The Art of Scaling Sales Teams: Winning in the Workplace With Battle-Tested Strategies
I am Matthew Ryder. I was a member of Special Operations in the military. Now I’m CEO of the 7th Level Group, which consists of 7th Level Sales Coaching, Sniper Media, and Sales Sniper.
The transition from the military to the civilian business world was a challenge – sometimes difficult, but ultimately rewarding. Now, I’d like to share where my journey has taken me – so far.
As a Special Ops member, my tactical approach to problem-solving was honed in the white heat of the battlefield. This approach now serves as the guiding principle of my business operations.
Upon leaving the military, my expertise lay in four major areas: Long range shooting, battlefield medicine, enduring pain, and figuring stuff out fast. While most of these skills were not marketable, the latter two proved valuable. I learnt this when I found myself using the principles of process planning and management learned in special operations to navigate my businesses.
‘You have to live like most can’t so you can live like most will never.’
Businesses sell things. Sales is dynamic; so you need to problem-solve fast and effectively. And building a business can be tough. To succeed, you may have to live without immediate rewards, and forgo the easy life. You have to live like most can’t so you can live like most will never.
I’m frequently asked about the problem-solving strategies I deploy to very large sales teams and businesses. One concept I adapted for business from my military days is the OODA Loop. The acronym stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. A decision-making process typically used in combat operations, I modified it into a nine-stage process to grow my businesses.
The adapted OODA stages are industry and enterprise agnostic. They comprise simple, strategic processes used for everything from military operations to running businesses of any size.
Observe: Look forward
Stage One comprises a planning session in which we identify goals and map out corporate strategies. I like to use a rollout presentation with set talking points.
Stage Two involves budgets and forecasts. We estimate the financial resources required to achieve our goals, and the potential ROI over 12 individual months product by product.
Orient: Pick the direction
Stage Three of my adapted OODA is all about MIND (Most Important Number Drivers). We focus on key numbers that will drive business success. Here’s an example MIND schematic.
Stage Four involves identifying KPIs to measure progress towards business goals.
Decide: Project planning
In Stage Five, we review Work in Progress (WIP) reports to assess the progress of ongoing projects. A weekly WIP with my team will tend to last about an hour. We keep it focussed. I like to use this template as a framework for our WIP meetings. We rotate in weekly innovation meetings when my execs pitch me ideas. I encourage people to develop the ideas I like.
We employ a constructive feedback agenda. I enable all unspoken conflict to surface. This stops issues becoming problems – another useful MO I learnt in the military.
We use WIP Reports. I get a weekly summary of all WIPS, and end of month reports.
Stage Five also includes weekly ‘all hands’ executive meetings – again using an agreed agenda.
We have daily EA meetings – 15 mins to go over emails, contracts, staff requests etc. Again I keep it structured by using a set schedule. The EA tells everyone when I’ll respond to emails etc. Everything is put into focus. If I don’t get it done now I park it, or it gets moved and the person is informed accordingly. Here’s a great book called CEO Secret weapon on how to use EAs.
Stage Six is all about Resource Planning: We decide what resources are needed, and when.
Stage Seven involves streamlining communications and ensuring everyone’s on the same page.
Stage Eight covers Ways of Work, Documentation, and Compliance: Ensuring the team is operating consistently, recording necessary information, and adhering to regulations.
Stage Nine is an AAR (After Action Review): Reflecting on what was done, what could be improved, and how to do better next time. After events or ‘sprints’ we conduct an ‘after action’ review. I’ve found AARs to be essential to improving continually and not repeating mistakes.
The Journey is the Destination
The military taught me a lot about empathy, detachment, pragmatism, self-discipline, deep-focus and oddly enough, the importance of process documentation! As the military axiom goes, “If you are going to do something twice, then for God’s sake have a process and write it down.”
If this overview of what I do and how I’ve come to do it was helpful, I would be glad to talk more about how my approach is implemented in our sales, marketing, and other departments.
Every business battlefield is different, but a robust, adaptable strategy is always a great weapon in the arsenal of a successful leader. Like yours, my journey is a WIP. I hope it always will be.