Jerry Brooner, President, Global Field Operations at Enable is what you call a seasoned SaaS enterprise executive.
Stints at Dropbox, SAP, and Oracle had had him build and lead high-growth revenue teams focused on growth, sales, and customer success. Over the course of his career, Jerry has learned that leading a winning sales organization can be distilled into three phases:
- Talent development
- And leading by example.
Jerry sat down with Trinity Nguyen, VP, Marketing, UserGems to share his leadership toolkit for leading B2B sales organizations.
Editor’s note: The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.
When it comes to scaling successfully, Brooner has two rules: clarity and simplicity.
Doing it well starts with the training methods. To grow quickly, you have to be able to onboard quickly with the least amount of variation. “If you’re going to scale or if you’re going to teach anybody anything, you have to be clear, easy to follow, and super simple,” says Brooner.
Consistency begins with a standardized, structured onboarding process that you can replicate easily. That way, you ensure new employees receive a thorough orientation.
“Once you get hired, you get a screenshot of your first two weeks, every day, by the hour, what you’re doing and what is expected of you. Every single person that comes into our organization goes through it. After that, they get another one for two weeks. Their first month is scripted. Consistent, simple, easy to follow. Everybody does it,” he explains.
During the pandemic, Enable pivoted quickly to virtual training and avoided the disruption felt by other firms. “There’s nothing better than coaching one-on-one in person – but what I think the pandemic taught me is you can utilize both. What virtual has really done is we’re able to do training more often and we’re able to get to everybody versus scheduling them to fly in,” Brooner continues.
Finally, creating two-way feedback at all levels of the organization builds trust, respect, and provides a pathway for growth. “But it has to be immediate. It has to be both ways. You have to ask for it and you have to provide it as well.”
Talent development is key
The biggest obstacle in a fast-growth company is finding talent.
Companies often overlook the opportunity to develop talent instead of just hiring new ones. “Developing talent is a whole lot faster and whole lot better long-term for your company than hiring someone from the outside whom you need to train all over.”
“Most companies have a product roadmap, a customer expansion plan, but lack an ideal employee profile with skills, traits, background, and values. It’s really hard to hire and develop talent if you don’t have a very specific idea of what you’re looking for, and what works best for your company,” says Brooner.
“All companies come with a mission and a vision. I would hire people to match that. I can teach methodology. I can teach product. I can teach how to build a pipeline. What I can’t teach someone is hustle, passion, the vision of our company, grit,” he continues.
Each Enable employee has a roadmap for achieving their goals within the organization. And while these goals may change, the process of mentoring, leadership review, and feedback on strengths, weaknesses, and options need continual, personal attention of hands-on leaders.
“We have a template that we follow, areas for improvement, long-term, five years, short-term, one year, how they want to get there, what they might want to do.” He says, “You can’t possibly help anybody or support anyone if you don’t know them well enough to know what they want to do this year or next year or beyond.”
Lead by example
Leading by example is the code Brooner lives by.
For him, the leader must personally demonstrate commitment to the vision, mission, and values ingrained at the core of the company. “I know that as a leader, every action I do or don’t do is not just watched by my team or my company, but by everyone in the market.”
“I often see a lot of leaders say, ‘Hey, this is the responsibility of HR. The development of a team is the number one responsibility of every leader. How your team performs and their development,” says Brooner.