Episode TwoHundredEight

3 Tips to Make Winning More Predictable in Sales

Guest: Matt Millen, Chief Growth Officer of Sapper Consulting

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About This Episode

We can’t win all the time. That’s just a fact of life.

What we can do is position ourselves to do our best to deliver winning results by practicing what we can control.

I recently had the opportunity to pick the brain of Matt Millen, Chief Growth Officer of Sapper Consulting, about the traits of a winner.

“I had an opportunity to help companies create new truths and solve their problems,” Matt said. 

Matt has loved sales ever since his career began in the late 1980s when he saw his roommate winning at commission. “The whole sales process is creating this new truth with your buyer and for them, ultimately, to make your belief their new truth,” he said.

Let’s dive into the concept of winning — and what it takes to win.

3 Steps to Consistent Winning

“Everyone listening to this is in need of winning, whether you’re an individual contributor and making your number, whether you’re a leader responsible for individual contributors making their numbers,” Matt said. 

Those numbers are hard and getting harder…

-15 touches to get 1 response

-7 nos to get 1 yes

-50% of reps don’t make their numbers

-54% of reps say it’s harder to win today than it was 5 years ago

“Winning matters. We get hired to win,” he said.

Matt wanted to make winning more predictable for him and his team, so he focused on 3 things he could control.

It’s the SAM methodology:

  1. Story 
  2. Activity
  3. Mindset

Matt zoomed in on each of these for me.


In short, story means the words that come out of our mouths.

It also refers to how we handle objections, how we qualify and discover, and how we propose and close.

“These are all conscious and deliberate decisions that we’re making through the words that we’re bringing into the conversation,” Matt said.


Activity means how we spend our day (not just what we spend our day doing).

It’s both our actions and our decisions.

How does this relate to winning?

Well, we can control the quality of the decisions we’re making. That’s something we have complete ownership of.


“Our mindset is our attitude toward the business or toward accountability, like how we’re showing up,” Matt said.

So, these are the 3 fields of play.

Not to overdo the sports metaphor, but…

“The truth is that how you play the game is how you practice,” Matt said. “Not enough teams practice and get it right.”

Without practicing SAM (story, activity, mindset), Matt said he wouldn’t have been positioned to show up and win.

How to lose

A quick word on losing.

There’s no such thing as winning 100% of the time, but there’s a big difference in the feeling in your gut when you lost after giving it your all versus not being your best.

When you lose because you didn’t do your very best? Allow that to motivate you to get back to the SAM practice field.

Winning as a leader

We touched on this a little bit above. When you’re a leader, your wins come from the wins of your team members.

“The meta point to winning, especially as a leader, is continually solving problems for your team,” Matt said.

Great leaders — leaders who win — have these 3 qualities in their mindset (the M in SAM).

#1 Leaders need to have empathy.

Empathy is both an appreciation and an understanding of what your team does all day.

Don’t get amnesia about what it was like to be an individual contributor.

“Great leaders have really good tentacles into the business and have an understanding and appreciation of the hard work their team does,” Matt said.

#2 Leaders need to have fun.

In general, you should enjoy doing your work.

Whether or not you’re having fun comes through in your story and activities, but especially in your mindset.

“It shows up in zeal and energy and conviction and passion,” Matt observed. “Our attitude is set by that.”

#3 Leaders need to do the right thing.

Let’s circle back to winning as a leader defined as solving team problems.

When an employee comes to you with a challenge, they aren’t looking for the company handbook. “They want you to deal with them like a human being,” Matt said.

Leaders don’t make the job heavy for the team, not personally or professionally. 

Same with customers. They want you to hear them and help them make things right.

And, to be honest, leading to win in 2020 isn’t substantially different than leading to win in years without COVID-19.

“There’s no room for slump,” Matt said. “We can be our best every single time. You’ve got to be ready, you’ve got to be prepared, you’ve got to be on point to deliver every time.”

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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