/ Agile Sales

From Cutting Diamonds, To Closing Sales: How Taylor & Hart Run Their Sales Team

Ring-Crafting

This is a guest post from Nikolay Piriankov, CEO & Founder of Taylor & Hart

I first met Dimitar from Heresy just as they were about to go live with the app. Our one-hour meeting before work in the bustling Ozone coffeeshop changed the way I think about sales forever.

As CEO at Taylor & Hart, I've always been selling. I was our very first salesperson and have hired every single salesperson since. While I think of myself as a reasonably good salesperson, I was not entirely sure how I should manage and run our growing sales team. Without a VP Sales or a sales manager, this was becoming a growing concern as our sales team had doubled in size every 12 months for the past two years.

Since our first chat, Dimitar has taken me on several wonderful adventures - from the origins of what motivates us as humans through to the most forward-thinking sales management philosophies (almost always over a flat white in that coffeeshop he seems to love so much).

We tried Heresy, and you know what, at the time it was not the right tool for us. Selling B2C, at the time, meant that we could not quite take advantage of the tool (their target market is B2B). The scrum-style sprints the interface enables don't work for our business, but almost everything else the Heresy app offers, we've internalised and now live by at Taylor & Hart.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

Let's start with organisation of our sales team and sales culture. One of our core values is "teamwork makes the dream work"; a phrase regularly used by one of our sales consultants and now part of our wide team culture. I have always wanted our sales team to be collaborative. Our compensation structure draws 1/3 of the a consultant's bonus from the team target and we hire for people who see and desire the knowledge-sharing and camaraderie benefits that come from working together. Dimitar helped me realise that for the team to work well together, someone in a scrum-master role could really help. I did not realise at the time, but this also gave me a great way of promoting a senior consultant into a leadership position (to test for long-term management potential) without taking the immediate risk of putting them into a management role.

Sales Cadence

Then, let's talk about cadence and burn-up/down charts. Our daily and dashboard reporting lives by burn-up charts. We flipped the more commonly known burn-down chart so that hitting our target would be going up through the cumulative daily goal line (If you don't what or how a burn-up chart can be used in sales read more about this here). Every day, this chart gives us a very real feeling of our momentum and likelihood of hitting month-end targets. I start my day by having a look at the team one, and then dive into the individual ones to spot any early warning signs so I can address them with the relevant team-member before the problem grows. The team love these charts and I believe they have a very powerful psychological effect in terms of how they manage to motivate them.

Forecasting

After looking at performance, I look towards where we're going by looking at our pipeline. The ability to extrapolate a burn-up chart's progress line into a forecast line was an incredible addition to our dashboard. Based on this blog post from the Heresy site, I realised that consultants are sadly quite poor at forecasting their own sales. Simple truths, like how consultants often hang on to leads that should be 'closed lost' made me realise that the best way to forecast accurately would be to rely the most objective data we have.

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Burn-up Chart (demo data)

So, as per the Heresy forecasting system, we look at leads that are stuck in a stage for a period of time longer than the average for a person who buys and we start to discount their likelihood of closing, which affects our forecasts. We also nudge the consultant regarding this lead using Slack and our dashboards. This way, we gain a more accurate forecast and take action to hopefully improve our changes of closing sales with leads that are slipping away.

I continue to believe that Dimitar and the Heresy team are only just touching the surface of how learnings from behavioural science and other disciplines (like how they incorporated the scrum methodology into sales) will disrupt how sales team are managed and run themselves in companies around the world and as always, eagerly anticipate our next sales chat in the basement of Ozone.


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About the author: Nikolay is the Founder and CEO of Taylor & Hart, an award-winning London jeweller specialising in bespoke engagement rings. Nikolay is a serial entrepreneur, mentor at Virgin StartUp and Techstars alumni.