Leadership
June 9, 2022

Sales VP: How Do We Combine Performance and Positivity?

By
Anthony Poyac
VP of Sales at Letsignit
Whether you are a team manager or a top leader in an organization, we all need to deal with a major challenge: learning to balance performance and being positive with our teams.

Over the last 20 years, I have held several different sales manager positions in the tech sector – both in big companies like Microsoft and ADP, and in start-ups. In July 2021, I decided to come on board at Letsignit as VP of Global Sales.

In case you haven’t heard of it: Letsignit is the French market leader in managing email signatures.

These days I head up a sales team of 16 people in EMEA and North America, as the team has doubled in the last six months!

When I first arrived, I was given 4 challenges:

  • To make our approach to sales more professional, with more rigorous methodologies and processes,
  • To provide better business visibility and forecasts,
  • To bring my experiencing in handling large accounts,
  • To incorporate actively chasing business into a strategy which had previously been based 100% on inbound marketing.

The idea behind all this was to meet two objectives:

  1. To consolidate our position as leader in France (winning over new key accounts),
  2. To significantly strengthen our position in the U.S.

You’ll agree that this is a real challenge, which also comes with its fair share of pressure. You’ll also need to be able to filter that pressure to get the best out of your team.

The first challenge of a sales manager:
meeting the predetermined targets.

As VP of Sales at Letsignit, the company is of course relying on my team to meet its ARR objectives (annual recurring revenue: the measurement of software-as-a-service or SaaS companies). This commercial success is fundamental for the business, because it ultimately assures its future.

In order to hit these targets, I often say that we need to combine three elements:

  • Methodology,
  • Creativity,
  • Adaptability.

In a context of sales of key accounts, as is the case with Letsignit, we’re working on complex deals that require a degree of patience. Yet the VP of Sales and their team live with pressure on figures every quarter, every month.

So, it’s my role as VP of sales to know how to handle that pressure.

On one hand, I need to make sure that I put the right level of pressure on my team members (you know, the positive kind of pressure that allows us to smash our targets).

On the other hand, I need to adjust the level of this pressure just right for each salesperson because they will react differently.

The second challenge:
create a positive atmosphere

Over the last few years, we’ve heard a lot, and rightfully so, about well-being at work, and even more so since COVID. As VP of sales, I also need to work with a new model: the hybrid work (home office / office).

What’s more, the labor market candidates for sales in tech has been admittedly tough for the last few years. Therefore, at Letsignit, we’ve created the option for sales teams to work remotely two days a week.

It’s vital to consider new work methods and the preferences of team members while providing a positive work environment that will make them want to go the extra mile for the company—and above all, make them want to stay with us.

Naturally, this involves a positive culture.

If you manage to create a genuinely positive atmosphere, your employees will feel fulfilled. And I must insist on the genuine aspect of positivity, in order to avoid what is sometimes called nepotism.

As managers, our job is not simply to make our team members happy. We also need to make sure that we provide the best conditions so they can find fulfillment in their work. That’s how I define a positive atmosphere.

As managers, our job is not simply to make our team members happy. We also need to make sure that we provide the best conditions, so they can find fulfillment in their work. That’s how I define a positive atmosphere.

My 20 years in managing sales teams has led me to draw one very simple conclusion: when teams feel good, they perform better.

Indisputably, both elements are vital. The problem is… they seem to be pretty paradoxical.

Performance and positivity: two concepts that don’t mix?

When you bring both challenges together, you run into the following questions:

  • Is it possible to get the best performance out of people in a climate of positivity?
  • Can you get the best combined performance from a team without a certain level of pressure?
  • Does positivity always have to go hand-in-hand with laxism?
  • Is it realistic to think that we can protect our employees from all pressure?

We could ask ourselves questions like this for hours and hours…

To help you to better deal with these questions, I’d like to present some of the things I’ve introduced to you and take the opportunity to debate them with you.

Training to defuse the negative pressure of performance data.

In order to be profitable, and above all to grow, a company must make some investments. It’s clear that nearly all investors expect a return. As a manager, you need to learn to manage this pressure that filters down from top management or investors.

The first thing I learned is how to absorb this pressure myself.

