By David Wuensch.
I know of no better company and CEO that excels in these five areas:
- Sales Leadership and Gets the Culture Right
- Gets the Strategy Right
- Gets the People Right
- Gets the Process Right
- Selects and Implements Tools that support the Process, People and Strategy
His two sales leaders, Dan and Bob, graduated from college in 2004 and 2008, and they have been with the company for 14 years and 12 years, respectively this June. Let that soak in for a moment. In a day when millennials jump jobs every few years, Mike has two guys who have been with him over ten years. Bob has ONLY worked for Mike’s company and Dan spent one year in telecom sales before joining Mike’s company and never left.
What is Mike doing right? I observed Mike’s operation a few years back and talked with some of his people recently.
Here is what I heard about the culture at Viachem Inc.:
- “Feels like a family”
- “Work with good people with the same vision to support our suppliers and customers”
- “No corporate hierarchy to get in the way”
- “Always watching and holding accountable without micromanaging”
- “Completely transparent”
It was apparent that his team knows Mike’s vision and understands the company strategy. They are also able to act quickly as a team to quickly update strategies. As COVID-19 became a real issue in the United States, his company pivoted in 48 hours. One Monday, they decided to add chemicals involved in hand sanitizers to their product line. By Wednesday, they had global providers lined up and were taking orders for new and existing customers for chemicals to help them make hand sanitizer. This is an example of what happens with a company that executes in all five areas above.
Mike hires most of his salespeople directly from college. He is confident in his onboarding process. He and his team develop and train them on the Viachem way. They frequently observe and follow up with coaching to develop them. Once a salesperson is fully trained and flying on their own, they are their own boss. They manage their business. Imagine the confidence that salesperson has when they know that Mike, Dan and Bob trust them.
They use contests to help motivate the team and make things fun. His contests can be daily, weekly, or monthly. One example was that he would pay his salespeople a certain amount for every conversation they had with a prospect on a given day and double the amount for the winner.
Mike introduced me to the concept of “Spin to Win” incentives for sales contests a few years back. The “Spin to Win” concept provides varying levels of incentives that salesperson might win for achieving certain objectives.
His salespeople shared that they appreciate their defined sales process. His salespeople commented on how Mike and the team invest in people. Mike dedicates resources to find and qualify leads for his sales team in line with the Sales Development Representative role that was made famous by Aaron Ross in “Predictable Revenue” years ago.
His salespeople sell over the phone, email and social media. His processes allowed his team to move forward through COVID-19 without missing a beat. In fact, with their strategic move toward hand sanitizer chemicals, they are growing significantly while many companies are suffering. Mike and his team are always looking for ways to enhance the process and make it more effective and more efficient.
Mike understands the power of sales tools. His CRM is his company’s lifeblood and a strategic advantage in building partnership with his suppliers. It is another way that Mike invests in his people. Tools help his people be more effective and more efficient.
I am not sure if Mike still has the ping pong table in the office or not, but I could tell that from talking to members of his team, it is a fun and rewarding place to sell.