The Future of Sales as a Service
At Uvaro, we’re helping sales professionals land roles at tech companies. We’re seeing, every day, an increase in 100 percent commission roles that seems driven by contingent employment. In this panel discussion, we dig into why that’s happening and more about ‘The Future of: Sales as a Service”!
Be sure to watch the recording above for the full conversation. Below you’ll see our hot take on the biggest takeaways from the session – we’re certain you’ll find it helpful!
Thanks to Our Incredible Panelists
Sahil Mansuri, a Co-Founder CEO of Bravado. It is one of the largest and fastest-growing networks of sales professionals. It’s a network of over 3000 companies and in the network, professionals share sales tips, interview tips, career advice. Log in, sign up at bravado.com for help.
Sonya Meloff, a Co-Founder at the Sales Talent Agency. They’ve placed over 5300 sales professionals they’ve been in this for years they are growing so quickly.
Anil Dharni, a Founder and Investor. He’s CEO at Sense, an employee engagement platform that focuses not on full-time employees but contingent workers.
What contingent work is? How Is It Different From Commission Or Commission Only?
The genesis of this kind actually began when people looked for somebody didn’t show up to work. And how do you augment it, how do you supplement that person. Or replace that person, pretty much in the executive assistance space.
The new growth – It grew to the temp workspace or the gig work reaching I.T professional marketing creative sales.
In sales, there are large organizations that understand their markets. They pretty quickly augment their teams at a scale that is starting to ramp up. Most founders and CEOs, having thought of just starting to get product-market fit. They do it by spinning up one of these outsource contingent teams, typically tend to be disastrous.
The trend -The teams are more mature, they’re looking to more augment that teams. But might not have the budget right away looking for contingent staff. Somebody with a stopgap solution quickly learns and go through the enablement and onboarding to start producing.
Expectation– In these roles, employees tend to expect that they need to produce fast or get fired. It’s a very transactional role. And very transactional relationship versus potentially somebody looking for a long-term career path or career goal.
Are Sales Reps Looking For Role Like This Or Is This Employer Driven?
In the marketplace, people are looking for more security and they want even the companies that they’re joining. They’re asking to see their balance books like, how much money they have in the bank. Some salespeople to take a job are asking for a one-year retainer. And so there is actually a lot of anxiety about switching.
Pros and Cons in Terms of Security
It is the two sides of a market-moving away from each other. For many that’s a risk, for others, it’s an opportunity.
If you can have security that if you perform, it’s actually quite a good thing. But in the candidate market, we are definitely seeing the need for stronger comfort of security of the employment. And that seems to come in the form of tying it to one employer. Those that they feel is confident and can equip them for long-term success. And that they will let go if there’s a second wave.
Is The Idea Of 100 percent Commission Contingent Work Gig Roles?
Salespeople understand that they take a tremendous risk on when they sign up for one employer. Because you just walk in, have no control over, how good the product is. Whether the customer success team is able to deliver in the way that they need to. Whether they’re able to market and generate the right number of leads for you to convert. Also, whether you’re going to spend your whole day kind of cold calling and prospecting. For once, you could supplement a lot of those efforts with conferences and trade shows and stuff. Long time sales reps felt they carry an unfair burden of the risk when they walk into a company. Today, sales reps have started to wake up to one fact. At the end of the day, they’re being held accountable. Accountable to a quota to a number that may not be realistic.
Covid really woke the sales profession up to one fact. Its that the illusion of, if you hit your number then you’re going to be fine, doesn’t really exist. Its because companies made massive layoffs in sales.
Tech CEO – Structuring His Comp and Roles.
The world of being transparent around what the actual performance of the team looks like is essential. Quarter over quarter should be there and transparency of pulling up salesforce reports. Now, sales is becoming a lot more technical and product-driven. It’s becoming a lot more consultative. And the advent of things like G2 Crowd and Capterra and TrustRadius has brought incredible transparency into software purchasing. And so now a sales professional is far more reliant on the product and the marketing of the company. They being great in order to achieve their goals. The role of sales has changed. It’s time for sales professionals internally to be treated as a long-term investment. During the time when making that commitment or go the other way. And give the sales professional the control of their career. And let them sell whichever product they think is right to their customer.
The Idea Of Being Transparent!
Every company should be transparent with how the sales team has performed. What the goals are, what the challenges are, have them meet with other reps on the team. In the transparency of communication, the two types of people that worked straight commission:
- Those that have to, because no one else would hire them. And that was typical back in the day of sales being the accidental profession. What risk is it for a company to hire somebody straight commission potentially?
- Salespeople who chose to go 100 percent commission. The transition happens internally within a company. So a salesperson would have reached a level of success. To the level, they felt that they could earn better working 100 percent commission. And that transition often happened internally first.
On the other hand, there were folks who were not willing to take a full-time role in having tremendous accounts. That seems to be a win as an organization to get a break into. And the person already had the network, already had the relationship, so it was a much faster sales process.
How Do Teams Companies Wanting To Stand Up The Contingent Team Work? Would they go to a deco? What’s that normally look like?
You could go directly to staffing a recruiting firm and hopefully ones that specialize in sales hiring. But it also depends on what kind of role you’re looking for. The more rapid growth is seen in outsourcing. It is either you’re looking to outsource your lead development or your pipeline development. Or you’re looking to outsource your SDR or BDR teams. You might also need a global team. We are seeing less of that push on the sales rep front. It’s not different than bringing on trying to hiring an engineer. The engineer that has expertise in machine learning or artificial intelligence that refuses to join a full-time gig. Because they know they can. Their value is just so much more.
