Candice Coots
Content Marketing at SetSail
Table of contents:

You have stumbled across this page because you’re seeking guidance on how to create a smart sales program that your reps will appreciate and that your business will benefit from.

Sales programs are proven to boost sales, motivate morale, and overall create a winning culture within your business.

Either you are a business owner, a manager, or a rep looking for a step up, look no further this article will help you achieve all you need.

What is a Sales Program?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of launching a successful sales program, let’s go back to the basics.

You hear the term ‘sales program’ a lot nowadays, let’s truly define what a sales program is before moving into how to incorporate one into your business.

A sales program is the broad set of steps that drive new business. These steps are developed from knowledge gathered regarding your target audience, objectives, obstacles, and goals.

A proper sales program should highlight the goals and objectives of your business, discuss the responsibilities of your sales team and leadership, and above all provide deliberate direction towards these goals based around the responsibilities outlined.

You want your reps to be motivated and guided by the sales program you chose, but you want to be careful that they are not intimidated nor wary of the program they are told to follow.

Therefore, crafting and implementing the right sales program for your business is extremely important.

Why Reorganize Sales around Sales Programs

Organizing your sales around a sales program is taking sand into a pail, tipping it over and making a glorious sand castle of it.

Reorganizing sales around sales programs not only boosts morale in your workspace by providing direction and incentive to employees, but it also boils down the best practices that lead to sales helping you capitalize on successful tactics.

What Is a Guided Sales Program?

A Guided Sales Program is an automated workflow that uses predictive signals to align seller behaviors with specific growth objectives (e.g. adopt a new methodology, sell higher, sell new product, etc.)

GSPs help meet 2 types of revenue growth objectives:

  • Improve foundational sales performance (e.g. ramp time acceleration, quota attainment, or skills improvement), or
  • Succeed in a specific go-to-market initiative (e.g. product launch, shift to new buyer, a new sales play, or adopting a new methodology).

How Do Sales Programs Work?

Guided Sales Programs allow a low code building of very specific sales programs consisting of a few key signals against which sales reps can be tracked and even rewarded.

They ensure accountability, clarity, and a sales management experience that focuses on learning and continuous improvement.

Through the creation of specific sales programs your reps understand what they need to do and how they need to do it. If a rep is not following the sales program you will be able to tell through tracking their progress, teaching you what is working and what is not.

What Are the Key Building Blocks of a Guided Sales Program?

Data and Intelligence Layer

This data and intelligence layer is the frosting layer of a tiered cake.

You need to fully utilize all the data you can gather from the market, processes already in place, strengths and weaknesses of your team, methods that have proven to be successful etc.

Start by talking to your sales team about what has been working and what has not been working, analyze the work they have been completing and the results that they have been getting.

Understand the improvements made in the past and consider patterns of success and failure.


Buying signals are just as they seem, signals that customers express when they are close to closing the deal.

Understanding these signals will educate your sales team, giving them confidence regarding what to look for in prospective customers to encourage them towards a sale.

Not only will it provide your team confidence, but signals can help you create a sales process based on what your customers are exhibiting.

Observe these patterns and behaviors, and even if they are negative you can still learn something.

Program Builder


A one of a kind feature within SetSail that helps you establish programs by picking your team, picking your initiatives and will automatically tell you which signals are ones you should track and reward.

Put programs together based around themes (ex. AEs, CSMs), and once these programs are in place you are better able to cater your initiatives to accomplish your goals.  

The initiative blended with your programs may be to demand generation to drive pipeline, focus on a new buyer or certain logos.

Whatever your initiative may be, the program builder allows you to pick initiatives appropriate for your programs and tells you which signals are ones you should track and reward, and which are not benefitting or need improvement.

The program builder is perfect for anyone who is looking to build programs with specific initiatives while gaining valuable insight to continuously enhance and improve.

Sales Manager Tracking

As a sales manager you want to rest easy at night knowing that your sales team is meeting quotas, increasing prospects, and closing deals.

But, you want to avoid being a helicopter parent and micromanaging.

Consequently, you need to track your team from a distance.

