Interview with: Matt Doherty, Vice President of Sales, Teads
Recently, we had an opportunity to connect with Matt Doherty, Vice President of Sales at Teads, and listen to his thinking on how to build stronger sales teams and get more salespeople to sell the way top performers do. The conversation centered around these topics:
- Respect Your Sales Meetings for the Opportunities They Are
- Confidence Comes From Being Prepared
- Hire a Team That Can Take Coaching
- Build an Environment for Winners to Succeed
- The More Fundamental You Are, the More Effective You Are
- Have a High Do to Say Ratio
Early in the interview, Matt said something that really framed the rest of our conversation,
“Practice has a trickle down effect. I played football when I was younger and I was always undersized and was never the best athlete, but I was pretty fast and would always put in time after practice to stay a step ahead. I remember my coach used to always pull me aside and tell me the reason he valued me was because I had two things he can’t coach; ‘Hunger & Speed.’ In sales, it’s no different. The one thing you can’t coach is work ethic. You give me a person with a strong work ethic that will out work the people around them and that person is going to be successful. My top performers all have an incredibly strong work ethic and a mentality that ‘I want to be the best and I’ll outwork the people around me.’ If you get a whole team of people like that, it gets really exciting because the whole team pushes one another to another level.”
It’s this unwavering dedication that gives top performers their edge. Top performers don’t have to be “better” or more talented or more verbally fluent than their peers because, at the end of the day, they will simply win by out working them.
Respect Your Sales Meetings for the Opportunities They Are
We asked Matt his thoughts on how to set yourself up for success when meeting with potential clients. Here’s his thinking:
“A meeting is the sales equivalent of an open door. It’s a client saying ‘I’m ready to hear what you have to say’. Don’t underestimate the importance of that moment. Respect it for the opportunity that it is. It can be easy to take meetings for granted, since we have so many touchpoints in a given day. But the reality is, a meeting is the first step towards a win. Don’t waste it. Celebrate meetings for what they are, a step towards a sale, and treat them with respect. That means preparing properly for maximum impact. No meeting is too small, and every audience deserves the same respect. You should prepare the same way for a $5M dollar negotiation with a CEO or a 15 minute coffee with a Coordinator. We coach our teams to respect the opportunity and be prepared to have meaningful impact in any discussion.”
The point Matt made that really stood out to us was the idea of “preparing properly for maximum impact”. We asked Matt if he would elaborate more on that concept. Matt explained,
“Little things make a big difference, like being on time and being prepared because you set the tone before you walk through the door. As a salesperson, remember that every interaction is a reflection of you… What do you want to be known for? Are you the guy who shows up 5 minutes late? Or are you the person who is there 15 minutes early? Think about the non-verbal message that sends. I preach that the homework you do before the meeting is more important than the meeting itself. If you are prepared, the meeting itself will be a breeze because you’ll have confidence and that helps you direct the meeting the way you want it to go. Sales is already difficult and there is so much you can’t control as a salesperson. Don’t make it harder on yourself. Take the opportunity to execute perfectly on the things you CAN control.”
Confidence Comes From Being Prepared
When we asked Matt about the biggest mistakes he sees salespeople make when meeting with potential clients he told us,
“Going in without a clear agenda or a plan is the #1 reason for a bad sales meeting. We’re all about planning and having an agenda in advance. If you’ve got clear direction and a clear agenda of what you want to cover, it helps you be more focused. If you’re properly prepared, it leads to confidence, and if you’re confident, it’s impossible to have a bad meeting. To me, sales is a lot of improv, you need to be ready to improvise when things go in a direction you weren’t expecting. You have to adapt to what’s happening and that comes from good listening and reacting to the moment. It’s a combination of preparedness and knowing what you’re going to cover and being ready to adapt to what happens in the meeting and what you hear in the moment.”
We’ve found it helps to write down a few of the questions you’d like to ask before going into a sales meeting right on your notepad and then take notes while you’re listening. This will give you the advantage of being able to recap and summarize the important information you gained in the meeting.
Hire a Team That Can Take Coaching
We asked Matt about the chronic mistakes he sees salespeople making on sales calls:
“When it comes to bad habits salespeople get into, I think a lot of the most damaging habits are also the most fixable because they generally boil down to common sense … You have to be able to read a room and talk to people the way they want to be talked to. You have to find a common thread, a mutual point of connection and be self-aware enough to know when you’ve made (or lost) your point and move on. Pushy or tone-deaf sellers are the worst kind of sellers; they are the ones who give “sales” a bad rap.”
