No matter how many times I sit in on one of our roundtables, I learn something new…continuous learning at its best. And last week was no exception.

Kevin McShane, a Junto mentor, led a session on Building Sales Teams & Process for the second straight year, and it was even better this time around…continuous improvement at its best. Kevin has an impressive background as head of sales for multiple companies, and has experienced five successful exits.

Here were my key takeaways from his session:

  1. Pipeline is the most important thing. I loved Kevin’s quote, “Show me a revenue problem and I’ll show you a pipeline problem.” He discussed the importance of identifying specific activities that sales people must do to drive pipeline, how it’s vital to measure several pipeline metrics, and that pipeline is the one thing in sales that leaders cannot compromise.

  2. Culture drives growth. Again, Kevin had a great line to drive this point home: “The difference between growing 10-15% per year and growing 50-100% per year is culture.” He was talking specifically about the culture within the sales organization, whether it’s only a few people or a large, formal one. His three-pronged approach to building culture is (a) define it: articulate what the culture is and ensure that everyone understands it; (b) own it: have people take 100% accountability of their performance; and (c) measure it: build and review metrics that show performance or not.

  3. Identifying sales personas helps in hiring sales people. Based on the book, “The Challenger Sale,” Kevin discussed five sales personas: Hard Worker, Problem Solver, Relationship Builder, Lone Wolf, and Challenger. It’s the last one that, based on extensive research, is the highest-performing sales type: someone who has a different view of the world, understands the customer’s business, loves to debate, and pushes the customer.