But I also need to openly explain these issues to my team. Collective pressure is healthier because people then better understand why they need to meet their commitments. The best people will be able to transform this pressure into motivation.

It’s also my role to make sure that the whole team has a healthy and motivating environment. How do you accomplish that?

And it is also my role to put the whole team in a healthy and motivating environment. How do you accomplish that?

By sharing successes to create a positive sales momentum!

I know sales inside out. It consists of typically little day-to-day victories that feel perfect: a lead who gets back to us (at last), managing to secure a strategic meeting, and so on. Some successes are bigger than others, like getting a new client or closing on a big deal. But it’s important to celebrate each of our successes.

Team building is key.

By spending time with the whole team, we create a rewarding climate. At Letsignit, we work on several levels to maintain this environment:

On a company level:

  • Two annual kick-off days for all departments mean that the strategy and direction chosen for the company are shared uniformly with everyone. This is all about empowerment, to encourage people to work together.
  • In the same vein, but much more frequently as they are monthly, we organize what we call #wefeedback. The idea behind this is to share with all team members from all departments: strategic business and product vision, monthly results, investments made in each department, and problems encountered.

The purpose of these two campaigns is to ensure that everyone is aligned when it comes to strategy, and to share news about our results so that everyone remains aware of what is at stake and how interconnected we are.

No product = no sales.

No sales = no clients.

No clients = no product.

On the sales team:

  • Monthly meetings with the whole commercial division allow us to share our successes, best practices, and feedback. This is all about motivation, and the goal is to create a positive group vibe.
  • Along with these monthly interdepartmental meetings, another meeting has become essential to managing the sales team: the monthly sales/marketing meet.

Even though the relationship between marketing and sales is often thought of as conflictual, at Letsignit, alignment of sales and marketing is at the very heart of our growth. More than just meetings to review stats, they allow the marketing team to share upcoming campaigns, review current campaigns, and note feedback from the sales team on campaigns that have ended.

This feedback is highly valuable as it ultimately enables us to drive campaigns with a more critical eye and deal with new incoming leads more effectively.

On an individual level:

  • Weekly follow-up to measure overall well-being,
  • Follow-up of current business topics,
  • Discussing of future prospects.

Pretty well organized, huh? Yet individual success of an employee is not automatic.

There’s more to life than figures

First and foremost, bear in mind that figures are not the only indicator of the success of a company, as our CEO Damien Neyret explains in his recent editorial on the (real) backstage of Letsignit.

Although we need to remember the vital importance of reaching our objectives, if some members of the team find themselves in a position of failure, it’s essential that we don’t forget to deal with that positively.

And I mean genuine positivity, based on honesty, understanding, and leniency.

When employees don’t meet expectations, we need to sit down with them and analyze the reasons: analyze their approach and identify any potential gaps in skills. If the sales team members don't search for answers, and then we bring our analyses together, we can often overcome the difficulties they have—whether they involve figures or not.

A positive approach must help the sales team members to move from a situation of failure to one of success.

So, we have clearly established that a positive approach is a necessary trait for managing situations of failure. I believe it’s also an excellent trait to get the most out of situations of success, too. I think of a positive approach as not just a foil to setbacks, but above all, an ability to bring out the best potential in everyone.

After all, isn’t that the ambition of any team manager or leader?

About the author
Anthony is the VP of Sales at Letsignit. As a mentor to the sales team, he does everything in his power to contribute to the company's development on a national and international level. For over 3 years, he has spared no effort to enable salespeople to thrive in their work and achieve their goals. Accessible, he makes sure to create proximity with his teams and regularly visits our dear American collaborators! Aware that our salespeople love challenges, Anthony frequently organizes culture quizzes and blind tests. An effective way to get them in shape before a meeting!
About Letsignit
With Letsignit email signature manager, connect with your audience in a way that's on-brand and personal, while driving quality lead generation.
Frequently
asked questions
1
Is it possible to track the number of clicks on email signatures?

Yes, with the 'Campaigns' offer, it is possible to track the number of clicks on the email signatures of all your employees in the 'Statistics' area of the platform.

You can then access a detailed or global view of the number of clicks on the email signatures of each employee. You can use the search option to target a specific signature or a given period. Finally, you have the possibility to export all statistics to an Excel document.

