SMBs, but it's the most successful organizations that are setting the example for building world-class sales teams and developing sales methodologies that get results.
What better way to work toward becoming the next world-renowned enterprise than to learn from the best?
This interview with Melody Brown, SVP of Sales for PayScale, is the fourth in the series, following valuable insights from Steve Blumof Autodesk, Vicki Freed of Royal Caribbean International, and Dailah Lester of Lenati.
In each interview, I ask these and other thought leaders from the world's most prominent sales organizations to share how they manage their sales processes, strategies they rely on to produce consistent results, and key takeaways and valuable advice that growing companies can put to use to catapult their sales teams, and the company as a whole, to great heights.
Read on to discover the strengths that set PayScale and its sales team apart, what makes PayScale's sales process so effective, Brown's goals for her sales team and overall PayScale growth goals for 2016, and Brown's insights on achieving greater marketing-sales collaboration.
1. What Are the Biggest Strengths of Your Sales Team or Sales Process (What Processes or Strategies Set Your Company Apart)?
As a team, our 'north star' is a commitment to success. That may sound cliché, but let me break it down. When you join our PayScale Sales team, you are making a commitment to our customers' success, the team's success and a commitment to each other's success. We stay centered on how are we helping our customers achieve their business objectives through smart compensation practices that ultimately have far-reaching benefits.
What does this mean for them, their company, their team? What goals do we help them achieve? How does that impact the lives of their employees, their employees' families? It's about understanding and owning that through every decision we make and every interaction with customers, we have an opportunity to ensure companies are using a modern compensation approach to retain their best talent and keep employees engaged.
Employees who know they're being treated fairly and have some understanding of how their company compensates people are going to be more focused on the job at hand. At the end of the day, our job isn't just about pay data and software; it's about people. That mission is an easy one to get behind and keeps us all moving in the same direction.
We have a diverse team, but not only by traditional measures. Our team is comprised of and we celebrate a diversity of thought and experiences. We believe that every person has unique abilities and skill sets to offer and that our team and customers can benefit from that. We encourage transparent conversations and have created multiple avenues for every team member to help in the creation of new processes and plans.
2. What's Your Top Goal for 2016 in Improving Your Company's Sales Processes and Outcomes? What Improvements Do You Anticipate That Will Enable You to Achieve These Goals?
We are in a period of record growth in PayScale's history, which is very exciting; however, I never want to lose sight of helping our customers and team achieve their full potential. I believe both of those have to co-exist for true success to be achieved.
One of the initiatives we have and will continue to invest in is our employees' professional development with training opportunities, both in the classroom and through hands-on, 'in-the-trenches' experiences with sales leadership and through our new Learning Management System. This is coupled with investments in technologies that automate the 'grind' email and dialing automation as examples.
On the surface, many view this as a way to simply increase conversion and revenue, but we focus on technology investments that accomplish business goals as well as improve our employee's work experience. It's one thing to optimize a process; it's another to impact how someone on your team's day-to-day experience is improved and enhanced with those investments.
Related Article: Meet Doug Dvorak: 10 Questions With the Sales Coach & Expert
3. Do Your Marketing and Sales Teams Interact Daily, Weekly, Monthly, or Less Frequently? if You Had to Name One Key Focal Area in Which Greater Marketing-Sales Collaboration Would Benefit Your Bottom-Line Results, What Would It Be?
Our teams interact daily, and there is broad and deep cross-team collaboration. We embrace a "one team" approach and focus on how we can work and win together. We have a core set of messages that appeal to a broad set of customers. One thing I'd like to do is get more segment-specific so customers could self-qualify, and plans are in the works to do just that.
4. Who Is Responsible for Producing Sales Content Within Your Organization (Sales, Marketing, Dedicated Content Team) and Why Is It Structured That Way?
Our business model is heavily oriented to inbound demand generation, which means we create content intended to engage prospects at the beginning, middle and end of the buyer's journey. Product marketing is more focused broadly on readiness for the sales (and other customer and market-facing) teams. We use technology to evaluate the performance of different content pieces during the sales cycle.
5. Is the Importance of Content in Sales and Marketing Increasing, Decreasing, or Remaining Relatively Stagnant Within Your Company, and Why Do You Think This Is the Case?
The importance of content is increasing. In this economy, buyers of technology are looking not simply to buy a product. They are making bets on transforming their business or addressing real pain points, and their choice of vendor is based increasingly on both the solution and the buyer's perception of the vendor. Is the vendor a thought leader?
Will my organization be smarter having chosen to use this vendor's solution? We think a lot about how to partner with our customers to go beyond data to provide thoughtful answers and insight that will help them achieve their goals.
Related Article: Inbound Opportunities: 5 Ways to Generate More Sales Online
More About Melody Brown
Melody Brown is Senior Vice President of Sales for PayScale, the leader in modern compensation solutions. She is a high achievement Sales and Marketing technology leader with a consistent record over the past 18 years of driving teams to high revenue attainment and operational leverage, whether for a startup or a Fortune 100 company. Melody has served on the Pike Market Board Foundation for six years, is an avid boater, runner and loves spending time with her husband Ross and their four children.