Leading a High-Performing Sales Team

Leading a High-Performing Sales Team

Leading a High-Performing Sales Team

The Sales Leadership Awakening Podcast
Leading a High-Performing Sales Team
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In this episode of the Sales Leadership Awakening podcast, Brandon Nye, Vice President of Sales for Inmode, shares the key qualities to look for when hiring salespeople, including a proven track record in B2B sales and a competitive mindset. They also explore the challenges of managing high-performing sales reps and the importance of creating a collaborative and supportive team culture. 

“What you’ll find with these alpha driver, mega achievers is that you can’t treat them all the same. That they’re all individuals, so you’ve got to really assess each situation and understand what their drivers are.” – Brandon Nye

Key Takeaways:

  • Emphasize hiring salespeople with proven business-to-business sales and cold calling experience, prioritizing competitiveness, identity tied to work performance, and ownership.
  • Understand that high-performing reps will challenge without emotional triggers, reframing challenges as signs of passion and commitment.
  • Foster collaboration and knowledge sharing, encouraging mentorship and teamwork for driving performance.
  • Utilize technology like WhatsApp and voice notes for seamless communication, making work engaging for the sales team.

Brandon Nye on LinkedIn

Follow Colleen Stanley on LinkedIn

Follow Steven Rosen on LinkedIn

[Transcript]

Introduction

[00:00:05] Colleen Stanley: Hi everyone, and welcome to the Sales Leadership Awakening podcast. I’m Colleen Stanley, and my cohost is Steven Rosen. We are tackling the age-old issue of bridging the knowledge and skill gap in sales leadership. Steven, it’s always good to see you. 

[00:00:27] Steven Rosen: You too, Colleen. It’s always fun to explore some interesting areas in sales leadership.

[00:00:33] Steven Rosen: Today, it’s my privilege to welcome Brandon Nye. Welcome. Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom. Can you share with our audience a bit about your background, your company, what you sell, and what type of salespeople you lead?

[00:00:48] Brandon Nye: Thank you for having me on. It’s a privilege to be on the show. I’ve been in the aesthetic capital equipment business for 15 years, starting as a sales rep and progressing into a player-coach. Now I’m in leadership. Throughout the 15 years and different stages of my career, I have been the vice president of sales for Inmode. I oversee over 100 people, and we sell capital equipment to offices that offer cash-based services. So you can picture a plastic surgery office, a dermatology doing aesthetics or a med spa, right? That is offering med spa services and then everything in between.

[00:01:34] Brandon Nye: There’s been a large increase in the practice drift of physicians who were once formally practicing a different discipline and are now in the cash-based arena due to the changing landscape of the medical economy and people trying to augment their revenues and bring in predictable cash revenue into their practice.

[00:01:57] Brandon Nye: It’s changed quite a bit over the past 15 years. It’s been an exciting business. 

[00:02:03] Steven Rosen: For many years, I’ve worked with the company that makes Botox, and Allergan, and understand that business and enjoy that business.

[00:02:10] Steven Rosen: In fact, coming from a pharmaceutical background, being in a cash-based, transactional business is a lot of fun. I assume you’re not only selling them equipment, but teaching them how to grow their practice, how to grow their business. 

[00:02:25] Brandon Nye: So much cash-based medicine is a retail business, right? It’s a different thought process than what many medical providers who bill for insurance and treat those patients a certain way a patient that’s coming in, given their hard-earned discretionary income is a different buyer, right? They’re a buyer, right? So, they’re paying for service and goods so a shift has to happen. Some hardcore medical practices just now putting their toes into this are a big part of the education. 

[00:02:58] Colleen Stanley: That’s a good to distinguish. I had not even really thought about that. Brandon is going from carrying a bag to being a player, coach, and VP of sales.

[00:03:08] Colleen Stanley: You’ve obviously hired a few people and I guess you’ve hired good ones. If you’re like all of us, if we do reality testing, we’ve had some that are not so good. I’d be curious because managing a team of 100, what are some of the characteristics that you look for in a candidate and are there hard skills and soft skills you look for specifically?

[00:03:31] Colleen Stanley: What are some unique ones for your industry and culture? How do you like to roll? 

Hiring Top-Performing Salespeople

[00:03:37] Brandon Nye: Yeah, we definitely made some good hires and plenty of bad hires, right? I think that’s part of the journey of sales leadership. If there was a perfect recipe for recruiting and bringing people on, we would have no turnover, and every company would be super elite and the beacon of their industry.

[00:03:54] Brandon Nye: But it’s one of those things that you learn as you go. As I’ve done this longer and longer and gotten what the like archetype is or the avatar of what an excellent candidate and employee looks like, you start to see some of the same trends.

