Sales Leaders That Drive Revenue

fractional sales leaders vp sales Jun 20, 2023

Sales… it’s what drives a company's success or failure.

Sure, all departments and roles are important but without Sales, a company can’t keep going. And when it goes well… that’s when some serious growth can happen.

There are a number of factors that can drive the success or failure of sales and one of the biggest… the LEADER.

Depending on the stage a company is at, also determines what type of leader they need.

🎬 Let’s start at moving from Founder Led Sales to transition to SALES taking over. One thing to note is that it does start with Founder Led Sales… this can’t be skipped. The founder needs to be in there and figure out what prospects and customers are saying to help shape the direction they go.

Once they have sales and they have a very defined ICP, it’s time to get Sales in there to take over.

The question is WHO… Who can and should take this over?

🀦 Mistake I see all the time… "Let’s just get a successful sales rep and they can do the selling and start building out our process for us."

❌ WRONG... frustrations and delay in everything you are working towards.

2 problems… first off, this is basically looking for a unicorn πŸ¦„. Don't get me wrong, πŸ¦„ are awesome but pretty rare. Someone who can create the sales process and sell… when they’ve never done it before.

βž• Not to mention the sales motion is not the same as what the Founder was doing. So now you are asking a Sales Rep who has never created a sales process to come in and figure it out. Founders feel like they should just do what they did but that doesn’t work either.

2nd problem… balance of time and effort. Should they spend more time on selling or creating the sales process? What happens most of the time… neither happens very well.

So then people start thinking of a VP of Sales... they know what they are doing. The problem here is that they are very expensive (those that have been successful) and unless you have a lot of cash, it’s going to drain you quickly. Not to mention, they aren’t your day-to-day sales rep either.

πŸ’« What I've seen as the most successful... a fractional sales leader or consultant to come and build your process and hire 1 or 2 sales reps. They can help build it out and manage the sales to get it on track for you.

Next stage… Your sales are taking off and time to add more people. So who comes and leads the team?

⏸️ Pause here for a moment… Having 1 or a couple of sales reps succeed is not the same as having a sales process. This is non-negotiable, you need to have a documented sales process BEFORE you start hiring.

Now who do you get to lead the team? It might be time to add a Sales Manager or maybe even Director. Someone who owns the sales process and can start building the team with hires, onboarding, and training.

Notice I didn’t say hire a VP of Sales. This is too early… there isn’t enough here and Director is as high as I would go at this stage.

Let’s dig in a little about the type of leaders at any level…

4 types of leaders.

  1. In the trenches because they don’t know anything but. Reminds me of being a coach when I was done playing and I just wanted to get it done myself. But have to learn how to coach them and let them learn it.
  2. Cheerleader coach. Want to cheer people on and pick them up when they are down. Most of the time they become the friend and they are liked but no progress is being made. Often times the team stays stagnant or moves backward because there isn’t accountability either. This I compare to an overpaid babysitter.
  3. Big picture leader. Putting strategies in place… looking at the data and making changes. This is great but sometimes they are disconnected from day to day of what’s happening. Don’t jump on calls and never get in the weeds.
  4. Combo with more focus on the big picture. Get in the trenches so they have an understanding of what’s happening. Pick people up when they are down and motivate but more through accountability. And always take a step back to see where they are lacking to build for the future.

None of these are bad… just know what will help you or hold you back when you are trying to grow.

Sales are continuing to grow with the Sales Manager and/or Director of Sales. At what point do you need a VP of Sales? A company usually needs a VP of Sales when it's growing and needs someone to create and drive the strategy. A growing team, more products, and even new market segments. They've had success to this point but need to continue to expand and take things to the next level.

This can be an internal promotion or hire from outside. Benefits of promotion from within, they know the product and team well. They know where they have been which can help them move to the future.

The downside of an internal hire can be that they may not have the experience that someone else has. They may not know how to come up with and roll out new strategies that will allow the company to grow.

At any stage, having an outside perspective to either help with some of the day-to-day or even give you insights on what’s missing from your sales is extremely valuable to get you from one stage to the next. Helps you get the expertise without the full-time cost. Focusing on helping you find your gaps and fix those so you can succeed.

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