Tracking the team allows for space between managers and reps, promoting independence without pressure and giving managers the tools to step in when they need.

You want to know when you need to reallocate resources or change priorities, and keep an eye on the bigger picture including the competitive landscape and economic factors.

Focus on understanding the collective performance and keep an eye on individual practices, therefore your team will know you have their back personally and on a wider scale.

Sales Rep Reinforcement

Everyone has been in the position where you are giving your manager good news, and they immediately follow it with “Great, what’s next down the pipeline?” immediately dismissing the news and looking forward.

Sometimes it's hard in sales to stop and smell the roses, to understand and appreciate the work you have accomplished.

Having a supportive manager who understands the importance of reinforcement is key in building a sales process that will sustain and support your sales reps.

Some ideas on how to revamp your sales rep reinforcement practices would be:

  • Implement a mentoring program
  • Create periodical refreshers
  • Establish a coaching/learning culture of continuous improvement

How to Create a Guided Sales Program

With the building blocks we just discussed, it’s time to create your own guided sales program that will drive success and motivation.

  • Define growth objectives

This first step is completed by looking into the future of your business, what do you want to accomplish?

This question may be daunting, but by looking at past data and aligning it with the goals you want to accomplish, you can fill in the middle with steps to achieving these objectives.

Set these growth objectives early by understanding the broader, bigger picture of your business. The following questions will help guide conversations and promote growth:

  • What are the short and long term goals?
  • How can you achieve these goals?
  • What strengths can you capitalize on?
  • What weaknesses do you need to be aware of?
  • Align key revenue stakeholders (Ops, Sales, and Marketing)

Rome was not built in a day, nor by a single person.

This next step is aligning key revenue stakeholders with your objectives and goals.

By bringing in your stakeholders you are exposing yourself to a wealth of information that they can provide you to help you define and shape your sales process.

Not only will this help you craft a sales process that covers all the bases, it will also create a great workplace culture where everyone is on the same page and contributing.

  • Select leading indicators of success

This step may seem simple but it may take the most time, and is also the most important.

You want to ensure you are investing time and energy into creating a sales process that will be prosperous, therefore you need to identify the leading indicators of success that are already implemented.

Talking to your sales team to break down the best practices that are leading to fruitful results will help you identify these leading indicators.

If methods are already working it’s important to capitalize on them, and work on improving them further in your sales program.

  • Define your reward strategy

A reward strategy is put in place to kick start your sales team. By placing incentives into your sales program you are increasing the motivation to succeed.

It’s important to note a few things while crafting your reward strategy:

  • Make sure you are promoting rewards and incentives for your sales team, the frequency of seeing an incentive will increase the desire to achieve it
  • Successful incentives work when the time between working toward a reward and winning the reward is short, this will ultimate create trust in the reward strategy
  • Embody recognition, everyone wants to be seen, especially for accomplishments in the workplace. By highlighting your sales team it boosts overall morale, and competition
  • Create a program

This is the step where it all comes together.

It may be the most intimidating step but from collecting all the information in the steps above you have all you need to create a champion sales program.

It’s important to leave room for the setbacks you might encounter when your program is in action, and take into account your weaknesses and where the market is going.

  • Track and improve

With all the effort you have put into creating a sales program you want to ensure that it is working successfully with a profitable result.

Track your program and learn what the weaknesses and strengths are, talk to your stakeholders about these and set about improving.

The market will continuously be changing therefore it’s important to stay on top of the game by changing with it, and by predicting where it will go to be ahead of your competitors, this includes altering your sales program to stay up to date.


Setting up effective sales programs is a sure way to increase sales and improve morale.

Use the right tool when creating your sales programs let SetSail make it easy.

SetSail is the first Signal-Based Selling sales management software to use a combination of AI and behavioral science to help businesses turn their sales data into better sales behaviors.

This intelligent software uses a data-driven approach to build custom end-to-end solutions that make a real difference to how sales teams perform.

SetSail is relied on by huge global brands like HubSpot, Cisco, and Dropbox. It’s a true end-to-end solution to help you gain insights into how your sales team is performing and ways you can improve productivity and performance. Tour the product →