Learn how you can use technology to scale your sales team from Christopher Fago, Cloud Security Sales Manager of Palo Alto Networks.
In this article:
- About My Guest — Christopher Fago, Cloud Security Sales Manager at Palo Alto Networks
- On Nailing and Scaling Sales Teams
- Secrets to Nailing a Sales Team
- Moving Towards Technology
- Choosing the Right Technology
- The Inbound-Priority-Outbound Sales Model
- Relating Prospecting and High-Volume Dialing Tech
- The Quick Nail and Scale
Sales Team Management | Scale Your Sales Team with Technology
Scaling Definition: A process of building up a sales team by increasing the number of representatives in it.
It’s no secret today that technology has its hands in almost everything. The field of sales is no exception to this.
More and more companies are looking into using technology to optimize their sales teams. Particularly, they want to find out how today’s technology can be used to scale their sales teams.
To help us understand the role of technology in scaling sales teams, we brought on Christopher Fago. He acts as the Cloud Security Sales Manager of Palo Alto Networks.
About My Guest — Christopher Fago, Cloud Security Sales Manager at Palo Alto Networks
Despite having over eight years of sales experience under his belt, Fago didn’t actually start his career in the sales industry. He began his career in the music industry before he found a calling in technology sales a few years later.
He kickstarted his career in sales as a data intern at a healthcare intelligence firm. As the firm’s accounting manager, he spent six years handling renewals and customer service.
In June 2017, he moved to RedLock, a tech company specializing in cloud security and compliance risks. He headed RedLock’s sales development rep (SDR) team and was tasked to handle the go-to-market strategy for the company’s outbound sales.
Fago established a handful of aggressive goals for his team, which they accomplished in a mere 17 months.
As the current sales manager of Palo Alto Networks, he leads his team in detecting and responding to advanced threats made against the company’s cloud security.
On Nailing and Scaling Sales Teams
Before talking about the technology behind scaling sales team, we first asked Fago about his thoughts on scaling a sales team in general. Like us here at XANT, Fago also believes in the saying, “You gotta nail it before you scale it.”
For Fago, it’s important for team leaders to first develop an effective and winning process within a sales team before thinking about scaling it. A leader has to be able to join the team, lay down a stable sales framework, and reap success from that strategy.
Only after certain sales goals have been achieved does Fago consider hiring someone capable of running the sales team of an early stage, Series A startup. When asked to explain his reason behind this kind of thinking, he said, “I’d rather not see someone drown than have to constantly help them swim.”
Secrets to Nailing a Sales Team
Given his eight years of sales experience, we figured to ask Fago for his secrets on how he nails the sales strategy of his team. He mentioned six key things:
1. Talking, Not Selling
Fago highlighted the importance of talking to people instead of selling to them, saying, “In this [sales] industry, people really want to talk to you.” Train your team to refrain from talking to customers from a sales perspective.
Instead, tell them to approach customers from an education and awareness standpoint. When they do, their leads will be willing to strike a genuine conversation with them.
Doing so helps convert conversations with leads into actual sales.
2. Creating Predictable Revenue
Another secret Fago shared in nailing a sales team is to create a strategy that generates predictable revenue. Predictable revenue doesn’t just earn money for your business; it gives your sales reps a tangible goal to work towards.
In the end, generating predictable revenue motivates your reps to work harder, smarter, and better.
3. Prioritizing Your Time
Any good sales team should be able to prioritize their time when doing any sales-related tasks.
Fago cited client calls as an example. As the sales manager at Palo Alto Networks, he made it a policy for client calls to last at most 30 minutes.
In addition to putting a time limit on client calls, he also implemented a policy where reps only schedule a client call when the customers are seriously considering to buy in on the offer.
4. Setting Expectations
Fago mentioned it’s important to train your reps to clearly set expectations with clients during every call, saying, “If anytime they [the client] don’t feel like we’re a good fit or if we don’t feel like they’re [the client] a good fit, we can walk away as friends and not have any hard feelings.”
While it’s important to be clear when setting the client’s expectations, it’s also crucial to do so politely. This way, you can really mean it when you say you want to leave things between the customer and you as friends.
5. Qualifying Your Leads
The problem with sales teams in most startup companies is the reps usually don’t know when to stop. As the sales leader for a startup with limited sources, it’s critical to learn when and how to say no to clients.
Qualify your leads carefully and accommodate clients based on your resources.
6. Sticking to the Process
Once you’ve found a sales strategy that works for your team, do your best to make sure the plan sticks.
Moving Towards Technology
When asked how Fago started moving towards using technology to scale his sales team, he mentioned pondering over two scenarios:
- Interview people to try and scale the team from two to 10
- Ramp up the efforts of two people using technology
After going through a month of rigorous interviewing, he came to the conclusion that the whole process just didn’t feel right. He wasn’t confident he’s found the right people he needed to bolster his current sales team.
Fago was, however, confident in what he can do as well as with the skills of his sales partner. From this interview experience, he realized the benefits of scaling a sales team using technology:
- You save on benefits like PTO, medical, dental, etc.
- More of the commission payout goes to the actual sales team
Choosing the Right Technology
For any company looking to use technology to scale their sales team, here are the two things Fago recommends:
- Engagement platform
- High-volume dialer
Having an engagement platform and high-volume dialer allows a small team to do two to three times the amount of work in one go. The general rule — tech should capture the amount of activity a team of six would be able to churn out.
The Inbound-Priority-Outbound Sales Model
Aside from using technology, Fago also introduced another innovation in his sales strategy at Palo Alto Networks. He squeezed in a new tier in the usual Inbound-Outbound sales model—priority.
The Priority tier is reserved for customers any of his sales reps were able to have a conversation with regardless of their outcome. Fago suggested that having priority ties makes it easy for sales reps to prioritize their tasks.
Relating Prospecting and High-Volume Dialing Tech
While Fago is a firm believer in high-volume dialing technology, he believes it only works if it’s done hand-in-hand with classic and hardcore prospecting.
He stressed the importance of prospecting, saying, “You have to have your list. These tools are worthless without the ability to find the right people to call.”
Once you have a list of real leads, you’ll have the ability to do activities in high volume. It’s only at this point where a high-volume dialer is truly useful.
The Quick Nail and Scale
Wrapping up with Fago, we asked him for snippets we could take home to summarize how other teams can use technology to quickly nail and scale their sales teams:
- Define the top five titles within your sales process
- Build the biggest list of leads as possible
- Cast a wide net by combining manual and tech-driven dialing
- Pick up the phone and get a high-volume dialer
- Develop high sales activity to target a specific audience
Learning how to scale your sales team using technology has a lot of benefits. With the right technology, you can double your sales efforts even if you’re starting out as a small team.
If you’re pondering on adding some tech into your sales strategy, look for the ones that offer a free trial so you can try them without having long-term commitments.
How have you used technology to scale your sales team? Share your strategies with us in the comments section below.