7 Tips for Scaling Your Sales Operation for the Future
There’s nothing easy about scaling your B2B sales team for the future. Aim too high too fast, and you could end up like the leaders of the recruiting app WePow: burning through hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and being forced to lay off 80% of the sales department. Aim too low, and you’ll risk missing out on numerous opportunities for growth in a primed market.
So while it’s not an easy proposition, there are some strategies that can make the endeavor simpler. By having a plan for scaling that’s built around a logical and data-driven structure, you can create a sales unit that will deliver many years of sustainable growth.
Build and evaluate multiple models.
If you aren’t building a sales team from scratch, you have a few different options when it comes to modeling how to scale your team with your desired results. Notably, you can implement a top-down model, where you begin with a goal and adjust the necessary performance of your team accordingly. Or, you can go from the bottom up, where you take your team’s previous results and scale it to fit projections.
Instead of asking yourself which model will better fit your company, build both and closely examine the costs, time commitments, and logistical considerations of each.
Incorporate additional time into projections.
If you determine that you need 10 salespeople to close 45 deals per year, each worth an average of $5,000 in order to reach your projections, don’t think that you’re going to be able to hire 10 people and start hitting that number the next month. Remember that hiring sales reps and onboarding them takes time, and you need to incorporate ramp time into your budget for the periods you won’t be reaching projected revenues.
Work on hiring the right people upfront.
The following panicked sentiment has sunk many a sales leader attempting to scale their team: “I just need to get some bodies in here as quickly as possible to hit the targets the CEO has set. Then we can evaluate what is working and what isn’t and make adjustments from there.”
It’s natural to want to get up to capacity as quickly as possible, but spending a lot of time throughout the growth phase dealing with employee attrition because you prioritize speed over quality is only going to delay your results further.
Back your decisions with data.
Even if you fall short of your initial goals, scaling plans have enormous value. If you simply guessed the number of sales reps you thought you needed for growth and you end up being wrong, you’ll be held accountable for either overestimating costly resources or not getting enough production out of your team. But if your decisions are backed by data, you and your leadership team can examine where gaps occurred and optimize accordingly.
Find software that will accommodate your needs for years to come.
The market for business development and sales acceleration software has never been more crowded. Intense market competition is obviously good for buyers looking at the big picture, but the widespread availability of software programs is causing some sales leaders to underestimate the costs of switching.