4 MIN READ
Scaling sales is a healthy mixture of science, keen people skills and having a genuine interest in making it work. So here is what I recommend to avoid making the mistakes we see so often:
1. Accept the reality
Get comfortable with the idea of being hands-on with sales. Until you put a leader in place try to engage consistently and help keep things fresh. Similar to when you take a flight, the flight attendants add value consistently throughout the journey. Take the same approach with your sales team. Implement a cadence of support outside of the typical meeting cadence. Use product training to support their skills, leverage company events to showcase small victories and ask always ask for feedback. Sales is a hard job and the best leaders recognize that they need to constantly invest time and energy into their people to keep them growing.
2. Get you marketing game together.
The days of salespeople being fully responsible for generating his or her own leads is long gone.
If you want to support a long term sales strategy invest in generating leads from a variety of channels that make sense for your business. If you can’t find someone leverage a 3rd party outsourced model until you are ready to put a full-time marketing resources in place.
3. “Dig into the data” or “Ask an expert”
Try to leverage data around what is attainable for sales people and build compensation plans on a quarterly basis to start. If you have no data, be flexible and understand that compensation can go well beyond just sales transactions. Leverage MBO’s (Measureable business objectives) tied to financial reward for focus on the right activities (pipeline generation, meetings, demos) until you get the other pieces of your sales puzzle shelled out. In most cases enlist the help of an expert who focuses on compensation plans to get you on the right foot.
4. Be honest with yourself
Make sure that you are ready and willing to undertake the workload to help your sales employees be successful. If you feel like you are not the one look into bringing in some external help. If you need a leader but not ready for a full time VP of sales, consider fractional leadership on a contract basis. Fractional leaders allow you to access senior talent but on a part-time basis to fill in any gaps that you may have.
Scaling can be an incredibly exciting time for any company, and if done correctly can catapult you and your team to the next level. Best of luck during this exciting time and for more insight on ways to impact your revenue growth.