Eleven Important Lessons From Salesforce's Most Successful Salesman

A little-known man named David Rudnitsky is credited for kicking off Salesforce's success in the enterprise space which eventually led the software-as-a-service company to the US$50 billion business it is today. Rudnitsky left an indelible impression on the company and its CEO Marc Benioff as he used 11 rules to guide him on how to do business. He is still the most successful salesman to have ever worked at Salesforce. Here are his tips.

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In his book, Behind the Cloud, detailing the history of Salesforce, Benioff collectively dubbed the 11 lessons "The Rudnitsky Playbook". Legend has it the playbook was created by Rudnitsky for his own team but it proved to be so successful that it was later shared with the rest of Salesforce's enterprise division. And the rest is history.

Here are the rules from the playbook from Behind the Cloud, as paraphrased by Business Insider, that could provide some invaluable guidance for your own organisation:

#1 "Think BIG, have attitude"

Think big (dollars and scope); not just the immediate opportunity in front of you. Behave as if your company is big, even if it's not. Salesforce's average customer had 12 users when Rudnitsky started out.

#2 "No deal is won or lost alone"

Bring in the entire team to work on new deals, and brainstorm about how to do a better job. 'I'm less impressed with someone who closes a $2 million deal alone than I am with someone who brought all of us in and still closed the same $2 million deal,' Rudnitsky said.

#3 "Connect the dots"

Never cold-call, always call with a plan. Constantly reach out to contacts and find connections before engaging with a prospect.

#4 "Focus on 'why not'"

Instead of thinking about why a deal will close, focus on why it might not. "Anticipating the 'why nots' gives you a significant advantage over (competitors)," he writes.

#5 "Always take the deal off the table"

Make sure every deal is closed if it's ready to close. Don't waste any time, leaving a chance for the deal stalling and potentially getting away.

#6 "Get your face in the place"

Meet your customers in person. You won't be able to learn anything about them by just talking on the phone. It also strengthens the customers' confidence in you.

#7 "Fun facts build instant credibility"

Try to learn everything about your customer and collect 'fun facts' that could be used to build your credibility.

#8 "Be proactive on all paperwork"

Make sure all paperwork is in place. Otherwise, it will "come back to bite you."

#9 "Always get quid pro quo in negotiations"

Don't be afraid to ask for more and say no when needed. For example, make sure you're allowed to announce the deal in the press because it gives huge publicity that could lead to other opportunities.

#10 "Share best practices"

Share great emails or proposals with the rest of the team and try to learn from them. And use them in other deals too.

#11 "Go after game changers"

Look for deals that can take the company to the next level. "These deals are revolutionary in a company's evolution. Winning huge customers, such as Dell and Japan Post, was game changing for our company", Benioff writes.

These are by no means groundbreaking rules, but they are important and easy to follow. Share it with your sales team; you never know when one of these pointers will come in handy for them.


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