Building a Super Sales Team by Cultivating Uncanny Skills

Sales managers must find what makes each team member unique and help them develop that skill.
Written by Avery Komlofske
December 2, 2021Updated: December 2, 2021

A good sales leader takes a page from the book of Charles Xavier, head of the Marvel Comics team, the X-Men. At his school for mutants, he practices many of the same leadership tactics needed to help salespeople unlock their full potential.

First, he identifies the element that makes each person special. For the X-Men, of course, that’s the student’s mutant power — telekinesis, ice control, flight — the list goes on. For sales managers, that means recognizing the great qualities a salesperson already has — whether it’s people skills, ambition, resilience or a strong work ethic. After that, they have to cultivate those skills, either by training their pupils to control their powers or weaponizing their abilities for sales success.

While Xavier doesn’t always have the same powers as the people he trains, he practices empathy and understanding to teach them in a way that works for them. Similarly, a good sales manager meets a salesperson where they are and helps them achieve whatever success means to them. Ultimately, like the X-Men under Xavier, a good sales mentor can create and lead a unique team of exceptional people — even if none of them can fly.

Built In LA sat down with exceptional leaders from Emotive, GoGuardian and Appetize to learn how they build their own team of extraordinary salespeople. These managers excel at remembering that, as a mentor, their pupil’s success is their success — and through that ideology, they cultivate teams they can be proud of.

 

Victoria Simbol
Business Development Manager

 

What are the traits that define a successful salesperson?

The first trait is organization. This is overlooked too often. Reps reach out to hundreds if not thousands of prospects on a weekly basis. Stay consistent in your organization of your outreach — not just at the end of the month when scrambling for leads to hit your goal. Know your pipeline like the back of your hand.

The second is creativity. Successful reps think outside the box with their outreach. Find new ways for searching for prospects. If something isn’t working, try something new.

The third is a positive mindset. Sales can be an emotional rollercoaster. On cold calls, someone may yell at you on one call and on the next you’ll become BFFs with a gatekeeper. By keeping a positive attitude and not taking things personally, your days will be easier.  

The fourth is grit. Sales is tough. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Those with grit are the ones who hit their goals and get the job done. 

Finally, a sales rep needs curiosity. There is so much knowledge out there and tons to learn — use your resources to your advantage. Ask every question that comes to mind. Become a sponge. Learn about your industry, its common challenges, ideal customer profile, clients, product and whatever else you can. The more you learn, the more you grow.

 

How do you help your reps develop their own sales acumen?

I help my reps recognize that there is so much knowledge out there — and most of it is free. I encourage them to read sales books, attend webinars, follow sales leaders on LinkedIn, and connect with peers and other members within our sales department.

My favorite activity I perform with reps who may be having a tough time is this: At the end of each day for two weeks, reps watch a demo recording on Gong every other day — roughly five to seven demos in total. Reps then list out the items they’ve learned about the company, industry or product — anything valuable that they can use on a cold call. At our next one-on-one, they present at least 15 items they have learned. 

By completing this activity, each rep becomes more knowledgeable in the space and more confident in their outreach. Bonus points if I learned something new in the process. I once completed this with a rep and they came back with almost 70 bullet points! This activity bolstered their confidence and was a huge factor in their success.

My main responsibility is to guide, coach and mentor sales reps to be their best. I’m here for them.”

 

As a manager of salespeople, what’s a lesson you’ve learned that helps you bring out the best in your direct reports?

After two years in an SDR role at CareerArc, I was promoted to manager. During my first one-on-one with our sales director, Mark Doody, I was terrified and nervous. I didn’t think I was capable of handling the job and its responsibilities. After we completed our agenda, Mark said, “Hey Tori, it’s okay to be nervous. Just remember, I’m always on your side of the table. I’m here for you. Your success is my success.” I remember a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I took a deep breath. I knew everything was going to be alright. That moment changed everything and is a huge reason why I continued in management.

To bring this full circle, when reps come to me with the same nerves about their new role and question if they want to continue in sales, I tell them exactly what Mark told me. I remind them that my main responsibility is to guide, coach and mentor them to be their best. I’m here for them, and I encourage them to lean on me. 

Ben Kuehnle, Emotive’s senior sales manager, says it best: “Give me 51 percent; I will meet you 49 percent.” Ask questions, attend office hours and study the product. At the end of the day, we are a team. Conversations like this, and vulnerability in general, can lead to extraordinary things.