[00:04:14] Brandon Nye: So, from hard skills, we typically would hire people with a proven track record of business-to-business sales, right? So they’ve gone out and cold-called other businesses. They’ve worked a sales process before. They’ve shown that they will go out and cold-call and actually have done thousands of them, and we’re not like experimenting with a rep that, Hey, this is their first time ever prospecting, right?

[00:04:41] Brandon Nye: That would be a real big gamble. So we first start by checking the box. Have they had a B2B business background, and have they been successful in doing it? 

[00:04:51] Colleen Stanley: You know, Brandon, I have to stop you here because this is an area that Steven and I’ve talked about many times: When people are interviewing, they miss that part of the sales process: prospecting.

[00:05:04] Colleen Stanley: That’s one of the tougher skills because it takes confidence, rejection, and persistence. So I am really glad that you’re emphasizing that, and I hope all of our listeners picked up on that. I’ve seen a big gap when people are out there hiring and recruiting. 

[00:05:19] Steven Rosen: Sorry, I just got off the phone with someone who’s recruiting. We did a podcast on hiring mistakes, and I think Colleen, you were the one who talked about non-negotiables. One of his non-negotiables was prospecting, and we worked on some different questions to get people to think about when things are going well: Do you continue to prospect?

[00:05:38] Steven Rosen: Companies forget that and everyone thinks they know how to do it, but there’s a difference between knowing and doing. 

[00:05:44] Brandon Nye: Yeah, I think there are also different forms of prospectors, right? There are people who have an inbound business and understand their mindset versus somebody who has to go out and generate interest from someone who doesn’t want to speak to them, break down those barriers, and walk into those offices, which requires a different skill set.

[00:06:04] Brandon Nye: There’s just so much more rejection involved in taking someone who’s it’s cold too, putting them into the sales process, and identifying if they have cold call reluctance. Now we’ll help you move on from a candidate. That’s probably one of the easiest ones from a hard skills perspective.

[00:06:25] Brandon Nye: When we look at soft skills, I think that’s really where the art of hiring comes in: figuring out what drives this person. And so, as I’ve done this longer and longer, I’ve got a couple of things that I really feel are good. They’re a great litmus test for whether they’re going to actually work and thrive in a high-pressure environment.

[00:06:45] Brandon Nye: The first one is, are they competitive, right? What does their background look like, and where have they shown that they’re very competitive? Whether it was growing up doing sports. If they come and they bring their stack rankings to an interview process, they get themselves highlighted as number one repeatedly. They can tell you where they finished, and who was number two, those are good indicators that that person is driven by this competitive spirit that likes to compete with their peers and likes the pressure of that. 

[00:07:04] Brandon Nye: This unique sales animal thrives in our business. It’s high pressure, high reward, every month, month in and month out, there’s a number to hit, there’s a number to exceed, and those who do it repeatedly get rewarded for it. Those who don’t are weeded out of the business. So, it’s figuring out that competition is one of the first things. The second thing, which goes along with the stack rankings and other evidence they can show, is that a large part of their identity comes from their performance at work.

[00:07:54] Brandon Nye: I got awards up, which will show like look behind me. People come prepared for the interview process to show that it’s an indicator of how they’ll perform and be within an organization. Like I’ve hired people where they’ll say the right things and then when you press them on where they stack up against their peers and they’re like, I just really want to want a good life, you know, have a good work-life balance. We hired the wrong person because that’s not what this is. Being able to weed those things out is a good indicator. Then, the third thing, just like anything in life, is if they are problem solvers and people who take complete ownership of their current situation.

[00:08:37] Brandon Nye: One of the things that you’ll find is, if someone’s complaining a lot about their current situation and it’s a blame game of this and that my manager and the company and the way our products are too expensive.

[00:08:49] Brandon Nye: It’s just a laundry list of reasons why they’re not successful. That’s also a red flag: What do you do about it? How do you overcome these things? And if it’s like, ‘That’s why I’m looking,’ you’ll inherit someone else’s problem. 

[00:09:06] Brandon Nye: It’s not a perfect science, but there is that art of like understanding. All right. What are they saying without saying it? What am I going to read in between the lines there? What evidence are they bringing to the conversation to prove these things right or wrong?

[00:09:20] Steven Rosen: Yeah, those are some great points. Now, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you. You’ve been with Inmode for 15 years. You’ve grown up or started as a base sales rep. What was your moment of awakening as a sales leader? 

