Accelerate Podcast with Andy Paul
February 11, 2017

How To Hire and Coach the Best Sales Professionals. With Ken Thoreson. #379

Joining me once again on this episode of Accelerate! is my guest Ken Thoreson, President of Acumen Management Group, and author of several books on sales, sales management, hiring, and personal development. Ken’s latest book is, SLAMMED!!! For the First Time Sales Manager.


[1:01] Acumen Management was started 19 years ago, focused on strengthening sales management, through workshops, blogs, and books, around leading an organization, sales compensation planning, and hiring a high-performance team.

[2:16] Sales managers are often promoted from sales, with no management training. They have a list of management responsibilities, but continue to stick to sales activities, don’t set priorities, and fail to create business and sales plans.

[4:20] The biggest challenge facing sales managers today is their inability to build a process, so they can focus on the execution. Most organizations have poor sales execution.

[5:45] Ken quotes Butch Jones, Football Coach, U of Tennessee, “Every player does not give 110% every day; it’s the coach’s job to increase their intensity and the effort they give.” Coach to align the soul of the individual with the goal of the company.

[6:44] Salespeople need to believe in the company, in the product or service, and in how they can impact their clients. The sales manager needs stories, with real examples of people being helped. Salespeople leave if they don’t believe.

[11:09] “Don’t swing at the first pitch.” If you mis-hire, it costs four times what you paid in salary.

[16:09] Build the right candidate profile, and involve other managers, people in the sales team, and maybe customers, in the choice.

[19:21] Look at your product or service, the client you need to influence, who you want to have approaching them, and what kind of training they will need. You may hire a non-salesperson with product expertise.

[21:50] Assessments are a tool, and they should be more of an indicator, than a screen. Testing is essential. An interview is no place for trust. Let the candidate give a presentation, write a pitch on your product, or be tested in a social situation.

[26:36] Hire slow; fire fast. Take everyone through the hiring process. Do not skip a step. Just like the sales process, it’s there to qualify the candidate.

[27:58] Ken gives sample interview questions, and the reasons for them.

[30:34] Ken recommends clients start a book club, and discuss the book for 15 minutes in every weekly sales meeting. Andy mentions his 15-minute daily reading program for clients.

January 20, 2017

How to Build and Manage Distributed Sales Teams. With Bridget Gleason. #360

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my very special guest, Bridget Gleason. On this week’s episode, Bridget and I discuss, among other topics, how she is hiring a sales team for her new position of V.P. of Sales at, how to accommodate account executives with relocation issues, and how complex sales need a complex infrastructure.


[3:04] Bridget’s new job of V.P. of Sales at has her looking for technical account executives in the Boston and
San Francisco areas. Her contact information is below!

[3:51] Bridget is, once again, setting up a sales organization from scratch. Challenge number one is time and geography. Her company is a startup, based in Tel Aviv, 10 hours ahead of San Francisco and seven hours ahead of Boston.

[4:56] Learning how to set up and manage distributed teams in a global market is something we will all have to learn to do well.

[7:53] The sales model Bridget is building, is an inside/hybrid role. There will be an SDR team, helping filter inbound and making outbound. There will be account executives, with some experience in SMB mid-market, looking to grow their careers.

[10:18] The biggest challenge of remote management is where people are located, vs. where they are needed.

[13:44] Great employees are requiring flexibility on where to live. Can they be accommodated and still cohere into a team?

[16:04] Bridget looks for people who are self-directed, motivated, smart, and curious, and who have integrity, that have some affinity for technology.

[17:10] Andy looks for big-picture ‘systems thinkers,’ for the kind of sales role under discussion. He looks at what they have done so far, and he asks them probing questions.

[20:26] In Bridget’s view, there is one team — not a U.S. team, and a Tel Aviv team. She looks for team-oriented people.

[22:03] Andy describes a $1B company that does not have a sales function. They have project teams that sell. That team mentality and cooperation are needed for complex deals.

December 16, 2016

Hiring, Firing and Knowing When to Leave. With Bridget Gleason. #332

Welcome to another Front Line Friday with my remarkable guest, Bridget Gleason. On this week’s episode, Bridget and I discuss, among other topics, employment-related questions people have asked Bridget, the sales team characteristics of companies in different stages of growth, whether personal growth or employment stability is more important to a sales professional, and how a manager should make the decision to terminate an underperforming rep.

