Selfhood: The fully developed self; an achieved personality.
SalesHood: The state of sharing sales best practices; a community where sales people mentor each other; engagement to improve pipeline quality and close deals faster.
In the midst of a profession filled with competition, secrets, and the image of a pushy and manipulative used car salesman in a suit, author and sales maven Elay Cohen is putting an end to the stereotype:
“If you want truly stellar results, then transform your team from independent sales operators into a cohesive team and part of a sales community . . . Remember: A sense of community – and the connectedness and mutual learning that goes with it – is what leads to fully developed salespeople (that is, SalesHood).”
Rather than seeing colleagues and sales teams from other companies as forced competition, he views them as part of a global “sales community.” Similar to how companies, like Kickstarter crowdsource small donations from hundreds of users to complete a project, Elay considers it critical that salespeople, or students of any kind, share and learn from each other’s experiences and best practices.
With this realization, Elay took two big steps in forming this all-inclusive sales community: he co-founded the SaaS platform SalesHood, and he wrote a companion book entitled SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed. Both the company and the book aim to empower “sales managers to inspire sales people to share real life sales best practices, to learn from each other, and to succeed as a team.” In the past, sales training consisted of weeklong (pricey) sessions, lectures, and handouts. According to Elay, these methods fail because they assume the instructor knows everything that will benefit the student and they jam as much information into an agenda as possible, when there is only so much a person can absorb at a time.
“It’s my firm conviction that salespeople learn best when they’re learning from each other, not when they’re stuck in the traditional teacher-student scenario.”
Instead, training should be an ongoing and shared process. Sales “huddles” should be often, feedback should be continuous, motivation must be constant, and all salespeople should know how to find and use the resources around them to deliver the highest value. “’Never lose alone’ should be a mantra of the team.”
This notion is not just a hunch. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at salesforce.com and was recognized as the company’s “2011 Top Executive.” He ran the teams that executed sales training, onboarding and deal support for thousands of salespeople and he created the Partner Relationship Management category. SalesHood reads like a behind-the-scenes peek into the success of salesforce.com and the other companies Elay consulted. With each lesson, for example “Onboarding Principles,” Elay tells how it began and evolved to become the successful method he then explains in detail. The proof is in the pudding. Just consider the salesforce.com revenue, customer, and employee-growth trajectories from 2005-2013: double digit growth month after month.
Though technically a book on sales coaching and best practices, many of the lessons in SalesHood translate to any profession. Today we live in an interconnected, always on, and crowdsourced world. Technology provides us tools like webinars, shared document storage and video calls. The use of digital media has eliminated all physical borders when it comes to communication. As Elay explains, “every moment is a learning moment,” and all industries should use this to their full advantage. Just think of what would happen if every employee learned, and used, each other’s best practices. The results would be phenomenal. And this is certainly true for all professions, not just sales.
So, whether you are a manager, salesperson, CEO, or teacher of any kind, SalesHood is a must-read. Not only will you enjoy the anecdotes and case studies, but you will instantly feel a part of a new global community created to help you attain your selfhood.
Amy Rosenberg is the Marketing Manager for Namely, the cloud-based people management platform for high-growth companies, and the editor of The Makegood. She is an avid user of personal social media and has run social media marketing campaigns for multiple startups and The New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development. Look for her posts on The Makegood.