There must be a focus on around 80 to 90 percent of the talent that’s out there. Those can’t demand that kind of constraints or restraints on the company. It’s more important to figure out what are we doing for 80 or 90 percent of talent. Those not in that position. It is good to be as transparent.
How To Prevent Pitching Different Solutions From Different Clients?
In an independent sales agent world, your loyalty is to the customer and the customer’s incentives. In the future of sales as a service, it makes more sense. A company is holding a sales rep accountable to a number and that number is; how many people can you get to say yes to solution A. And instead of a world where the sales rep is accountable to the customer outcome. It’s just the customer having to pick amongst the sales pitch. The sales rep needs to have a choice of which product they will recommend to the customer. The first quality that customers demand from the sales reps that they work with is that they can trust them. And yet only 40 percent of buyers trust salespeople. It actually creates greater accountability in the world. The world in which the sales rep has a choice of which product to recommend.
The idea of being an independent sales rep may give you the benefit. And give the freedom to be a hundred percent aligned to the customers.
How does experienced reps who want to become an independent contractor, rep multiple products? Does it work?
They would pick the products; they want to rep, give the CEOs or the VPs, the channel leaders a call and propose it. Companies are always looking for opportunities. How they can increase their customer base. And if you can present yourself as a good trustworthy option that will have a chance of increasing their revenues. Just start with trying to sell yourself, figuring out the deal and putting together a little package.
The Kind of People Moving Between That Full-Time And Kind Of Contingent Role:
This only happens at the most senior level.
- There are people that are looking to help other sales companies, basically consultants.
- They’re potentially people who actually don’t like to be paid on revenue attainment anymore.
- They actually want consulting gigs that just pay them on an hourly basis. They maybe take some equity from a startup and that’s the better model.
There are some who love all the hunting. Because they see themselves less as running the entire deal. They get to millions of dollars to release that pressure. They have more predictability in their income going forward and then making potentially that switch.
How Can One Aim Their Career?
- Being the voice of the customer is the most important thing in whichever industry.
- Understand Customers’ problems changing all the time with the market, conditions, economy.
- Go into solutions that exist and then help make that connection.
What’s missing in today’s sales compensation world?
Salesperson’s incentive structure should be really closely tied to customer outcomes. It should be really tightly woven with their expertise in being able to make recommendations to their clients. It will really help in the future of sales as a service.
What Companies do Wrong When Bringing Up Sales, Roles, Compensation, And Strategy?
Risk Misrepresenting –
There’s a lot of qualifying, nobody wants to have a quick sale and be done and then leave the customer.
Pushing Salespeople To Think It’s All About The Next Position–
It takes time to be an expert. Most of those outsourced sales companies specialize at the top of the funnel; the researching, the prospecting, the appointment setting that in itself is an area of expertise that takes time.
Days of celebrating the end of the sales process with a signed contract–
Sales is basically responsible for getting the customer through the finish line. Sales take a back seat once the customer is brought on board.
Try and force fit a path to promotions too quickly too fast–
Seeking very quick-wins and if you’re not able to deliver the quick wins you’re out.
Not showing the product. Not actually running the AE teams or somebody who’s looking for a candidate –
You will think you’re going to be comfortable selling something this complex. Nowadays, there are no code products, extremely technical products, very hard to sell and you really need some kind of skill set that will make you really confident and excel at that and help in the future of sales as a service.
Top Take-Aways from the Event
On Whether The Future Of Sales Is A Service And What Does That Look Like.
The world of sales has hit a really unique inflection point right now will and further affect the future of sales as a service. There’s an opportunity to rethink the role. And maybe clear up some of the things that we’ve always wanted to clear up. And also redefine the role. It’s all because of the layoffs that have affected sales. But there are a lot more open questions like, how do I even get started on that exists? Support systems, communities, and networks are going to become so critical.
At Uvaro, it’s amazing to try and create a professional path for sales. More professionalism, more training, more places where you can experiment with new roles. Because there’s like this old adage like no one ever got fired for buying IBM. No one fired for setting up a comp plan with big accelerators and big clawbacks. Even if it isn’t the right thing to do.
On Remembering Or Thinking About We Shouldn’t Celebrate The Signing Of The Contract.
There have been lots of hiring happening especially in the technology world. The role of customer success as sort of the post-sales individual. Not every company is lucky to have customer success where the salesperson doesn’t have to think about after the sale. If we can remember that as a salesperson, you do have a responsibility. You need to ensure that your customer is satisfied, is receiving good value. Getting a return from what was sold to them. Salespeople can take more of a responsibility to do some continuous check-ins. They can really build that relationship. And if there are problems that they’re identified before the call for renewal has to happen.
On Flipping Sales Reps Percentages In Terms Of Security From The Talent Side.
Only 10 percent of sales reps can command that kind of security for their career and in the future of sales as a service. How do we flip that as part of being in this community, helping salespeople? How do we flip that maybe five years, ten years down the line? To where eighty percent of people can feel this secure. Where they can go out and tell a company, hey I do what’s best for my customers. I do best for my expertise, my vertical and you leverage me for your needs. And that’s how we work together.