Today, we’ll explore how passion and process have guided John Jensen’s career as an individual contributor and sales executive at global leaders like Alteryx, Informatica, Tableau, and his current role as RVP of Strategic and Enterprise Inside Sales at Gong.
Specifically, we’ll cover topics from building sales culture to hiring, career pathways, compensation, and his advice for HR business partners.
Join us as we discuss:
- The four core values to build a sales team
- Knowing what your company needs to create the profile for new recruits
- How HR can build career pathways and measure employees' readiness to be promoted
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4 core values to develop sales teams
When building a sales team, it’s important to have a clear idea of the types of people you want to bring on to see the most significant results. For John, there are four core values he looks out for when building a team of his own - discipline, accountability, respect and love.
Though discipline may have negative connotations in the workplace, John is not referring to someone who will just do whatever he says. Instead, he is looking for someone who can take on the hardest parts of their day, whether it’s cold-calling or writing, head-on with no hesitation.
Accountability goes hand in hand with this. It’s essential to be able to do what you say you are going to do, not for the sake of your team lead but for yourself and your character.
When it comes to respect, John stresses the importance of respecting what your leader does. Seeing sales as a respectable and inspiring occupation instead of just a point in time in your career or just another job is crucial to being the best at what you do. To see results, you have to have that true passion and respect for selling.
“No, it's not about respecting your leadership, although we hope you do, you should. It's about respecting the profession of selling, not the job selling,” explains John.
With that respect must come love as well. Loving the selling profession, the grind, the studying and all the extra things you must put in to be an especially valuable asset to your team.
How HR can know what to include in a sales recruiting profile
Going into the hiring process with a game plan and knowing your company’s needs sets you up for making the best and most cohesive team. John says it's important to be well-rounded and that eclectic backgrounds stand out more to him as it adds to a person’s life experience and personability.
“We want people to know how to have fun and relate to people. We don’t want people who nerd out in the library all the time. We don't want people that spent their whole college career focusing on their grades because that's not what we're doing here,” explains John.
Much of the ‘x-factor’ that John seeks out in recruits comes from what drives them - where they’ve been and want to go. So gaining a deeper understanding of what that person is going after and why a career in sales fits into that vision will give insight into how they will benefit your team.
Why did they choose the university they went to? How has their prior experience led them to sales? What is driving them to want to be successful? All of these questions can translate into what the recruit will bring to the table and how they fit in with your company’s needs.
How HR can build career pathways and measure employees' readiness to be promoted
Every employee has goals of moving up in their careers and earning promotions. However, when it comes to sales, there are specific indicators of when someone is ready for these next steps.
With most companies, there is a set time frame, typically around nine to twelve months, where once an employee reaches this point, they can expect talk of a promotion or a raise. However, John says that in sales, there are too many factors that earn an employee the right to a promotion that has nothing to do with how long they’ve been at the company.
“With most organizations, once you have your nine to twelve months, you can go anywhere you want, but if we're trying to build an enterprise business, that's not going to work. Because it's too nuanced, it's too serious, it's too different,” explains John.
The career path that John has seen the most significant results with is an emphasis on teaching employees the skills they need for a promotion that usually takes place over 18 to 24 months and then allows them the opportunity to move up into one of three available higher-up roles. With these roles comes increased pay and increased responsibility.
Ensuring that one is ready for the promotion skills-wise and has the passion for sales that will keep them in the field for a long time is essential to building a career pathway that benefits both the team and the employee.
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Did you enjoy the content? Listen to the full High Growth Matters episode.