September 15, 2016

How to Quickly Ramp-up New Sales Reps. With Scott Miller. #254

Scott Miller is founder and CEO of, a plug-in, designed to improve close rates and shorten the ramp-up time for new sales reps. Join us now as we discuss some best practices in quickly ramping-up the productivity of new sales reps, the concept of peer-to-peer selling, the importance of having a repertoire of win-stories, and the self-directed framework. Be sure to listen now!

September 9, 2016

How Sales Reps Should Prepare For A Sales Interview. With Bridget Gleason. #249

This week on Front Line Friday, Bridget Gleason and I discuss how to prepare for a sales interview as a job candidate. How much research should a sales rep do? What questions should you be prepared to answer? What are some of the curveball questions that might get thrown at you? We also talk about paying attention to detail, including whether you should cover tattoos for an interview. Make this episode your first step to prep as a sales rep!

August 18, 2016

How to Hire The Best Sales Candidates. With Steve Waterhouse. #230

Steve Waterhouse is founder and president of Predictive Results, and author of The Team Selling Solution: Creating and Managing Teams That Win the Complex Sale.

In this episode, Steve shares the series of assessment tools he has developed to help managers hire the best people. Among the many topics Steve and I cover are what it means to hire the best, how to identify, interview, screen and hire sales candidates who can become top performers, and how to actually test and verify the qualifications of sales candidates.

July 1, 2016

Hiring Specialists vs Generalists. With Bridget Gleason. #190

My regular guest on Front Line Friday is Bridget Gleason, VP of Corporate Sales for SumoLogic. In this episode, Bridget interviews me, asking questions ranging from how to hire the right salespeople to how you can deliver the value that helps prospects make the decision to buy from you. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • Why the future belongs to people with specialized knowledge rather than the generalist.
  • What’s the one question a customer will never ask?
  • How to add value to a sales conversation.
May 25, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 163 with Tony Alessandra. Creating “A” Players From “B” Sales Reps

Tony Alessandra is the founder of Assessments 24×7, a world-renowned keynote speaker and the author of many books, including The Platinum Rule: Discover the Four Basic Business Personalities and How They Can Lead You to Success.

He teaches how create instant rapport with prospects; how to convert prospects and customers into business apostles who will “preach the gospel” about your company and products; and how to out-market, out-sell and out-service the competition. In this episode, Tony discusses the four basic buyer behavioral styles and how sales reps can use this knowledge to align their selling with the needs of their prospects. Among the topics we discuss are:

  • How sales reps can overcome the common mental roadblocks that are blocking their success.
  • The fundamentals of the DISC Relationship Formula.
  • What do really good sales people do differently that helps them succeed?
  • Steps you can take to transform B sales reps into A players.
  • How to use personality assessments to build a great sales team.
May 13, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 155 with Bridget Gleason. Why You Need to Hire More Women in Sales

My regular guest on Front Line Friday is Bridget Gleason, VP of Corporate Sales for SumoLogic. In today’s episode, Bridget and I discuss a number of topics including:

  • Why you need to hire more women into sales roles.
  • How to create the right environment to help women succeed in sales.
  • The traits that enable women sales reps to outperform their male counterparts.
  • How to avoid the typical end of quarter end craziness.
  • How to smooth out your pipeline to avoid the proverbial hockey stick effect.

Be sure to join us for this information-packed episode!

April 8, 2016

On Accelerate! Now: Episode 130 with Bridget Gleason. It’s Bridget’s Turn To Ask Me Questions!

My regular guest on Front Line Friday is Bridget Gleason, VP of Corporate Sales for SumoLogic. In this episode, Bridget turns the tables on me and becomes the interviewer. It’s her turn to ask me the tough questions. Be sure to join us for this information packed episode as we dig deep into a number of topics including:

  • What is the biggest sales issue small and mid-sized enterprises?
  • How should sales leaders develop a candidate profile that will increase hiring success?
  • Which questions should managers be asking about sales performance and productivity, but aren’t?
  • Do sales automation tools really increase rep productivity?