In this Q&A, we spoke to the leaders of the Verkademy Sales Training Program, Bret Baumbach, Taylor Hoagland, Erika Becker and Alex Haluska, to see how they are mentoring the next generation of sales leaders. (And if you’re interested in joining us in our mission of making the world safer, check out our open positions!)
What is Verkademy?
BB: Verkademy is a 6-month program that trains ambitious individuals starting out in their sales careers to become world-class account executives. Our goal is to not only to help participants hit their quotas, but to offer professional advice and feedback that will help shape them into future leaders of the sales organizations. By offering hands-on training and ongoing feedback cycles with managers and peers, we’re teaching tangible skills that help the team optimize prospecting efforts and ultimately close bigger deals.
TH: The program was designed to emulate a college course. Since a lot of our Verkademy participants are recent graduates with little to no prior sales experience, we wanted to create a curriculum that would help shape college students into professional salespeople. We provide participants with study materials to ensure that they enter every conversation, well-equipped with necessary industry knowledge. In a way, this is their first step into a professional role, and we want to do everything we can to facilitate the transition.
AH: Verkademy focuses on key areas including: (i.) Prospecting Basics & Navigating the Sale, (ii.) Building Value for Different Personas & Verticals, (iii.) Successfully Overcoming Objections, (iv.) Breaking Into Key Accounts and (v.) Verkada’s AE Playbook. As the organization grows, we’ll continue to dial in on the process by looking at the performance of Verkademy graduates.
What do the results of Verkademy look like?
BB: Among those who participated in Verkademy, the figures show that their growth accelerated significantly. 100% of Verkademy participants hit their quota during the first period, and 93% of them actually exceeded quota. The crazy thing is that 70% of these participants never had a job prior to being in the Verkada sales organization. Finally, if you also look at the top ten ramping salespeople in the company, you will see that many, if not all, are Verkademy graduates.
What do you think contributes to the success of the program?
BB: We like to think of ourselves as almost like a sports team — we provide in the moment training, real-time feedback, and hands-on practice to develop the necessary skills that an Account Executive needs to have. If there is an issue or a problem, we take time to diagnose it, critique it, and come up with ways to resolve it and improve.
EB: Using the same sports analogy, we emphasize the importance of teamwork. Even though what you’re doing might seem like an independent mission because you have your own number to hit, at the end of the day, you are contributing to the goal of your broader team. By maintaining this mentality, we’ve been able to really motivate and grow the team.
AH: Throughout the program, we focus not only on the question of how to sell, but why we sell. We truly believe that a successful salesperson can leverage their own experience to help attain their sales goal. There’s a lot that one can use in terms of tool and strategy, but they need to also understand the broader impact of the product they’re selling. So a lot of what we do is coaching through training. When it comes to sales, there are no shortcuts to success, but we help Verkademy students see firsthand what it takes to successfully close deals.
As leaders of Verkademy, what excites you most about the future of the program?
BB: The company is growing rapidly, so something I’m looking forward to is building out the team and scaling up the program. We’ve already seen great success since we launched the program 9 months ago, but there’s always room for improvement. I firmly believe that Verkademy is a unique opportunity to accelerate growth for any Sales professional.
EB: What excites me is the vast range of people who have joined Verkademy and become successful with the program. It doesn’t matter what your background is; whether you’re a new grad or you’re looking for a change in your career, you have the potential to become a world-class Account Executive with this program. If you aspire to be the next generation of leaders, Verkademy can give you the skills and guidance that you need.