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Creating High-Performing Sales Teams: Q&A with the Five9 Director of Sales Development

Earlier this month, Five9 Director of Sales Development, Kristina McMillan, hosted a webinar where she discussed the 3 pillars that have helped create a high-performing sales development team at Five9: people, technology, and culture. In her presentation, Kristina discussed how Five9 created an efficient process for turning leads into high-value sales opportunities through an innovative approach to hiring, training, coaching, and ultimately, transforming the sales development team into a high-performing unit. At the end of the webinar, Kristina answered a number of fantastic questions. Catch the recap of the Q&A here: Q: What sort of gamification do you use? A: For our team, it's all about fun, friendly competition. Five9 has a Wall of Fame on display, which shows MVPs, all-time records, rep of the month, and more. The team also uses Salesforce dashboards displayed on large monitors to track progress both individually, and for the team as a whole. At times, the team will often be paired up or put in groups to see if there is additional collaboration, learning, or strategy that can be gained by working together -- then I have them compete towards a shared goal.   Q: When/if you find yourself changing policies in your company, what do you feel is the best way to implement them to get both the new people and reps who are tenured with your company on the same page? A: The challenge for the team is often understanding why the changes are happening -- so, transparency is good -- sit down and talk about it with your team. Getting confirmation from reps that they are on board with the new policy or plan is a good first step. The reps seem to be more willing to give it a shot. I measure and iterate on the data to see what's working, and by having a measurement process in place, I can show progress so they can experience improvements with me.   Q: When recruiting do you prefer phone interview screening or an in-person interview? A: For my team, the first interview is always over the phone. Particularly for the role I hire for, our team is telephone based so it makes sense -- It could be different for a field sales team. During the interview, if they don't interest me or capture my attention over the phone, then I have concerns about their ability to do it with a prospect. Phone engagement and how they communicate their ability to drive the conversation over the phone is what I most value.   Q: When you gain new team members, have you found a cohesive way to help them brainstorm for lead and opportunity generation? A: I try to have as many knowledge building sessions as possible so that new reps are not only connected but they are learning from the experiences of the veteran reps. When focusing on a particular topic, we collectively discuss the pros and cons of how we should approach messaging - then we actually role play it over and over to figure out how to handle specific types of questions. Often times, this is how we find the best messaging and approach. I have also found that it's important to create a repository of information that caters to different learning styles, because everyone absorbs information and learns differently.   Q: With agents all over the US how can I build a team culture A: This is one of the challenges our team faces - we have remote reps and we love it because it's often more cost effective to do so or it's just the talent we want. One of the things we look at is how we can connect the remote reps better to the rest of the team, through things like IM, but it really comes back to training and feedback. Early on, new reps listen to other reps on the phone and vice versa, continually giving feedback. It simulates being in the same location and it offers a lot of opportunity for quality interactions from the start. We've found that this approach builds a strong foundation for relationships and connections -- so they have established resources to come back to later with questions.   If you wish to view the entire recorded webinar, complete with this Q&A session, you can view it here.

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