If you launch campaigns with banners inserted in your email signatures, you can also access their performance via this same space.

2
Can we add links to social networks, our website, and appointment-setting applications such as Calendly?

With Letsignit, you can easily add social network icons in your collaborators' email signatures and link to your company pages. Also, our "attributes" feature allows you to manage personalized URLs for each of your collaborators such as their individual LinkedIn profile.

And that's not all: you can add links to an appointment-setting application, allow your customers to leave reviews easily, and integrate our 'Chat on Teams' widget to let anyone start a discussion via Microsoft Teams chat.

3
Can employees update their signature information themselves (number, function, etc.)?

It’s up to you! As an administrator of the Letsignit platform, you choose whether or not to grant modification rights to your employees. These permissions are managed on an attribute-by-attribute basis, which means that you can decide to allow the employee to change their phone number, but not the address of your premises, for example.

This feature applies to all attributes in your directory, including custom attributes created on Letsignit. When your employees change one or more attributes, your directory is obviously not affected.

4
Why it is important to standardize our email signatures on a large scale to ensure our identity and brand image?

It often happens that employees make their email signature their own: custom format, bad fonts, colors inconsistent with the brand standards... all of this has an impact on your brand!

A consistent visual identity is considered authentic and outperforms a perceived weak one by 20%. And, your customers are 2.4 times more likely to buy your products.

With Letsignit, take back control over your brand identity by standardizing all your email signatures. Our tool has many features that allow you to customize your signatures by department, by audience or by subsidiary. Not to mention the possibility of carrying out campaigns within your email signatures thanks to our Campaign offer.

5
What is the user experience like for our employees?

What is the user experience like for our employees?

  • If you opt for the Letsignit Add-in for Outlook, they will have a dedicated space in their Outlook account where they will be able to view the signatures and campaigns assigned to them.
  • If you opt for the Letsignit Desktop APP, they will be able to preview all their signatures and campaigns in this space. If they want to change their default signature to another one when sending an email, this will be done in their signature library in Outlook.

In both cases:

  • They preview their signature before sending an email and choose from signatures assigned to them.
  • Based on the permissions granted, they will also be able to modify their personal information such as their name, position, or address in these spaces.

In short, they have autonomy in their email signature, but you keep control on the field, signatures, and banners they can edit or use.

6
Can my employees have multiple signatures available to them?

With our "multi-signature" feature, your employees can benefit from multiple email signatures. No technical manipulation is required. Thanks to our Add-in for Outlook or the desktop app, they can change their email signatures as they wish with just a few clicks.

Regarding the creation of email signatures, you can make several variations such as:

Everything has been thought of to go further in the personalization process based on the recipient of your emails.

7
Regarding “Green IT,” have you implemented measures to limit the digital footprint of email signatures?

If sending emails has an impact, non-optimized email signatures also have an impact. An unsuitable format or an image that is too heavy considerably increases the size of your signatures... and therefore, your emails.

As a responsible economic actor, we contribute to reducing our CO2 emissions and those of our customers in several ways:

  • Optimization of the weight of signatures and campaigns in emails.
  • Green features: lightening of signatures during response/transfer emails, possibility of not embedding images, implementation of lighter signatures for internal exchanges.
  • Integration of a 'Switch to Teams' widget to encourage your employees to continue their exchanges via chat, rather than email.

As we are increasingly involved in sustainability initiatives, our priority in 2023 is to develop even more green IT functionality.

8
Regarding “Green IT,” have you implemented measures to limit the digital footprint of email signatures?

If sending emails has an impact, non-optimized email signatures also have an impact. An unsuitable format or an image that is too heavy considerably increases the size of your signatures... and therefore, your emails.

As a responsible economic actor, we contribute to reducing our CO2 emissions and those of our customers in several ways:

  • Optimization of the weight of signatures and campaigns in emails.
  • Green features: lightening of signatures during response/transfer emails, possibility of not embedding images, implementation of lighter signatures for internal exchanges.
  • Integration of a 'Switch to Teams' widget to encourage your employees to continue their exchanges via chat, rather than email.

As we are increasingly involved in sustainability initiatives, our priority in 2023 is to develop even more green IT functionality.

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