Managing High-Performing Reps

[00:09:35] Brandon Nye: So I’ve been in the industry for 15 years and Inmode for going on 6 so I’ve worked for a couple of different companies inside the space and I think that it’ll be relevant to the answer is that going from player, individual contributor to player-coach. That’s a whole set of skills that you really have to learn and then there are not many people out there.

[00:09:55] Brandon Nye: There’s no playbook. There’s certainly not an audiobook that you can listen to on how to do it and then going from player-coach to just leader, you understand that there’s different behavior that you have to let your identity seek into and you have muscle memory from the previous roles that you have to let go, right? 

[00:10:14] Brandon Nye: So the feeling of like, when you’re a leader that I need to be out in the field generating revenue right now, that’s ingrained into you when you’re an individual contributor. So, not jumping on every single flight, not just getting in the car just because that’s what you’re used to but using your critical thinking and that’s what you’re getting paid to do now is to make important decisions about where the organization is going, who you’re letting into the organization, who you’re getting out of the organization.

[00:10:40] Brandon Nye: The awakening is probably letting go of the old muscle memory of the past and embracing the new challenges of the future and the current role and understanding that it’s going to be uncomfortable because you’re not familiar with it. With unfamiliar situations, feelings, and emotions, embracing that’s good, and growth is probably one of the biggest awakenings that I’ve had. 

[00:11:06] Steven Rosen: That’s a great insight. Many folks think what got them there will continue to make them successful, and I think you’ve demonstrated, or at least discussed, that it’s not always the case. You must develop new behaviors and muscle memory to move into different roles. 

[00:11:22] Steven Rosen: We’ve discussed hiring a certain type of sales rep. Let’s call them alpha salespeople. I used to use the term killers, but it might not be that popular today. Of course, those people are not easy to manage or easy to coach.

[00:11:36] Steven Rosen: How do you or how do your sales managers advise them to coach these top-performing reps who are driven and want to be on top of the leaderboard? What advice do you have for other sales managers to manage that type of individual successfully? 

[00:11:51] Brandon Nye: Yeah. So this is like the million-dollar question.

[00:11:55] Brandon Nye: I had three coaching conversations this morning about this. What you’ll find with these alpha drivers and mega achievers is that you can’t treat them all the same, right? That’s number one, and they’re all individuals, so you’ve got to assess each situation and understand their drivers.

[00:12:15] Brandon Nye: Now we look for the competitive, the identity thing, like those are things, but if they, after they’ve proven themselves in the industry, time and quarter and year after year and multiple presidents club, feel a certain way about themselves, they’ve earned the right to have higher demands, press their managers a little harder for things, and challenge leadership.

[00:12:38] Brandon Nye: Because that’s what happens when you get these people that are higher performers. Understanding it is a good thing. You want these people on your team instead of being offended or letting your ego come into play where you’re like, I’m feeling disrespected because this person is challenging me. Look at it from the frame of, We get to manage these high performers.

[00:13:02] Brandon Nye: It’s a blessing of life and that’s a quick reframe to not look at the negative side of it because it can quickly go to, ‘They’re assaulting my character,’ or whatever it is that you can conjure up in your mind when people are challenging you. So, that’s one of the things that I just talked about this morning.

[00:13:20] Brandon Nye: And just understanding that they know they have a certain amount of leverage in terms that if they left, the company would be screwed. There’s a little bit of that that goes along, but in reality, most people don’t want to leave their situation.

[00:13:38] Brandon Nye: They have to be really, really forced, so let that kind of stuff roll off. If they fire that bullet, they’re not always going to use it. Now, you should be aware that if you’ve broken promises or the company has done things like change the comp plan out of the blue, then you’re putting people at risk, right?

[00:13:56] Brandon Nye: So it’s just understanding where the heartbeat of the organization is and how to take on these people. Just know there are people just like [00:14:05] you. You were probably once a top performer as a leader, right? You probably pressed your leadership to make changes or to take your opinions seriously. 

[00:14:14] Steven Rosen: We talked about the qualities of salespeople you hire. Now, assuming some of your managers get promoted and some you may bring in from the outside, what qualities do you look for in sales managers to manage these folks effectively?

[00:14:31] Brandon Nye: So, a high EQ, right?

[00:14:34] Brandon Nye: What’s our emotional intelligence like? Are they going to be able to lead a diverse group of people that are going to be challengers or are they going to be able to communicate effectively? Are they respected? 

[00:14:52] Brandon Nye: How do their peers look at them? Those are some of the first things that you would look at. If they meet all those criteria, are they ready from a maturity standpoint to take on where you’re no longer customer-facing? You’re rep facing. Your problems now change from driving revenue to interacting, closing deals, and building strong relationships. It’s assessing whether they can change their mindset along those sorts of things and then giving them grace when they’re going through the process of making that change.

