If you're like many startups, you started small with a few sales reps who more or less managed themselves. While this may work for a short while, any on-track startup will quickly outgrow this model.
You're probably already have.
Waiting too long leads to lost opportunities, wasted marketing dollars and poor close rates. But hiring a startup sales leader when the time is right ensures you continue to grow and thrive.
Let's explore the right time to hire sales leadership for your startup.
1. The Leads Outpace Sales Capabilities
Your marketing team has invested significant time and money into generating quality leads and nurturing them into qualified leads for your sales team.
Initially, you only saw the direct benefits of their ad campaigns. Your acquisition costs were high. But now, brand awareness has taken off. More existing customers are referring and sharing. It's all increasing your brand's visibility on unpaid social media, around the Internet and in the community.
More people respond because they now recognize and trust your brand.
Perhaps you're in those early stages of seeing exponential growth in the leads department. But managing this many leads becomes disorganized and unproductive. Nurturing in those critical final stages becomes inconsistent as sales reps feel overwhelmed.
Close rates suffer.
It's time to hire a startup sales leader who can establish streamlined systems and organize sales efforts to maximize productivity and close rates.
2. Your Sales Team Is Successful
Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, once stated, "If we weren't still hiring great people and pushing ahead at full speed, it would be easy to fall behind and become a mediocre company."
If your sales team is already very successful, should you really bring a startup sales leader in?
Many startups wait too long to hire a sales leader. Their sales team gets to a point where they can't manage their own success. The longer you wait, the more "growing pains" you'll face when bringing in leadership.
If you have a sales team that's on track and growing your business, it's time hire a startup sales leader. They'll take your sales team to new heights.
Read "5 Essential Reasons Hiring is a Critical Element in the Startup Success" to learn even more reasons to place hiring at the top of your to-do list!
3. You're Ready to Scale
If you have a system that's working, it's time to replicate it out by expanding sales. You're poised for rapid growth. And rapid growth is dangerous without the right departmental leadership.
You need a sales leader in place who can take what's working, refine it and replicate it.
4. The Number of Repeat Customers Is Increasing
You may be thinking that repeat customers don't need as much hands-on attention from the sales team. But here's where profitable businesses distinguish themselves from the rest:
Repeat customers spend 67% more on subsequent transactions than new customers. It costs 5-10 times the money and time to convert a new customer than it does to get an existing customer to purchase again.
Startups who can achieve a 40% retention rate can increase revenues by almost 50% over those with a 10% retention rate.
Seeing repeat customers means that your company is doing things right. To get the most out of all of these existing customers who want to buy again, you need a startup sales leader who can help increase upsells and reduce the customer lifecycle.
You need someone who's not stuck in the day-to-day of sales. As amazing as your sales reps may be, it's hard to see the big picture and strategize from that viewpoint.
A sales leader will work with your marketing leadership on remarketing efforts to develop a marketing-sales synthesis that will increase customer lifetime value and profits.
A sales leader will drive more revenue per lead and loyal customer.
5. You're Ready for the Big League
You have what you know is a superior product or service in a competitive marketplace. It's gaining steam. But to really take off, it needs market differentiation. This differentiation must be clearly communicated throughout marketing, customer relationship management, sales and the organization.
To achieve this kind of clear messaging and coordination across departments, you need the right leaders in those departments.
6. Hiring Within Isn't a Smart Move
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook once told attendees at a world leadership conference, "I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person."
His statement makes an important point. While it's possible that you already have a sales rep who is top leadership material, it's usually not your best move. As a startup, you need someone with significant sales leadership experience.
You're preferably looking for someone who has led a startup sales team and gotten results.
It's time to hire a sales leader when no one within meets those qualifications.
Hiring a Startup Sales Leader
It's time to hire a sales leader when marketing leads are overwhelming your team. It's time to hire when your sales reps are proving their model works. Let's take this to the level.
For help on making smart leadership hiring decisions, contact us today.