Situation: A small company’s business is increasing and they need to build a sales organization. To date all sales have been conducted by the founder CEO and a single employee salesperson. Should they build inside or outside sales first? Are there trigger points at which one or both should be increased? How do you develop a sales organization?
Advice from the CEOs:
- Right now you have first mover advantage in your market space. You have a unique offering and no existing competition. The immediate objective is to maximize early market share. Borrow if necessary to ramp sales. There is no trigger point.
- Hire an outside salesperson now. You want an individual who is knowledgeable about your market and who has a large set of contacts. Make at least 50% of this individual’s compensation variable (commissions) to start and escalate the percentage of variable compensation as sales grow. Hire at current market rates.
- Supplement your existing marketing with an investment in social media marketing and SEO (search engine optimization). Don’t try to do this yourself on the cheap – hire a pro. Invest in Pay-Per-Click to push your visibility.
- To sell this plan to your existing salesperson and the rest of the team, it’s time for a Come to Jesus talk.
- Make a strong business case for your program.
- The trade-off is either invest now to rapidly build sales or become insignificant.
- Once you’ve made your pitch and received consent, let the plan work before you ask for more.