[00:15:25] Brandon Nye: Because hey, it’s all that muscle memory, all the things that they’re used to and the way you speak to your team can be very different from the way you challenge a customer in a capital equipment environment to make them commit to a purchase where it’s do or die at the end of the quarter.

[00:15:41] Brandon Nye: You really have to bring out all of your persuasion capabilities. Leave many of them on the table when dealing with your team daily. Therefore, they trust you long-term. 

Creating a Collaborative Sales Culture

[00:15:53] Colleen Stanley: When you demonstrated that when you have high performers, they’re going to challenge you, in the EQ world, that’s called reality testing.

[00:16:00] Colleen Stanley: That is the reality and if you don’t accept it, you’ll stop resisting it. But the other thing you mentioned there is that you did not get emotionally triggered and used a word called reframe, which is a great way not to get emotionally triggered. This is good because I remember years ago, we had to make this big initiative change and I was flying all over the country to the seven regions and was not getting a good reception, right? 

[00:16:24] Colleen Stanley: So, I’m on the plane with this gentleman, I must have looked dejected, and I was telling him, ‘Well, the reps aren’t real happy about the change and anytime you up a level, nobody’s happy.’ He said, ‘I am really glad to hear they were pushing back’ and I asked him why he said that when people care, they’re still passionate.

[00:16:41] Colleen Stanley: You still have a passionate sales team. If they don’t care, they’re apathetic. So, it’s interesting that you mentioned they will challenge you. Don’t get emotionally triggered by it. It’s a key skill to be a mature person in life. But going back to this, I know you’ve got a concept you shared with Steven and me, and I loved it.

[00:17:01] Colleen Stanley: If you want to expand on it at your team, you don’t have to go it alone. What does that look like at your company, and why did you develop that? 

[00:17:09] Brandon Nye: Our business is pretty tribal, right? The elders teach the young. It’s a spoken-word business where you gain information by picking up the phone and calling somebody who’s done it before you.

[00:17:24] Brandon Nye: That’s been ingrained into the culture of our business and our team. So, when reps try to play hero ball, ‘I don’t need my manager; I’m going to show them that I can do this by myself.’ We don’t reward that behavior.

[00:17:41] Brandon Nye: We’re like, ‘You got the sale, but you didn’t pre-call plan. You didn’t post-call plan.’ We call it game film, right? Come out of a meeting, go back through the game film of the meeting, and ask the questions: What went wrong? Where do we tweak? How can we set this next step up a little bit better? It’s one of those things where going alone is just a recipe for disaster.

[00:18:00] Brandon Nye: You might get lucky but it’s not reproducible and then someone’s development is usually stunted. It’s like the kiss of death when a rep gets a lucky deal early in their career. You’d have to work that hard to get it and then the expectations aren’t there, but the recall planning is a big part of it. 

[00:18:16] Colleen Stanley: I must give you credit. For some reason, you set expectations for the elders because I had many great mentors when I started sales. I can tell you story after story of why that helped me be successful.

[00:18:29] Colleen Stanley: What drove you to install that elder mentality in your sales culture? 

[00:18:35] Brandon Nye: Over time, people move up and live in the environment of paying it forward, right? So, they once called one of the original people within the industry and got advice from them that helped their career.

[00:18:47] Brandon Nye: Now many of these people are in leadership and are in it six to twelve years later, so they’ve just lived it for so many years that it would be audacious not to take a call from a younger person. Furthermore, the people that maybe if you are leading an organization or you’re adopting a team that maybe has some elder salespeople that don’t share those ideas, they get weeded out right as time goes on because we do sell in a team environment and that’s a way to drive incredible performances to make it team-oriented. 

[00:19:16] Steven Rosen: It sounds like that’s part of the culture. 

[00:19:19] Colleen Stanley: Oh, absolutely. 

[00:19:20] Steven Rosen: Does your incentive system play any role in that or in the things you do to encourage that behavior, or is that a cultural decision and this is how we do business here? 

[00:19:32] Brandon Nye: Yeah, there’s a way that we have our comp structure set up in a hierarchy, but it’s more cultural on the behavior. It’s not money-driven. It’s not like the elder gets paid more to take a call from somebody from outside their region.

[00:19:46] Brandon Nye: We win as a company, keeping us in a dominant market position. Therefore, it’s easier for me to sell in my market if you’re selling in your market. We keep our market share and position as the industry leader and share information between teams.

