To quote Sisense, “If sales is the heartbeat of your company, sales growth is the heart rate monitor—indicating whether revenue goals are on track.” A deep understanding of this metric is necessary for any CEO who wishes to develop and implement effective business strategies. By extension, it’s equally essential that your future sales leader is well-versed in this metric, too.
But when time and money are limited, finding the means to hire and train a sales leader can be a nightmare. However, it’s also not a process you’ll want to cut corners either. Having a capable sales leader is essential to meeting your sales goals, fostering a positive work culture, improving your sales team’s performance, and ensuring overall success. In fact, 80% of high-performing sales teams credit their sales training process, rating it as outstanding or very good. The strong connection between highly successful sales leaders and their top-performing reps makes it all the more critical to find the right sales leader for your business.
If you are looking into bringing on a sales leader to assist with sales growth of your SaaS startup, consider these 4 things first before making any final decisions.
1. Know Your Business Strategy and Growth Plans First
Surprisingly, this is an often overlooked aspect of hiring a sales leader. Who you end up hiring will ideally commit to helping you achieve high sales growth. But before you start screening or making up a checklist of what type of sales leader you’re looking for, you must first evaluate the needs of your business.
As a startup, you’re better equipped if you narrow in on the overall game plan—both short- and long-term goals—to better understand what kind of sales leader you need to help execute those strategies. Do you need someone who can build a team from scratch? Or maybe your sales leader is someone you wish to help you break into a market full of tough competitors? Whatever the case may be, it all hinges on establishing your strategies and goals.
2. Focus More on the “Leader” Part of Sales Leader
When evaluating potential candidates, keep in mind that even though having a strong background in selling is important, the primary role of an effective sales leader is having strong leadership capabilities. This means they play more of a supportive role as opposed to being on the front line closing deals. This is important to note, as many businesses think it best to simply promote their top-performing salesperson into the role. However, without the proper leadership training, the lack of team management skills could hurt your bottom line.
If you hope to achieve substantial sales growth, you need to make sure your future sales leader has the desire to help your team win as a manager, not as a sales rep.
3. Consider Fractional Leader Alternative
As a startup, you may not have the financial resources to hire a full-on sales leadership team. In fact, for many startups, the natural course of action might be to hire entry-level sales and marketing staff for the time being. Though there are few who have found success in this route, employing a more experienced sales leader gives an added advantage as they can set the game plan and sales processes in motion.
Looking into hiring fractional sales managers who are at the executive level to handle sales will allow you to focus on other areas of the business that affect sales growth. Fractional leaders are there to get the job done, providing the benefits of their expertise for a fraction of the cost.
4. Balance Specific Qualities with Basic Know-How
Different skills and characteristics are necessary for each leadership position. For example, as a VP, you’ll need to focus on deepening market reach and developing overall strategies, collaborating with cross-functional teams, and delivering presentations to the board of directors. An account executive is more hands-on with clients, maintaining relationships, and finding new leads. An effective sales manager is integral to the success of their team, ensuring effective operations.
Know the specific traits and skills you’re looking to better align the candidate’s qualifications with the role you need. That being said, it’s also important to screen for backgrounds that prove candidates have a basic grasp of leadership duties, such as:
- Familiarity with the recruitment process to vet quality sales team candidates
- Experience with training new hires effectively
- Day-to-day team management
Having done continuous coaching with past teams to improve sales performance
Whether you’re just starting, moving in a new direction, or need a big sales lift, finding the right leadership will help your business achieve its goals. Just remember to consider these 4 tips before making that final decision when choosing a sales leader.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch with our team of experts to find the best way of acquiring sales leaders who will boost your sales growth.