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Signs It’s Time To Hire A Sales Leader

When you first establish your business, you do it all; marketing manager, human resources, product or service expert, finance analyst, sales leader, etc. But there comes a time when you want to grow your business, and you know hiring a sales leader is a step in the right direction. Here are signs it's time to hire a sales leader.

Why You Are Neglecting to Hire a Sales Leader

Expense

Hiring a sales leader is expensive. According to PeopleKeep “a bad sales hire costs between 50-75% of the hire’s annual salary.” You have to factor in advertising, screening, onboarding, training and equipment costs. It’s a lot of up-front expenses that you may be reluctant to spend.

Control

You are passionate about your company. As the business grows, it’s easy to keep a death grip on specific areas, like sales. It could be out of habit from when you first started the company, or it could be in an effort to maintain control. You know what is best when it comes to your company, correct? It can be hard to turn that over to someone else.

So how do you know when it’s time to hire a sales leader? Check out these four signs.

One: The Company is Too Reliant on You

When you’re an owner, you need to spend time working on your business, not in it. If you are deep in the weeds of day-to-day operations, you cannot imagine the future, let alone drive your company forward. If you have your hands in everything, then your company could stop growing and break down when you are gone.

Owner dependence is defined as a business’s reliance on the owner for the functioning of day-to-day operations. It means that the owner is too essential to the success of the company. That’s why you need to hire a sales leader to empower your team and take care of daily matters, so you have the time and space to think strategically.

Two: Sales is Too Reliant on You

One of the most significant issues is when salespeople are too dependent on their owners. Sometimes, the owner must tell them what to do every step of the way to enable them to close a deal. This can affect your team negatively as well as relationships with customers. If you are too involved and are suddenly called away, customer opportunities could be stalled, forgotten, or worst of all end. Your team and clients should not be so reliant on you to close deals.

Three: You Aren’t Good at Sales

Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a unique “type” of person or leader who can succeed at sales. That being said, there are plenty of people who are not good at sales. This usually has less to do with inherent traits and more to do with what one values in a role. Often owners are more focused on other departments or hold more value in roles such as operations, finance, or engineering.

It could also be that when you were first starting out, you had to be good at several roles, but your passion for sales was forced and not where your interests lie. Or perhaps when you started, the market demand for your products and services was high, and you didn’t need to hone you “selling skills” to truly ‘sell’ to generate revenue.

If you struggle to communicate well with your sales team, often get off task, or you aren’t prioritizing sales activities, you may not be good at leading sales.

Four: You Do Not Have a Background in Sales

Many owners have not come up through sales and do not have a passion for it. If this is you, it may be time to do what’s best for your team and hire a sales leader.

Ask Yourself These Questions

If you are still on the fence about hiring a sales leader, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you good at sales?
  • Do you have time for the coaching, one-on-one sessions, sales team meetings, etc.?
  • Do you have the desire to coach your sales team?

If you answered “no” to any of these you may seriously want to consider hiring someone for that role.

Hiring a Player-coach

There are several ways to hire for this role. The first one is the player-coach.

Some companies are not big enough to justify the salary of a leader alone. So, what do you do? Start by asking whether it’s more important to your company to have a sales leader improve the team, or a seller that can generate revenue.

Keep in mind the player-coach role is one of the most demanding jobs out there and by far one of the most poorly executed ones. If you want to find out more on player-coaches, check out our blog, “How Effective is a Player-Coach Sales Leader?

Hiring a Fractional Sales Leader

A fractional sales leader is an excellent choice if you want someone who can join your company ready to jump in without the expensive price tag that comes with finding and hiring this individual. But you’ll want to keep in mind that they are a temporary solution.

If you want to know more about Fractional sales leaders, check out our blog, “How To Benefit From A Fractional Sales Leader.”

Hire a Sales Leader

Once you realize your business is too reliant on you, or you’re not very good at being a sales leader, or you don’t have a background in sales and don’t want a player-coach, then it’s time to hire a sales leader.

When you decide to hire a sales leader, you need to make sure you look at the specifics of what you and your organization needs. If you want to know more about hiring the best sales leader, check out our blog, “Did You Hire The Right Sales Leader?

Hiring a sales leader is a big decision, one that may allow your company to grow in a way it cannot today. If you have any of these signs, now might just be time to hire a sales leader.

About Gary Braun

Gary is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 20+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Gary has been a guest speaker for many groups such as Vistage, Allied Executives, CEO Roundtable, Sales Management Association, and more. If you want to find out more about Gary check out his profile here.
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