[00:20:05] Brandon Nye: One of the things that we do is we have WhatsApp channels, and our WhatsApp channels will have 50 to 175 people in all different levels of the organization. It might be like, we’ve got an I Care division. One of the I Care chains is insanely active because it’s one of our newer divisions.

[00:20:23] Brandon Nye: The whole company shares all day long, and if anybody says, ‘Hey, I need help with this particular question,’ there are six reps who say, ‘I’m in the car, call me.’ Then, they’ll pick up, and that’s very much how stuff is shared. A newer technology that has come along, which I think has been really, really helpful, is voice notes.

[00:20:44] Brandon Nye: We’ll have reps leave voice notes for five-minute voice notes where it’s like: This is what I ran into. This is what I did. This is how I handled it. This is what the competition’s saying. This is what we’re learning about the industry. It goes into the WhatsApp chat.

[00:20:58] Brandon Nye: People star it so they can go back to competitive information about X, Y, and Z company, and it’s there, it’s living. Another part of having a thriving culture is that it’s always going.

[00:21:10] Brandon Nye: It goes back to when you’re hiring. You do want to warn people, like, ‘Hey, your phone will go off all day and all night. That’s part of this.’ If you have boundaries with your phone, that’s all good, but during working times, it’s going to go off, and you just need to be prepared for it. 

[00:21:23] Steven Rosen: Interesting. Well, those are some great insights into what makes you and your team successful in a highly competitive market, which I know exists.

Conclusion

[00:21:33] Steven Rosen: Colleen, is there anything? No, I’m sure there are many things, but what’s the one thing that resonates most with you regarding what Brandon shared with our audience? Brandon, thank you. I think there are some excellent insights. I have one that maybe I like more than the others. I think there are some really cool things throughout. We all want high-performance organizations. You seem to have figured out the formula or the code to ensure that happens. 

[00:21:56] Colleen Stanley: There are so many good things. I hope people listen to this and re-listen to it, Brandon. But for me, this has just been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

[00:22:05] Colleen Stanley: So, this is probably why it’s resonating. I’m going to use my words, not yours, but you’ve created a community. I think in this day and age of burnout, stress, loneliness, epidemics, all of these things we’re hearing about, I’m not hearing that at your company, and it’s because you’ve set this expectation of sharing collaboration, being an elder, paying it forward.

[00:22:26] Colleen Stanley: I love it because for years I’ve always said it takes a sales village to win and retain business and you are doing that. I don’t see that happening in every culture. So, the fact that he’s built a great community. That’s my big takeaway. 

[00:22:40] Steven Rosen: Terrific. 

[00:22:40] Brandon Nye: One thing worth noting is that it has to be fun too, right? Winning’s always fun, and making money’s fun, but just the day-in and day-out communication should be fun. One thing that just comes to mind, so I don’t know if you’re familiar with stickers. You can create stickers using your pictures. When people get deals, we have where they will take a picture, either of themselves or the machine or whatever, and that will create stickers and people will Photoshop these stickers to have these hilarious things. So it’s exciting. You’ll get the dopamine rush if you get the deal, right?

[00:23:15] Brandon Nye: There will be a sticker of you in this chat with 100 people and everyone congratulating. It’s simple. It costs no money and it drives behavior. It really, really does. So people look forward to the deal picture. Like, that’s their reward for getting the deal.

[00:23:30] Brandon Nye: It’s like, ‘All right, the commission will come, but I cannot wait until I post my selfie to the chat to get the recognition.’ 

[00:23:36] Steven Rosen: Maybe I’ll choose that one cause I do like sending pictures and imagery evokes an emotional response. But for me, Brandon, I understand the nature of your organization cause I’ve worked with companies in that business. Some sell equipment and some sell reusables. But to me, it does start with hiring the right person and the effort and the thought process as to what the right person is which is critical. I know from Colleen, that one of my great takeaways is the non-negotiables.

[00:24:04] Steven Rosen: You want drivers. You want competitive people and we will go out there and make a difference. The funny thing is that it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in; those are skills that the top 20% of people exhibit. But it sounds like you’ve honed in on that being a non-negotiable.

[00:24:22] Steven Rosen: Kudos to you and I wish you ongoing success in your business. Thank you for joining us and sharing so openly today, and thank you for joining our wonderful audience of sales leaders. We hope you gain some really cool insights. I know I did about bridging the gap between knowing what to do and doing it.

[00:24:42] Steven Rosen: Thank you. Have a great day. 

[00:24:44] Colleen Stanley: Thanks, everyone. Thanks, Brandon!

 

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