“Don’t be a wet monkey!”
This was the advice that Chris Papdakis of Courion, speaking at Apttus Accelerate 2016, used to start his presentation at on successfully building a sales team. Although a bit confusing and eye-catching at first, this off beat quote has definitely become a phrase to live by, at least once Chris had explained what a wet monkey was.
According to Papdakis, an experiment was once created, during which four monkeys were held in a cage with ladders leading up to dangling bananas. Once the monkeys were released into the cage, they each directly proceeded to climb a ladder to reach the bananas. However, once a monkey got close enough to grab a banana they would get sprayed with a hose (monkeys detest water). After their second try (and second spray), none of the monkeys attempted to climb the dreaded ladder.
In the second part of the experiment, one of the four wet monkeys was replaced with a dry monkey, who immediately attempted to climb the ladder. However, once this new, dry monkey started to climb, it was pulled off and beat by the other 3 monkeys. The researches continued to remove the wet monkeys one by one and replace them with a dry ones, but each time the new monkey was pulled off the ladder and beat up. This continued even when all the wet monkeys had been replaced by dry ones. The wet monkeys had convinced the dry monkeys (which had never been sprayed with the hose) not to climb the ladder. Moral of the Story: instinct states that one doesn’t need to have the experience to continue the older methods.
How to build your sales team
Step 1: Make a Plan
The first step in creating a sales team is to make a plan. To do this you must first prioritize what needs to be accomplished. This can be the trickiest step as everything may seem like a priority. To help narrow down it might be helpful to use the air, water, food model, or what can you not live without. These priorities can be pipeline management, clean data, moral of the sales team; anything the manager deems necessary. In addition, it will be necessary to establish deadlines, which will help create trust within your team.
Step 2: Engage People
The second step in building a successful sales team is to engage your salespeople through things like sales enablement. When building a new team, make sure that you are always present for conversations; not just physically present, but mentally as well. You know the old “No taxation without representation” right? To successfully engage those around you, the sales manager must make an effort to communicate with them. Sales reps (and people in general) want to know they have a say. Which is why, albeit sometimes annoying, you should over communicate with your new team. Over communication will not only ensure that everyone is on the same page, but communicates to your team that you are on top of things.
Step 3: Act Quickly
Lastly, a sales leader must act quickly if they want to establish an effective sales team. Don’t rush, as sometimes you may need to slow down to eventually go quicker on a later date, but make sure you are being as efficient as possible. To act quickly, a manager must be able to make decisions and prioritize in the least amount of time possible.
At the end of the day, don’t be a “wet monkey.” Keep an open mind, and follow Chris’s steps to ensure that you have a functional and efficient sales team.