The Sales Enablement Needed to Scale for Growth
Your company has created initial momentum and success. There’s a lot of excitement. How can you replicate this on a broader scale? Scaling for growth is about translating your initial success to a broader set of resources. You’ve figured out the product market, and now it’s time to take things bigger. Here are some best practices and worst practices we’ve seen for companies scaling for growth:
What Doesn’t Work When Scaling for Growth
A damaging approach to scaling is the idea that “All we need to do is hire the right people. If we don’t hire the right people, we’ll fire them.” This approach leaves success up to individual contributors to figure out. There is no focus on sales process, messaging, or coaching because you’re relying on hiring the “right” people to figure it out. This approach usually looks like hiring people as fast as you can and putting them in a territory with no sense of best practice that can be replicated. It’s often up to the seller to figure out the new messaging. This leads to an inconsistent messages and success rate across your sales team.
Another common mistake scaling for growth is moving too fast. A company has success with a persona or an an industry segment, then may move too quickly to all the segments or audiences without validating the engagement strategy to a point that it can be replicated across the sales team. If the sales message isn’t right, the sales team won’t be confident delivering a new message.
What got your company to this point won’t get you to the next goal. Technology superiority won’t win the day forever. There will be fast followers; others will copy. To scale the business, you have to engage in the customer development process - transforming from a product led growth business to focusing more on clients. In a PLG, product led growth company, everything is about the product. With that mindset, scaling the sales team is still all about the product. At a certain point companies realize they have to tell a company story that addresses market issues, business challenges & opportunities, not product features, functionalities, and demos. It’s a challenge for product led companies to scale and become and enterprise business, especially when when company leadership is technical.
To go to the next level as a SaaS company, there has to be investment in sales and marketing best practices, alignment, and articulating best practices. A big challenge for product led growth companies is struggling to commercialize with customers. Leadership may not support foundational investments to equip the sales team, instead favoring leading with product demos and technical capabilities. While that can be a great place to start for early adopters, as your company tries to expand, the ability to lead a business value sales conversation becomes very important.
A Proven Way to Scale for Growth
Unpack what good looks like. Create a competency model to determine requirements to replicate in hiring practices. Profile of the individual and the customer engagement strategy. What should salespeople know? What should they do? What should they say? What should they show? We’ve found that a playbook approach is the best way to replicate these best practices across your team.
In an ideal world, a cross-functional product, marketing, sales can come together to debate the sales message. Core sales team members take that message out to existing customers and prospects for validation. Get their feedback & validation before rolling out the sales message to the whole team. Creating repeatable messaging is the best strategy. To scale for growth, you may need to slow down to go fast. It may take an extra 60-90 days to create the right strategy and enablement, but the payback is considerable when your sales team has the confidence and capability to execute in the right way. We often hear, “I wish we had slowed things down and made the right investments. We’re moving so fast, and we’re not doing anything right.”
Take a step by step approach to expanding to new personas and industries. Build content, tools, and training for a new segment before assigning 50 salespeople to the new segment without setting them up for success. Prove out the message, stories to tell, and the engagement strategy before moving to new segments. It’s also important to bring the voice of the customer into the organization. What are the customer’s requirements? Goals? Challenges? A customer development model (versus a product development model) engages in discovery, offering the customer insights in terms of their current world and the challenges that exist. To have success scaling for growth companies need a foundational sales process. Aligning around the right set of activities is important. It will give salespeople the highest probability of success. Many companies are using guided selling, giving new salespeople the step by step action for success.
Mangers need to coach to the strategy. One of the most overlooked aspects is coaching to the process and coaching to to the message to support the strategy. A manager’s coaching conversations accelerate scalability. Also create a sense of urgency with the sales team by setting ambitious goals and communicating well around the goals. Get everyone motivated to obtain the stretch goals.
The best sales education tolls are “evergreen,” always relevant and always improving. In a company that’s driving scalability, this becomes five times more important. The sales messaging needs to be informed by all the new learning across the company. A continuous learning approach is necessary to continue capturing and sharing those best practices.
Consultation with DSG
Are you scaling for growth? DSG has 25 years experience working with B2B companies to accelerate sales mastery and adoption of sales messaging. In a brief web meeting we can:
Share a sales playbook example from a relevant industry
Show example metrics and impact on deal time and size, number of deals that other companies are seeing
Share requirements and example agendas for experiential, virtual, and on-demand training