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Building a World-Class Sales Organization

Dave Berman, president of Zoom Video Communications; Bill Binch, SVP of global SMB sales at Marketo; and Erica Ruliffson-Schultz, EVP of global sales at New Relic, sat down with moderator Jason Green (general partner at Emergence Capital) to talk about building a top-tier sales organization. They touch on hiring a VP of sales, sales enablement and how to grow your team.

Over the next three days, DataFox will summarize the SaaStr 2016 panels. If you miss the tactical theater or strategy stage, are networking on the ground, or didn’t get a chance to attend this great conference, we’ve got you covered.

View all SaaStr 2016 panel summaries

Special thanks to Jason Lemkin of SaaStr for putting on this conference and giving us the chance to publish these summaries.

In a nutshell:

  • A VP of sales hire should be aligned with the CEO on strategy, focus on recruiting and customer success as much as sales, and be able to run an organization at scale.
  • Investing in sales enablement and sales operations is critical.
  • Churn is a major concern - be proactive and try to save customers before you lose them.

On VPs of sales

The three panelists agreed that a good VP of sales should be versatile, someone who has customer success experience, has a large network to recruit from, can do both transactional and enterprise deals, and ideally has run a large organization before. A solid hire should be aligned with the CEO on strategy, hit key metrics, and be transparent about his or her thought process.

On sales representatives

Sales kickoffs are a staple for a reason: they’re a great way to motivate your team and reward top performers. Ideally, 20-30% of reps should go each year, and it should be fun enough that they work to go back. You should also make an ongoing effort to recognize those who close deals - not just SDRs, but marketing teams as well. This helps create a sense of ownership and alignment.

Finally, you should empower your representatives by investing in sales operations and the right training and tools. Don’t hinder your team by skimping on the sales stack.

Churn and customer success

Ruliffson-Schultz says churn is a big concern for her organization. Rather than having a cross-sell team, she has a renewals team responsible for net-positive churn. According to Berman, usage is a leading indicator of churn. He has a save team that reaches out to disengaged customers to try to get ahead of churn.

Check out all of our SaaStr panel summaries here, follow us on Twitter at @datafoxco to see live tweets of the event, and visit SaaStr itself for more great content.