When Brett Wallace took charge as VP-sales at ZoomInfo last summer, the first thing that jumped out at him was that the company’s sales reps were struggling to hit their monthly numbers. “We were not set up to serve the different market segments in our customer base and, furthermore, there was no sustainable sales plan to help us get ahead of each month,” Wallace said. “While we were closing lots of business, we were in transaction mode and not set up to maximize our market opportunity and add more value to our customers.”
At the end of 2009, as a part of a long-term plan to build a sustainable business, Wallace reorganized ZoomInfo’s sales team according to three customer segments: new business (winning the next set of Zoom clients) and two client groups (one serving existing sales and marketing customers and the other recruiting customers). This allowed the sales team to specialize in their markets and focus on specific parts of the sales process: winning, on-boarding and enriching customers.
“We [now] have a simple process that outlines how our sales team aligns to the customer-buying experience,” Wallace said. The focus on segmentation by market and simplification of the sales process has yielded positive results.
Wallace said that 75% of ZoomInfo’s sales reps have made quota in the last three months compared with 30% at the end of 2009. According to recent reports by CSO Insights and the Aberdeen Group, roughly 52% of sales reps made quota in 2009.
Wallace applauded his sales team. “While it’s important to specialize and organize people, you only see these results if you have a team that is dedicated and inspired to performing at a higher-level,” he said. “The sales reps on this team deserve all of the credit because they are the ones in the trenches delivering these results every day.”
Another crucial element of the plan has been a sharper focus to the hiring of new sales reps. “It’s a fact of business that you are going to lose some folks in a reorganization, and new opportunities may arise in an improving economy. And, that’s ok. But, you better have a process for quickly hiring and ramping talent,” Wallace said.
In addition to recruiting heavily, Wallace created a three-day intensive training program for new hires that features role-plays, sales certifications and tests to ensure new hires ramp up quickly. “As part of the re-organization, we also incented our top reps to act as mentors for our new hires which has accelerated best practice sharing and team ownership for the success of new hires,” Wallace added.