How to Scale Your Sales Function
If you are responsible for establishing and growing your sales function, then I encourage you to buck convention. Do it differently and reap the rewards.
Conventional wisdom is to hire a salesperson, give them a laptop and a cell phone and have them go forth and sell. I recommend going against this conventional wisdom. When your sales function is in growth mode, simply adding salespeople won’t give you the revenue growth you desire. You need to fill each of your different player positions first before adding depth to your roster.
Start by hiring a business development professional. Have them take their first month and research the right CRM for you. If you’ve got one already, have them confirm or deny it’s the right one for you. There are many, many choices out there so have them do their homework.
Next, give them four weeks to build out your lead outreach process so they can work systematically to fill both your marketing and sales funnel with viable leads and prospects. Only then should you hire on a sales professional to work through the sales process and close deals.
Here’s why; the business development function is very different from the sales function. The person who gets joy from the business development function often does not get joy from the sales function and vice versa. In my role as a fractional VP of Sales, I often speak to business owners who have sales rep turnover issues. The root cause of this turnover is that sellers were brought on without a viable sales funnel. They had 90 days of business development work to do and then became frustrated and believed they had no path to sales success…so they left.
With your sales professional onboard, capture the process they will follow to turn prospective buyers into paying customers. Document this in your CRM in the form of your sales funnel.
With your business development and sales function now up and running as separate roles, take another eight weeks and refine both your business development and sales processes. The goal is to increase the deal size and the sales velocity. This is accomplished by looking for ways to be more effective and efficient in researching and activating leads and then running the resulting prospects through your sales process.
With this work done you can now determine where you should add depth to your roster. Is your sale/market/industry such that you need more business development resources and fewer sellers or is it the other way around? Is it that you need to add key account salespeople rather than local or regional salespeople?
There is of course a great deal of nuance to all the suggestions above [which is often why I play a fractional sales management role to support business leaders]. If you’d like to chat, I’d be happy to share my insights with you.