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By Mike McGuinness, SVP of Global Sales at SmartBear
Today I’m going to highlight some questions to consider as you begin to scale. Before you talk about scaling, you have to assume that the following three things are already met.
- The Product Works
- The Market Exists
- Your Sales Model Works
If these three things do not already exist for your company, you are not ready to scale yet. So what are the things to consider when you’re beginning to scale.
The Second Lieutenant
This is the first level manager in your organization. Who is this person, how were they chosen, and what skills do they have? You need to make sure that you’re focusing on the qualities of this first managerial leader at your company. This person should have the ability to coach your lower level reps, and your hiring process for these lower level managers must be repeatable.
How can you hire people at a cost-level that you can handle so that you can scale? I call this playing “moneyball” in the market. One way to hire people at a cost-level you can handle is through having incentive packages well aligned to your scaling goals.
What’s your farm system?
There are organizations that have great farm systems, and you can create a great one at your company. With that being said, your BDR program is not your farm system.
Why do “A” developmental players want to join your team?
Make sure that you understand why these developmental players want to join your team. They may be mission driven, career driven, or have a strong desire to make money with a growing company. If they only want to join you because of money, your sales team is going to struggle. Invest in your sales team by building up your teams skills and building their careers.
Henry Ford Had it Right
Limit the number of variations that you have in your company. You can’t customize everything for everyone on your team. The worst mistake that I see company’s make is that they pander to early high performers too much.
In a young company, your territory is either growing or shrinking.
If your territory is growing, that’s bad news. Your territory should be geographically getting smaller because you’re getting more prospects in a given area of marketplace. If your territory is determined by a specific vertical or market segment, look for this to get smaller as well.
Scale requires simplicity.
The world is a big place and there are lots of opportunities in the developed and developing world. As you grow and scale your team, you are going to begin to grow globally. I generally recommend that companies try to focus on the developed world first cause their sales process is similar to the sales process in the US. I have a 90/10 rule to decide where to grow (e.g. focus on selling in countries whose sales processes are 90% the same as the US). More developing countries may have vastly different sales processes and you’ll have to tailor your processes to meet these areas.
Canaries & Ratios
As you start to scale your company, you need pay close attention to proverbial “canaries in the coal mine” that could spell trouble for your company. These could include the following:
- $$$ per Quota/Month
- Reps Per Manager
- Reps Per BDR
- Reps Per SE
- Reps Per CAM
- CAMs per Channel Mgr
- Reps per Sales Ops
- Commission Stack $$$
As these begin to change, you need to do research to identify what is causing the change so that you can pivot in the appropriate way.