Working with a Fractional Vice President of Sales can be an ideal way to help increase the sales revenue your company generates. Given the fractional [read: part-time, consulting] nature of this role, navigating the path to results is different than working with a full-time employee.
Understanding the dos and don’ts of working with a Fractional VP of sales will help you maximize the ROI on your investment and make the relationship an amazing one for all parties. Here are six things to consider before you hire a Fractional VP of sales.
1. When You Hire a Fractional VP of Sales, You’re Not Paying for Their Time
What you are buying when you engage a Fractional VP of Sales is their expertise, not hours and minutes of their time. Any consultant’s time is worthless. It’s their expertise that is valuable. If they have “been there and done that” as it relates to tackling challenges of the type that you face in your business, they will help you in one or a combination of the following 5 ways:
- Increasing your revenue
- Decreasing your cost of sales
- Shortening the time to revenue generation results
- Making business processes easier and simpler
- Improving the overall health of your organization
Do you really care how many hours a Fraction VP of Sales puts into making that happen? Or are you more concerned with getting that outcome within the agreed-upon timeframe?
2. Get Comfortable with the Notion of ‘Fractional’
Part of the advantage of working with a Fractional VP Sales means that you and your company get considerable sales leadership horsepower without having to pay the hefty cost of a full-time executive/employee.
This means that they will do absolutely everything in their power to move the sales needle but will not do other ancillary tasks that often get dropped onto the plate of a full-time employee. Expecting them to do these kinds of tasks when you are paying them fractional fees will result in frustration for all parties. To avoid this, be crystal clear about what is in their scope, and what is not in their scope during the contracting phase. Agreeing on this early on will make for a smoother ride throughout your engagement with your Fractional VP of Sales.
3. Set Agreed-Upon Expectations for Your Fractional VP of Sales
Generally, all consultants use the same model for conducting their projects: Audit-Present Recommendations-Implement Changes-Sustain Changes over Time to Achieve Business Results. If a Fractional VP Sales is hired and revenue generation results are expected in an unreasonably short period of time, frustration will result for all parties. Candidly, if a full-time VP of Sales is hired and revenue generation results are expected in an unreasonably short period of time, frustration will also result.
Ensure both parties agree on a reasonable timeframe to conduct the audit and implement changes (this typically requires about 12 weeks) as well as how long it will take to manage sustainment to see an increase in sales and revenue generation results (typically another 12 weeks from there).
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Increasing sales revenue involves managing many moving parts and will require meaningful change within your organization. As a business owner, it’s vital that you have a direct line of sight into what is being done, with whom, how often, and in what manner.
Work with your Fractional VP of Sales to determine the best way for you to communicate. Whatever that looks like, make sure the communication is weekly. This will keep you current on the pulse of the project and allow for timely course correction where required.
5. Understand That Your Participation Is Mandatory
When your Fractional VP Sales asks to meet you, make yourself available to do so in a reasonable time. When attempting to increase sales revenues, many CEO/business owner-level decisions must be made, such as hiring new staff, changing compensation plans, understanding new product launch calendars so sales forecasts can be made, having sales goals approved etc. In the absence of speaking with you, your Fractional VP of Sales will be working in the dark and as such your project is doomed for failure.
6. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate [Continued]
If you have questions along the way about how things are proceeding in terms of improving sales results, then ask them. If you are curious as to why things are being done a certain way within the project, then inquire. If you think the approach being taken is absolutely the wrong one, bring that up and talk about it.
As with any working relationship, all parties need to feel comfortable speaking up when they feel the need. As a CEO/business owner engaging a Fractional VP of Sales, you are bringing a new person into your organization who while implementing change is bound to have some employees feel uneasy as their old ways are left behind. Further, as each month passes you are making a deeper investment into increasing your sales revenues. These are good reasons for saying what you want to say when you want to say it so that the likelihood of project success is increased.
As with all things, there’s a great deal of nuance as it relates to integrating the help, services, and expertise of a Fractional VP of Sales. If you would like further detail, please feel free to reach out.