So you’ve experienced some early growth in your tech startup and want to scale your sales team. Or maybe you’re a sales leader at your company and it’s time to build out a bigger crew.
Either way, you have your mind set on scoring a deluge of new customers or clients. First off, good for you! It takes a growth mindset and some serious you-know-what to reach the next level of sales and revenue.
Of course, I’d love to advise something like: If you’re middling around 6-figures in sales and want to scale to 7-figures and beyond, then just hire five SDRs, one rockstar closer, a VA for scheduling, upgrade your CRM from Nutshell to Salesforce, and pound the phones all day everyday. You’ll have a full pipeline in 30 days.
But… it’s just not that easy.
There is no one-size-fits-all way of scaling a sales team. You need to account for your industry, your ideal customer or client, your product, the length of your sales cycle, your vision for the company, and so much more.
You can’t just go hiring a bunch of salespeople and hope for the best. Trust me, that approach simply won’t work. You have to take a methodical approach and lay a solid foundation before you recruit your star-studded sales roster.
Not to worry, today I’m going to discuss the ins and out of scaling a sales team. This is the foundation you’ll build from. And once you have it, you’re primed to scale to the moon. The velocity at which you can hire, train, and acquire new accounts is completely dependent on how well you follow these five steps.
Let’s jump right in.
5 Things to Think About When Scaling Sales
1. Scale your mission.
It’s one thing to have a “hustle” mentality and build a sales team at break-neck speed (pretty much anyone can do that). But it’s another thing to build with your brand mission at the core of your recruiting process. What does that mean exactly? It means remembering why you’re in business in the first place. It means staying true to your vision, and hiring people who fit well in your company culture.
This means you have to discern the difference between confidence and arrogance (it’s a fine line). Hire confident people, but beware of the arrogant. Ego-centric salespeople, no matter how good they are on the phones, will cost you in the long run. So don’t just scale your sales team — scale your mission.
2. Solidify your sales process.
Imagine a new hire on the manufacturing line at Chevy or Ford. Their first day they clock in and walk out to their post, and parts are strewn everywhere. It’s a free-for-all. Can you imagine how confused and unproductive they’d be? Well, I’ve seen a lot of sales organizations who do the equivalent of this, throwing their new recruits to the wolves, without a sales processed dialed-in. “Pick up the phone, you’ll figure it out,” they say.
It’ll tarnish your brand image and potentially put your company in peril if you scale a team with a broken sales process. I understand learning on the job and the inevitable ramp-up period. That’s to be expected. But you need to have a proven sales process in place so that your new hires can hit the ground running.
Do you have SDRs, BDRs, closers? Do you have separate prospecting and closing teams? What’s the buyer journey like? Qualification call, demo/sales presentation, proposal, close? Some other order? What does your follow-up process entail? You need to have a system in place before attempting to scale up. Now, it doesn’t mean you can’t tweak your sales process over time, but you must lay the groundwork first.
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3. Get your KPIs in order.
If you can track it, you can improve it. That’s a good motto to live by in business, especially in sales. Set a handful of “key performance indicators” (KPIs) so that your new hires know exactly what they are responsible for. For salespeople, these KPIs might measure things like sales activities (calls made), meetings booked, proposals sent, client acquisition rate, and more.
Sure, you might be able to get away with scaling a sales team before you have this barometer in place. But for maximum efficiency and success, it’s far better to have specific KPIs in place so that you know what to expect of new hires. Just keep in mind that they are new hires, and there is a ramp-up period. So you can’t require the same numbers from your new guy Tyler as you do of Jeff who’s been on your team for years. Set realistic goals and quotas, and measure them with KPIs.
4. Choose your tech stack wisely.
Technology is incredibly important when it comes to scaling a sales team. First off, you need a CRM that you can rely on and one that scales with you. This and other software will need to allow for multiple users and customizations, and it must be user-friendly. The last thing you want is for your technology to trip you up when you’re trying to build out a team. If you don’t want to go with SalesForce, I’d recommend looking into Zoho One.
You should also think about things like auto-dialers, prospecting and intelligence tools (Zoom Info, LinkedIn Sales Navigator), conferencing software (Zoom), Analytics and Support (Zendesk), marketing automation (Mailchimp or Infusionsoft), and the like. While you can always expand your tech stack over time, it’s best to have most of it up-and-running before bringing new salespeople into your organization. The less friction, the better.
5. Remember your existing customers!
Two words: “customer churn.” That’s when you LOSE clients or customers. While some churn is inevitable during the scaling phase, you don’t want your churn-rate to shoot through the roof while you’re busy adding new accounts. It defeats the purpose of sustainable growth! Also, as they say, keeping a customer or client is 10x cheaper than acquiring a new one. So what am I getting at? Have a process in place, before you scale, to keep existing customers happy, engaged, and confident of their future with you.
Now, your existing customers don’t ever have to know about your new high-octane growth phase. Just be sure to check in with them and keep your finger on that pulse. A personal touch here and there will go a long way to keeping customers happy. This will also show your new-hires that you prioritize existing relationships, and if we know anything about business, it’s all about customer service and keeping people happy.
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To wrap things up, it’s critical to remember the underlying principle here: The more prepared you are to scale, the more success you’ll have throughout the transition. It takes an intentional approach that accounts for things like your brand mission, your sales process, your KPIs, minimizing customer churn, and even having the right tech stack in place.
If you’re on the brink of scaling your sales team to inject more customers and revenue into your company, then it’s only natural to be excited and “chomping at the bit” to get going. Just be sure not to jump the gun. There is a time and a place for taking massive action. And there’s a time and a place for methodical thinking and preparation. Do the pre-planning so that you can scale with maximum effectiveness.
And remember, here at C-Level Partners, we can put you in front of the right people, in the right role, right now. In other words, you don’t have to scale a team if it’s too overwhelming. You can bring us in and we’ll put qualified sales appointments with C-level decision makers on your calendar, basically on demand. We’re the force-multiplier you’re looking for. So don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Until next time…