 

 

Bryan Evans
Vice President of Sales

 

What are the traits that define a successful salesperson?

The top sellers always have so many admirable qualities and skills that it can be hard to count, but when I look across all top sellers they have three traits that I value above all else: ambition, endurance and curiosity. With strong enabling and through experience, we can teach sellers so many effective qualities about the profession and how to be successful, but I really seek to cultivate these intangibles in our team. These traits embody a mindset to reach new heights and achieve what others thought was impossible, all while maintaining the focus and energy to see the job through to completion. Top sellers never waiver in their goals and have the constitution to achieve them.

 

How do you help your reps develop their own sales acumen? 

We have a culture that welcomes both the unknowns in a sales pursuit and the possibility of failure. The best sellers learn far more from failures than from successes. Our culture is one that embraces the gaps within an opportunity in an effort to develop a strategy that will get the outcome we’re looking for. For example, when we do deal reviews we spend 75 percent of the time focused on what we don’t know within an opportunity in order to maximize our productive capacity.

I look across all top sellers they have three traits that I value above all else: ambition, endurance and curiosity.”

 

What’s a lesson you’ve learned that helps you bring out the best in your direct reports?

Instilling a culture of recognition balanced with direct feedback and high levels of accountability is important. Communication is key up and down the organization, and providing constant feedback — both positive and constructive in nature — has truly allowed us to build a very inclusive culture centered around honesty and respect.

 

 

Wayne Scarsella
EVP, Sports and Entertainment

 

What skills define a successful salesperson?

It really boils down to the instinct, tenacity and self-discipline the individual’s bringing to the table. You also have to be prepared to nurture your pipeline authentically to maintain and grow it. That applies to both net new business opportunities and managing long-term relationships with clients who regularly purchase your products. In addition, you have to be resourceful in how you build your relationships and apply a consultative approach to gaining trust as opposed to selling a solution. Having proven industry experience and knowledge will always help you succeed and establish that trust factor.
 

How do you help your reps develop their own sales acumen?

Coaching is key, along with constant communication. But you don’t want to be the bug in their ear with task reminders. Instead, be their cheerleader: Help them hammer down details, plan next steps and move in for the close. Make sure your team knows that not all opportunities are the same, and they shouldn’t be treated as if they are. Help them learn to understand the opportunity from the individual client’s point of view. Teach them to develop a habit of putting themselves in the shoes of the buyer and building a strategy that works toward the right solution.  

Regular weekly meetings with your team members are also essential.  Use these touchpoints to keep an eye on the details of each opportunity in the pipeline and the status of those relationships with larger clients that require constant nurturing.

Be their cheerleader: Help them hammer down details, plan next steps and move in for the close.”

 

As a manager of salespeople, what’s a lesson you’ve learned that helps you bring out the best in your direct reports?

Never get complacent, ever. Whether working on a single opportunity or with a large client, always ensure you’re poised to move forward and offer the next solution if needed.

 

Jobs from companies in this blog68 open jobs
All Jobs
Data + Analytics
Dev + Engineer
HR + Recruiting
Legal
Marketing
Operations
Product
Project Mgmt
Sales
Content
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Marketing
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Product
new
Emotive.io
Los Angeles
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
Emotive.io
Los Angeles
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Content
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Marketing
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Marketing
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Operations
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Product
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Data + Analytics
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Data + Analytics
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
Emotive.io
Remote
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Operations
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Data + Analytics
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Data + Analytics
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Project Mgmt
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Product
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
Emotive.io
Los Angeles
Marketing
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Data + Analytics
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Data + Analytics
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Marketing
new
Emotive.io
Los Angeles
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Product
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Marketing
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Project Mgmt
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Developer
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
HR + Recruiting
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Operations
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Operations
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
HR + Recruiting
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
HR + Recruiting
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Project Mgmt
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
HR + Recruiting
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Operations
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Product
new
GoGuardian
El Segundo
Sales
new
GoGuardian
Remote
Developer
new
GoGuardian
Remote

Los Angeles startup guides

LOCAL GUIDE
Best Companies to Work for in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Coolest Tech Offices in Los Angeles
LOCAL GUIDE
Best Perks at Los Angeles Tech Companies
LOCAL GUIDE
Women in Los Angeles Tech