In both relationship and consultative selling, sellers who are pushy or unwilling to listen to the client’s needs often create a tougher uphill battle for themselves. Sales Managers tell us that these individuals can be some of the most difficult to train and develop. Matt explains his approach to this problem:
“It all starts with hiring … before you can even think about coaching, you have to hire a team that can take coaching. In my sales team, if you’re not a person that is open to coaching, it almost never ends well. It starts with hiring people that want to be coached, people who view sales as a craft and want to work on it and get better every day.”
We’ve found it’s very helpful, in the hiring process, to ask the candidates how much coaching they’ve gotten in their lives? People that have gotten lots of coaching tend to be more open to coaching.
Build an Environment for Winners to Succeed
Even if you do hire the right people, you need to create an environment that is conducive to productivity and results while still being engaging and fun for salespeople. Matt explained his approach,
“Once you’ve found the right people, then you can focus on the environment. There’s no one piece of feedback that will work for everyone. Some sellers are relationship sellers and others are solution sellers, so we try to tailor our coaching to sellers based on their style. You need to create a fun and competitive environment. I strive to balance competition and camaraderie. We give out quarterly awards based on different revenue objectives and we make it a big deal to win those trophies. I am always looking for fun new ways to gamify our day-to-day to make it more fun, more competitive, but always additive or helpful for everyone. A good example, we recently rebranded Wednesday, to “WINS” Day; I cater breakfast each week and call out our sellers at random to talk about different deals they’ve closed. I’ll ask them to explain how they made the deal and it’s a fun way to socialize sales techniques that are working. We reward the best one as our Hustler Of The Week and he/she gets their name on the wall and a little gift card. Once you’ve created a culture that’s competitive and fun, success becomes self-fulfilling because the team pushes one another to perform better. It makes your job as a manager much easier because the effort polices itself.”
The More Fundamental You Are, the More Effective You Are
The research we’ve done at SalesGym has shown us that there are subtle but critical differences between those at the top of the leaderboard and the remainder of the team. We asked Matt what he feels those differences are in his organization and what he would advise salespeople who want to become top performers. Matt explained:
- “The more fundamental you are, the more effective you are. Always err on the side of SIMPLICITY. When we over complicate the way we communicate, it makes things more confusing. I like to say: “Deals are won more on less.” Meaning I’ve won more deals with a simple approach and I’ve seen more deals lost due to overcomplicating things.”
- “I don’t care what you’re selling, you need to drive the pace of the deal. There’s a misconception that the client dictates the timeframe and we must change that paradigm. Sellers need to realize that you dictate the cadence of the deals. Don’t let the buyer do that for you. If you wait for the buyer to set the pace you’ll spend your life waiting.”
- “Lastly, you need to make sure that every time you open your mouth, you are adding value. My best sellers are able to add value; they help their clients codify their challenges in a different way, and come up with creative solutions that they may have not considered. There’s a widely-accepted truism in sales circles that there are generally two types of sellers: relationship sellers or consultative sellers. They aren’t mutually exclusive. The best sellers can do both, but that doesn’t mean you will be unsuccessful if you lean one way or the other.”
Have a High “Do to Say” Ratio
As our interview drew to a close Matt offered this final piece of advice on how to succeed in sales:
“My old boss and mentor had a mantra that I’ve never forgotten. In fact, I’ve kind of modeled my life after it ever since. He used to say – “Have a high “do to say” ratio.” (DO:SAY) If you say you’re going to do something, you better do it. If you don’t, be prepared for the consequences. In sales, the biggest consequence is trust. If you don’t come through with what you say you will, You’re going to lose a lot of trust. And if you’ve lost trust, you lost the deal.”
Thanks to Matt for the insights and solid tips on how to generate stronger sales teams!
For videos on how to increase sales utilizing the SalesGym’s “Compete Selling” approaches, check out our SalesGym YouTube Channel!
SalesGym is a research, consulting, and training company that works with and learns from sales teams all over the world and has refined a coaching and training process that trains sales teams the way elite athletes are trained. More insights and articles from us can be found on our RESOURCES PAGE.
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