Most agencies struggle to build effective sales processes and teams.
That’s why I invited agency sales expert Joey Gilkey to stop by and talk about the tactics he uses that have generated over $10m in sales for his clients.
Listen to what he has to say about sustainable and scalable growth through sales tactics that don’t require agency owners to be involved in sales. Get ready to “fire yourself”!
- 0:14 – Give a quick intro about yourself and what you do
- 1:15 – When is the best time for an agency to hire a salesperson?
- 4:57 – Does an agency need to have all of the core four before they bring on a salesperson?
- 12:45 – How do you train a sales team on product knowledge for a company that offers technical services?
- 23:20 – What do you look for in a salesperson?
- 28:07 – Where do you mainly hire from, and do you have a specific set of questions to assess attitude?
- 33:18 – How do you determine compensation for salespeople?
- 36:36 – Can you tell us more about your outbound process
0:14 Give a quick intro about yourself and what you do
My name is Joey Gilkey and I am CEO at Sales Driven Agency. We help you fire yourself from sales. Specifically, to build out your core four: sales processes, sales technology, how to hire and train and manage salespeople, and help equip them with sales assets. We want to get agency owners/founders out of sales.
1:15 When is the best time for an agency to hire a salesperson?
Revenue plays into it. But there is a level of importance to having a system or foundation to come in and be successful. A lot of agencies fall into this trap of “no one is ever going to sell as good as me.” But remember you can only give, say, 10 hours a week to sales, but your salesperson can do it full time. Think about how much more they can do.
You do have to be comfortable with letting them be just 70% as good as you and get out of the way and let them come into their own in the role. Be ready to lose revenue and lose some deals while they are learning – it’s an investment in that salesperson so they can bring in far more revenue later.
4:57 Does an agency need to have all of the core four before they bring on a salesperson?
Not necessarily. The foundational aspects are, first, do they know what they are doing on a day-to-day basis when they come in? You’ve got to become a sales leader and have a process the salespeople can follow. You should also have some basic technology (like a CRM) and have set expectations and accountability (e.g., an end-of-day shutdown scorecard).
You should also have product and market training. It can also help to have a foot-in-the-door offer to help them succeed out of the gate (an audit or blueprint, say, that is 5-10% of your typical retainer).
12:45 How do you train a sales team on product knowledge for a company that offers technical services?
Have an internal knowledge base with content around any question that you think anyone on the team will ever ask. You can do it quickly if you just create a quick video and have the expert share their screen and talk through it.
People also underestimate the importance of a recorded phone call. Your salespeople will learn best just from listening to you talk. Record many different calls and then tag them and make them searchable too.
You can also use shadowing and allow salespeople to listen in silently to help them learn.
Remember too once you start developing your salespeople, you can move beyond sales and product training and work with them on their mindset. A culture of investing in your people makes a big difference in retaining them, and losing a salesperson is a huge hit to your company and your revenues.
23:20 What do you look for in a salesperson?
I’m not a big experience guy. You don’t want someone bringing a lot of baggage and their own ways of doing things. I believe my training is the best so I want to be the one to train them. But you also don’t want to hire someone so green that they’ve never had their teeth kicked in yet. I look for 2-5 years of experience.
I look for attitude over aptitude all day long. You want someone who is hungry, who wants it, who has something they want to achieve in their life. They want to keep growing. You can’t teach this kind of attitude, but you can teach them aptitude.
I also look for coachability. Can they actually sit down with you and listen, or will their ego get in the way of learning from you?
28:07 Where do you hire sales people from, do you have a specific set of questions?
I have a Fire Yourself Academy that talks about my whole hiring, training, and managing process. I have a five-step hiring funnel.
- You want to cast a really wide net, get 150-200 candidates to apply. Have a stock, templatized email that goes to all who applied, and have each one submit a video, 5 minutes at most, answering a few questions (why are you interested in the role, etc.). You’ll find that 15% are going to submit a video, so you’ll go from 200 to 30 really fast without looking at a single resume or cover letter. Of those 30, 15 will be worth moving forward.
- Watch the video and in the first 10 seconds get rid of a few; a few more, in the first minute you’ll see they are great and you want to move them on.
- Then the next step is an interview. This is more about attitude and aptitude. You want to make them a little uncomfortable because sales is an uncomfortable position. One good one is to stop in the middle of the interview and ask “how do you think this is going?” You want to see how they will handle an uncomfortable situation. You’ll probably move half of the people beyond the interview.
- Next is a personality assessment. We use a tool called HumanTrends.co, which is a sales version of the DiSC assessment. You can look for certain things you think will be a good fit or not.
- Then finally, the executive interview with the CEO focused on culture.
I get the best quality and quantity of candidates from LinkedIn and Indeed. JazzHR or BreezyHR will syndicate to all those for you so you only do one job posting.
33:18 How do you determine compensation for salespeople?
In that Fire Yourself Academy, there are ten different compensation plans you can look at. If you have a ton of inbound, you don’t need to pay a salary.
If you have a mix of inbound and outbound, you want a combination of base and commission. You can do a hybrid that cushions the risk on both sides and gradually reduces the salary and increases commission over time, say a 6-month period.
36:36 Can you tell us more your outbound process
We look at outbound like we are fishing with spears, not with nets. I have a very specific type of client in mind who I want to work with. If you are a specialist rather than a generalist, you’ll make a lot more money – like a heart surgeon versus a general practitioner.
How we do that is to go specifically after that ideal client, rather than casting a big net and going after everyone. You flip the funnel upside down and say, who are the people that I want to come out the bottom, who I can charge the most for, who are going to trust me to do my best work. Then reverse engineer: who are those people and how do I get them to pay me and let me solve their problem? Then do very unscalable but highly effective conversion strategies.