A success mantra is exactly what helped Elay Cohen create and execute all of Salesforce’s sales training programs back when he was the company’s Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity. His efforts accelerated growth from a $500 million to a more than $3 billion enterprise.
The innovative sales training and support delivered over these years by Elay’s team to thousands of sales professionals resulted in unprecedented hyper-growth. How did he do it? In a recent video interview, he explained his team’s “success” mantra as follows.
S – “Seed and grow.” They ultimately believed that, if they could win a customer, a division, or a team, they would be able to seed the success of Salesforce into that business.
U – “Users sell for you.” They believed that, if they could get their customers to share their stories, the customers would do the selling for them.
C – “Customize the demos.” They always tailored the demo to the customer’s business and used the customer’s vernacular.
C – “Connect the dots.” They figured the chances were high that they already knew someone with a connection in the prospect’s company. To use those relationships, they connected the dots.
E – “Experience events.” Think about Dreamforce. Each year, thousands of customers come to the event, get energized, and get connected to other customers. This creates value.
S – “Show them the money.” They used a classic value-based selling approach to build political maps and understand the customer’s business processes.
As Elay told me, they did so much good work in those years of hypergrowth that he felt it was important for him to document the best practices and record how they went to a $3 billion run rate. As he reflected on his time and successes at Salesforce, he realized one of the most critical elements of success was the tight partnership between him, the enablement organization, and the frontline sales managers. His book, SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed, takes the best of enablement and teaches managers how to bring it to their teams.
When he was at Salesforce, sales enablement was top of mind for Marc Benioff and the entire leadership team. One day Elay got a call from Marc, who said: “Now that you’re heading up enablement, what’s your plan?” They spent a few hours on the phone and he introduced Elay to the idea of a messaging mantra. Marc said: “We have an amazing product and we’re at the beginning of dominating the market.” He told Elay he wanted every single salesperson on message, sharing the same stories and selling the same way.
Those were their marching orders. Elay’s team knew their corporate pitches and the playbooks. As Elay told me: “We always had support and expectations that we were going to deliver excellent sales enablement.”
You can hear more from Elay in the video below, and you can also register now to join us at the Sales 3.0 Conference, where Elay will present Crack the Code to Sales Growth with a Winning Sales Enablement Strategy.