17 May 2023 |

Introducing the POD Excellence Framework

By Alex Alleyne

Having been a sales leader for an extended period of time alongside coaching thousands of sellers over the years, I have become acutely aware of a huge problem within our space. Simply, a lack of standardized sales and leadership training to enable managers to drive repeatable results for their teams.

I remember taking my first step up into leadership. I was solely relying on the principles I had learned from other sales leaders, books, podcasts and beyond. All of a sudden, I had several sellers with their development in my hands and me having no proven playbook for how to make them successful. 

Time and time again, I would speak to other sales leaders and ask them about how they were prepared to step into a leadership role and I would always hear the same answer “I just had to figure it out”.

For sellers, it’s the opposite, there are tons of systems, frameworks, criteria and methodologies to provide some steer around what excellence looks like. Leaders have never had the same but I am on a mission to change that.

POD Excellence stands for Pipeline, Operational and Deal Excellence. I have systematically broken down each aspect of what it takes for any sales leader to thrive in any given scenario and unified it into the POD Excellence framework.

Over the coming weeks and months, I will be building out the most comprehensive sales leadership programme in history based on the POD Excellenceframework. 

Would you like early access and updates? If so, please respond to this email with the words ‘POD Excellence’ and any context around your leadership journey to date.

To be clear, in the next few Newsletters, I am providing an overview of a few staple concepts that go into the framework as it isn’t possible to deep dive into every aspect.

No Talent, No Results

Pipeline accounts for both your hiring pipeline and revenue pipeline. Let’s start with talent.

Without the ability to hire best in class sales potential, you will never be able to sustain as a sales leader. Hiring the highest potential talent is critical to your ability to drive impactful results and become renowned as a top tier leader.

Hiring the best starts with having well defined criteria for your hires, here is mine, I call it the IDEAH criteria:

Intelligence – I look for people who have speed of thought and an ability to pick up on new concepts quickly, whilst being able to articulate them to others effectively.

Drive – I seek talent who have a chip on their shoulder. Something to prove to themselves and the world that fuels them every morning when they open their eyes.

Experiences – A rich set of trials and tribulations that they have been through during their life. A variety of stories and scenarios which provides them with diversity of thought and perspective.

Adaptability – The world moves at pace, SaaS Sales moves even faster. I look for talent that embrace change, urgency and momentum to enable them to thrive through turbulent times.

Hunger To Learn – I seek out talent who have an unquenchable thirst, desire and appetite for new knowledge that will help them to accelerate their career.

This criteria has underpinned my hiring to date and has never let me down when adhered to closely. One of the bigger challenges is to adhere to the criteria, even when you have a critical hire you need to fill with urgency. 

Never prioritize the need to hire over hiring the right candidate. A mishire will cost you dearly. Take time, do appropriate due diligence and win the marathon versus the sprint.

You may also notice that a large part of the criteria is intrinsic in someone versus seeking out someone with 20 years experience within their role. This is intentional, if you have someone who has a ton of experience without the will and desire to win, you will always be capped.

Time and time again, I witness sellers who have unparalleled drive, dominant within their craft. This is because they take initiative and accountability to learn, develop and grow to realize their potential. Never compromise on the intrinsic characteristics in place of someone who solely has experience. This doesn’t mean experience doesn’t count and have its place, all candidates have a place on the chessboard. Just ensure you make the right hiring decisions for the right reasons versus plugging temporary holes.

Pipeline Pays

With regards to Revenue based Pipeline, there are multiple different facets that go into this. 

The 3 core pillars are based around structure, mastering the math and leveraging incentives.

Structure – It is critical to have dedicated focus time each week for Pipeline Generation activities, this should consist of both a full day and power hours. We start each week with a PG Monday, with a whole day centered around client outreach. Why Monday? It conditions the mind around the importance of PG activity, as it’s the first thing the team is focused on before anything else. Throughout the week, we then sprinkle in PG power hours, which was a concept my directs came up with. This consists of having a dedicated hour at various points throughout the week that are focused on outreach via different channels. For example, you could have a PG power hour focused on video outreach or LinkedIn messaging to get the team rallied behind a unified approach.

Mastering The Math – Knowing your numbers is everything when it comes to being an effective sales leader. Understanding the metrics that define success for your team is critical to the premise of PG Excellence. To be specific, you need to establish how many calls, messages and overall outreach attempts are required for your team to deliver your desired result. This then enables you to set a standard of expectation to hold your team accountable to at the end of each PG Monday and/or PG Power hour.

For example, based on current or historic data, you may unpack that every seller who makes 20 phone calls on average leads to 1 meeting, and it takes 3 meetings per week at your identified closing ratio in order to win a deal. 

This math needs to underpin every aspect of your team KPI’s and the way you hold them accountable to their performance. Team’s need frameworks, standards of excellence and KPI’s in order for them to both meet and exceed the bar of expectation.

Leveraging Incentives – Salespeople are inherently competitive and like to win. Feed into this through gamification or creating competitive spirit amongst your day during PG days/hours. You can do this by creating SPIFFS (prizes for those who achieve a particular outcome) or you could create a points system based on the amount of outreach each seller does. For example, for every 10 phone calls made, they receive 2 points, for every personalized email they send, they receive 1 point. At the end of the day, you tally up the points and the person with the most, wins. By using incentives, you get your team pushing for more, depending on the behaviors and activity levels you want to encourage.

Next Week: Operational Excellence

Having provided an overview of PG Excellence, next week we will move onto a high-level breakdown of driving Operational Excellence as a part of the POD Excellence™ framework. This includes aspects such as vision and mission, driving team meetings and having a clearly defined operating rhythm.