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What are Your Sales Team’s Standards of Performance?

3 min read
Updated Oct. 18, 2023
Published Oct. 24, 2016

When approaching the topic of team transformations, no better name comes to mind than Bill Walsh. Former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Walsh took a team that practically crawled their way out of a losing season in his first year of coaching, and transformed it into a three-time Super Bowl Championship winning team by the end of his tenure.

But how did he do it? Was it epic strategy? Masterful drafting? Brute force? The truth is, Walsh’s leadership legacy was his list of seventeen Standards of Performance. The thing is, it wasn’t all about drilling plays and running overtime at practice for Walsh. Sure, he instilled a strong work ethic among his team, but it was about more than that. Walsh’s devotion to the standards behind the work — the core value system that drove him and his team — was the true motivator behind the team’s rise to success.

A few months back, Salesloft Cofounders Rob Forman and Kyle Porter brought these Standards of Performance to our team. As a sales organization, we aren’t a whole lot different than an athletic organization. Both require exceptional team building, strategic playbooks, and steadfast coaching, and, above all else, a value system in place to deliver the best strategies from the top down.

Rob challenged each of us to tape Walsh’s Standards of Performance somewhere on our desk, so I’m taping them up right here, on the Salesloft wall of blog posts:

  1. Exhibit a ferocious and intelligently applied work ethic directed at continual improvement.
  2. Demonstrate respect for each person in the organization.
  3. Be deeply committed to learning and teaching.
  4. Be fair.
  5. Demonstrate character.
  6. Honor the direct connection between details and improvement, relentlessly seek the latter.
  7. Show self-control, especially under pressure.
  8. Demonstrate and prize loyalty.
  9. Use positive language and have a positive attitude.
  10. Take pride in my effort as an entity separate from the result of that effort.
  11. Be willing to go the extra distance for the organization.
  12. Deal appropriately with victory and defeat, adulation and humiliation.
  13. Promote internal communication that is both open and substantive.
  14. Seek poise in myself and those I lead.
  15. Put the team’s welfare and priorities ahead of my own.
  16. Maintain an ongoing level of concentration and focus that is abnormally high.
  17. Make sacrifice and commitment the organization’s trademark.

Now, we have our own set of core values here at Salesloft — positive, supportive, self-starting, open, empathetic, and exceptional — so nothing says you have to ride or die bye these specific standards. In fact, I encourage you to look at your team today and think of the standards you, as modern sales leaders, see taking your organization to the next level.

“As a business leader, culture is the only thing you have complete control over within your company,” says Kyle Porter, “Markets change, technologies change, and industry landscapes change — but who you hire and who you manage out, and the standards by which you do these things, is under your control. Who you promote, who you coach and who you reward determines your overall culture.”

“This is what makes up your company and this is the sustainable advantage of a modern culture in the cloud.” -Kyle Porter

This next quarter, take some time to evaluate your team’s culture and the Standards of Performance you choose to function by as an organization. Be it Bill Walsh’s list, or a list of your own, give purpose to your work as a group, and success will surely follow.