Prove yourself: How 3 Austin sales teams develop new leaders

by Kelly O'Halloran
May 30, 2018

Hitting performance metrics will always play a pivotal role when it comes to internal promotions within a sales organization.

But that’s not the only factor that can lead to an upward trajectory.

For many tech companies, meeting sales targets is only the beginning of launching into leadership roles. We caught up with three sales leaders to learn more about how salespeople grow within their organizations.

 

social solutions austin
photo provided by social solutions

Social Solutions continues to scale its local office, with sales leading as one of its fastest-growing departments. Rachel Richey, sales manager on the company’s Mission I team, said her company usually promotes employees within their first year. She added that Social Solutions encourages reps to explore new roles within the organization.

Hiring the right people who can grow within the organization is hugely important to the leadership team.”

As Social Solutions grows, what leadership opportunities become available in sales?

Our sales team is an ever-evolving, exciting place to be. Staffing is our number one priority, and hiring the right people who can grow within the organization is hugely important to the leadership team. I’ve been here about seven months, and I have seen people move from entry-level roles to our next sales tier called Mission I, and from mid-market accounts to enterprise-level accounts. We’ve hired a new VP of sales, an inside sales manager and we are currently looking to hire another inside sales manager.

 

What does your sales team look for when promoting internally?

When Mission Sales is looking to promote, we consider a myriad of variables including bookings numbers, process proficiency, followership, consistency in outreach efforts as well as actively mentoring newer reps.

 

How does your company support internal growth?

We have tons of resources for development and preparation. We offer inter-departmental mentoring and cross-functional trainings. We also have a high-potential leadership program. Each sales leader actively works with their reports to make sure we’re not just developing you for the role you have, but that we are actively developing you for the career you want.

 

alertmedia
photo provided by alertmedia

Brett Andrew, AlertMedia’s chief revenue officer, filled us in on the rapid growth of their startup’s sales department. This growth has included the hiring of a VP of sales, a sales enablement leader, individual team leaders as well as opportunities for individuals within the team to head up special projects. When these opportunities pop up, there are a few things Andrew and his team look for.

Our CEO loves to roll up his sleeves ... showing our sellers firsthand what it takes to earn new business.”

What does your sales team look for when promoting internally?

AlertMedia values good people. While we care passionately about an individual achieving and exceeding set goals, we also want to reward them for following best practices, being a solid team player, bringing positivity to the workplace and setting the pace with a great work ethic.

 

How soon could a new sales rep be bumped into a new role?

When a company grows as fast as AlertMedia, opportunity avails itself often to strong performers who exceed their goals and exhibit our core values. We expect team members to first succeed in their current roles before any type of advancement, so it’s common to see our sellers take on a bigger role after their first full year of selling. Our team leads all had between one to two years of proven success before taking on more visible roles.

 

How does AlertMedia support internal growth in sales and beyond?

We use talent development software to help train the team on the nuances of our sales process. We offer certifications for what matters most to our sales funnel: prospecting, discovery, the conversational demo and pricing to close. We created a leadership role specifically designed to help our sellers improve on everything they do. This director-level leader sits side by side with sellers as they make calls, write emails and give demos, coaching people to reach their potential.

We also provide our sellers with ongoing exposure to our leadership team. Our VP of sales and I meet individually with each seller to strategize around key accounts and explore areas of improvement. Our VP of customer success supports key sales calls, teaching our sellers through example how to inspire buyers in our customer-first organization. Our VP of marketing shares communication best practices, lessons on positioning and tips to help our sellers become more efficient with their outreach and follow-up. And our CEO loves to roll up his sleeves, solve problems, and get on the phone with prospects, showing our sellers firsthand what it takes to earn new business.

 

shopgate austinsales
photo provided by shopgate

Arlin Owsley, Shopgate’s VP of sales, said the company invests heavily in its staff. On the sales side, this takes the form of weekly training seminars hosted by Owsley himself, industry events, cross-functional team initiatives and product repositories.

We focus on organic growth with trusted ability to execute in a scalable manner.”

As Shopgate grows, what leadership opportunities become available in sales?

Shopgate has grown immensely in a very short amount of time, and the sales department has been a primary catalyst of this growth. With our updated platform, aggressive growth forecasts and targets in place, organic opportunity is a natural byproduct. We’ve either created or plan to create leadership roles across the department, including roles in sales development, mid-market sales, enterprise sales and sales operations.

 

What does your sales team look for when promoting internally?

Internal promotions are more than just pure focus on activity and performance metrics. Calling upon my experience, I have found that leading individual contributor attributes don't always translate to leadership. As such, I focus on every individual team member’s goals, aspirations and motivations to identify unique plans to recognize the aforementioned qualities. It's a solid blend of performance, communication, cross-functional collaboration, willingness to learn and serve, and personal accountability, to name a few.

 

How soon could a new sales rep be bumped into a new role?

Increased responsibility can happen quickly; however, role alignment isn't something that will happen overnight. We focus on organic growth with trusted ability to execute in a scalable manner. However, this doesn't disqualify relevant situational experience. If a member of our team has executed in other environments and meets the above criteria, it wouldn't be uncommon to find talent transitioning roles in six months.

 

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