This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Jenn Etherton, Head of Sales at Klara, to discuss "Building Success Metrics for Early Sales Teams." Klara offers a secure healthcare communication platform that helps everyone along a patient's journey communicate more efficiently thus improving patient outcomes. Though founded in 2013, Klara already has over an 80% patient adoption rate and over half a million users. Before jumping into the topic, Jenn began with her personal story as an account executive who transitioned into working in sales for early stage companies and from there side-stepped into Klara unexpectedly after meeting the company's founders and connecting with their vision. Because companies that are just getting started don't have a lot of sales data to begin with, setting goals for their reps can be difficult. With that in mind, Klara gave four recommendations that startups should consider as they put in place success metrics for early sales teams: 1.) Start At The Top Of The Funnel. Before you begin measuring sales reps success meaningfully, make sure you're sufficiently focused on sourcing leads. You can set metrics all day long, but if you don't have the leads to begin with, the sales won't be there. 2.) Make Sure The Goals You're Setting Align. Early-stage companies need to make sure their metrics for evaluating sales reps' success align with the company's focus. For early-stage companies, the goals are usually customer acquisition and customer success so goals should be aligned with that. As the company grows and begins segmenting its sales org, make sure the overall goals remain consistent. While SDRs and AEs might have different specific focuses and metrics for evaluating their performance, make sure the sales org as a whole is working together to hit a broader goal - revenue for example. 3.) Build Your Data Quickly. It's never too soon to start collecting data, and while you shouldn't expect industry standards across your metrics immediately, data should be collected and used to determine what the overall sales org should be focused on to improve. Without this data, decisions are based more off instinct, which, though in some cases successful, is usually outperformed by data-driven decision making. 4.) Find Out What Motivates Your Employees. Sales reps can be driven by many different things, and in order to maximize their productivity, it's best to understand what individual contributors are after. Once you know what that is, Jenn explained that setting expectations is key. But, expectations must be very realistic and based on the company's individual goals. Sales reps should understand the growth strategy of the company so that they can see where they can fit in. To best achieve this, Jenn recommends developing a personal development plan with each employee. Jenn concluded by explaining how else these personal development plans can be used. For example, if an employee wants to be a manager, Jenn will often set that employee up first as a mentor to a new hire so that they can get a taste what that position might be like. She firmly believes in this model because it allows employees to hone their leadership skills and, in the event that they might prefer a traditional sales rep role, the model also lets employees self-select out if they realize managing is not what they're interested in. Jenn Atherton currently serves as Head of Sales at Klara and focuses on improving efficiency in healthcare communication. Jenn has a lot of experience working at early-stage companies, and was previously the Head of Sales at Zapper and DipJar and Head of Inside Sales at WayUp. Prior to those roles, she was Strategic Account Executive at Livingsocial and Snagajob. Jenn is uniquely qualified to talk about building success metrics for early sales teams. She graduated Longwood University with a degree in business administration.
This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Officer at Marketo, to discuss "The Key Pillars of Social Selling." Marketo offers automation software that helps marketers build brand value, grow revenue, and prove impact. The Adobe company focuses on scalability, reliability, and openness for its CMO users and sells products across a wide range of industries. Jill first discusses how her personal success as a sales professional helped her develop the idea of social selling: using social networks, not media, to do research on buyers, customer lifetime value, and relationships that drive revenue. Over time, through social selling, you transition from finding buyers to being found by buyers. When conducted effectively, social selling directly correlates with pipeline generation. She then establishes the five key pillars of social selling: 1.) Personal Credibility. Look as good online as you do offline. You're one Google search away from being reviewed by your buyers, so your LinkedIn profile should be buyer-centric. Position yourself as someone who is knowledgeable and genuinely passionate about helping customers solve problems. 2.) ABC-ing and Socially Surrounding. Your network is your net worth. Take the people you meet offline and extend digital online connections to create a deeper network. Remember, if you’re sending generic invites on LinkedIn, you’re already one step behind. Personalize your outreach. 3.) Content as Currency. Read and share buyer-centric content across your social network. Read to get smarter about what impacts your buyers, and share to be more visible and valuable to them. 4.) Social Listening. If your buyers are active online, you should know what they’re saying. Enable real-time notifications and track specific tag lines. It'll help you keep up with the people you need to continue to build better relationships with. 5.) Measurement. Measure what matters. Set up systems to track new activity, and establish KPIs and benchmarks that you can track over time. After walking through the pillars, Jill explains the some common issues. Such as, many salespeople have recruiter-centric LinkedIn profiles, not buyer-centric ones. They don't tailor their profiles to buyers, because they simply don't know how. Workshops and LinkedIn profile makeover teams can help remedy this. Another common issue is people skip the reading and share content automatically. Not only is this unproductive for personal learning, but it also results in members of the same company sharing overlapping content. Lastly, Jill think that no genuine leadership commitment is another issue. Many leaders may engage in social selling outwardly, but are not truly invested in the effort. As a result, if a sales team misses expectations, leadership tends to automatically revert back to traditional sales outreach. This reflects a failure to understand the need for patience in network-building. According to Jill, within an organization, sales enablement should should own social selling. When sales enablement is weak or nonexistent, marketing tends to own the effort instead. In this case, however, the focus inevitably becomes social media and reach, not relationships, which are the true core of social selling. Sales enablement, across the board, is still emerging and becoming strategic—companies should focus on tightly aligning enablement with sales strategy and marketing. Jill Rowley currently serves as Chief Growth Officer at both Marketo and Sales for Life, the largest social selling and digital sales training organization in the world. She previously founded her own consulting practice, #SocialSelling, to help sales and marketing organizations evolve their digital transformation. Rowley has a rich history of success driving excellence at enterprise SaaS companies, having spent time at Oracle building a world-class training curriculum for the company's global salesforce. She joined Oracle through its acquisition of Eloqua, where she helped companies modernize their marketing for more than 10 years. Prior to Eloqua, Rowley worked at Salesforce.com. She has also held notable advisory positions at TrackMaven, HubSpot, and Affinio, among others.