How to know if you’re ready for a Fractional Sales Leader – A gut check for every entrepreneur with a sales team
By Jeff Abee
As an entrepreneur, it’s highly likely that you’re not only the creator of your company but also the person driving sales. It’s no secret that the energy and passion a Founder brings to the table is very unique – but if the only person hitting sales quotas is still you, you’re destined for not only trouble but a ton of frustration.
By now you’ve probably hired one or two salespeople, which is when the fun really begins – managing them, while you’re still being pulled in every other direction. The added responsibility of driving sales performance in others – the thing that comes so naturally to you, can be overwhelming and yes, at times, even unsuccessful.
Your costs have now increased with the investment you’ve made in hiring new salespeople, you still find that you’re doing the majority of the selling but now, profits are decreasing.
The good news is, you’re not alone. The bad news is, you’re not alone. The scenario described above happens all too often. Company owners of small and mid-sized businesses understand the need to reinvest in growing the business, but when that reinvestment involves growing the sales organization as it often does, owners quickly learn that managing sales teams can be difficult and incredibly time-consuming. The obvious solution? Hire a sales leader to help drive performance but when they realize the costs associated with another FTE with the talent needed to really drive performance, owners become hesitant to make yet another investment in the already costly sales organization.
Glassdoor estimates that a novice Sales Manager in the United States costs around $82,000 (base and variable comp) in the mid-tier and that expert Sales Managers (the kind with a track record of driving sales performance) are well over $100,000 base salary.
When you add on all the associated costs of hiring, benefits, bonuses, etc. a sales leader is likely to cost your company well over $200,000 and significantly more for someone who’s done this successfully before.
But there’s another way to get the same end result without the big price tag of an FTE, experienced sales leader.
Fractional Sales Leadership, or FSL, is a way to get the best of both worlds – an experienced sales leader who knows how to drive performance and coach sales teams but at a fraction of the cost and time associated with an FTE.
The entrepreneur gets his or her sanity back – and the ability to continue to drive the organization forward, while leaving the heavy duty lifting like accountability, tracking and coaching up to the FSL – which is also a highly customizable option.
Could your organization be a good candidate for the FSL Model? Let’s take a look.
Review the list below, making note of how many of the below apply to you:
- You are the Founder and sales leader and are juggling too many responsibilities. You continuously struggle working in the business and on the business simultaneously.
- You struggle with accountability, patience and holding salespeople to their plans and sales goals.
- You’ve thought: I didn’t need this kind of sales oversight, why should my salespeople?
- You don’t have predictive sales but sales seem to happen sporadically, at times even “by accident” and are far and few between.
- You are still using a spreadsheet to manage the forecast and pipeline which means slicing and dicing the numbers is now a nightmare.
- You’ve come to the realization you probably need a CRM. But which one?
- You need a layer between you and your salespeople, someone who can instill confidence and at times discomfort in your sales team. Someone who can guide your people on strategy.
- You know you need to define and document your sales process so you can “manage what you measure” and future-proof your sales organization for the next generation of sellers. The thought of doing this yourself is overwhelming.
- You want to bridge the gap from short-term sales training tactics to the use of tried and true sales techniques that are deployable in the field. When you consider that most training is lost in the first 2 weeks after a course is completed, you realize you personally are not available to provide that ongoing continuity that impacts performance.
- You know you need additional sales tools that should help shorten the sales cycle and increase velocity to close for your sales team but aren’t sure which.
- You’re getting the feeling that your salespeople need help dissecting the sale, looking for the gaps and deal killers in an effort to increase their effectiveness – but you don’t have the time it takes to help them analyze these things and set strategies to overcome them.
- You find yourself questioning what your salespeople people do all day when sales are low. Are they really doing customer-facing activities or are they taking too much personal time in a day on non-sales related activities? You want reassurance they’re doing the activities they need to be doing without being a micro-manager creating a culture of distrust.
- You need to keep costs for sales low, you need to get results from your team and you need accountability but you realize you need help making these things happen.
If you found yourself nodding yes to many of these scenarios above, you could be ready to relieve the burden of sales leadership by handing it off to a Fractional Sales Leader. Having an expert available and accountable to you and your team is a must for any small to mid-tier company ready to make an impact in their industry and on the bottom line.
Jeff Abee has over 35 years of sales leadership, operations and training experience. He has delivered world-class sales teams to companies like AVI-SPL, Compuware Corporation, and other organizations. By taking the sales process theory and using a unique coaching model he can deliver laser focused sales value at a fraction of the time and cost.