Book a call

Hiring a Sales Leader vs Hiring a Fractional Sales Leader

#founders #fractional sales leadership #salesframework
Hand tossing a coin with heading Hiring a fulltime sales leader vs a fractional sales leader

Are you thinking about hiring a sales leader? Have you wished to be out of the sales function in your business and have someone else take ownership of sales? We share our thoughts about why you should hire a sales leader, and why you would consider a fractional sales leader as an alternative.

Our sales and sales leadership knowledge is based on 20-30 years of 10 different sales leaders’ experiences in leading high-performance sales teams selling a complex solution to infrequent buyers. We have over 200 years of sales leadership expertise in one place.

We know how to build and manage high-performance sales teams. We address 2 questions in this article:

  1. Why would one decide to hire a Sales Leader?
  2. Why should I consider a Fractional Sales Leader instead of a fulltime Sales Leader?

Why hire a new Sales Leader?

Is it the right time to hire a sales leader? We recognise the reason to hire a new sales leader is different depending on your circumstances. The most common reasons to hire a new sales leader are:

Founders/Owners are Time Constrained

Typically this is triggered when the sales team is too large for the Founder/Owner/MD (you) to manager personally. The time commitment is too great, especially given the other responsibilities you must manage. This trigger may occur when the sales team is very small and when you have too many other responsibilities impacting on your time.

Technical Founders do not have a Sales Leadership Capability

This requires tremendous self-awareness. We see many of you reach this conclusion when you recognise a sales rep “hire-fire cycle” and realise this can’t always be due to the reps. Remember sales leadership is a very different skill than direct sales.

Replacement of a Sales Leader

It might be a replacement that drives you to hire a new sales leader. Did they leave voluntarily or where they pushed due to non-performance? What will be different for the new Sales Leader?

Restructure of the business

A restructure often drives you to hire a new sales leader. A restructure often leads to sales being considered a more important and more highly funded and resourced part of the business requiring its own business leader.

Expansion of the business

New geographies or new industries or new product lines often lead to the need to appoint a sales leader for that new sales unit.

Mergers and acquisitions leads to a new Sales Team

When two or more companies come together under one umbrella, the sales team may be larger and require new sales leadership. It is also often a time where sales leaders may no longer be right for the new business.

Diversity of Executive Experience and Mentor your Sales Leader

Many technology based organisations have all technically focused people on the executive team. Often a promising sales rep may be considered a future sales leader and executive. In both cases, it might be a trigger for you to engage the services of new sales leader to diversify organisational thinking and to mentor future sales leaders.

Why hire a Fractional Sales Leader?

If you are hiring a new sales leader, why consider a fractional sales leader? Let’s explore each of the areas covered in the previous section on the reasons for hiring a sales leader.

Founders/Owners are Time Constrained

Your business may not require a full-time person to cover the time required to lead the sales team. A fractional sales leader makes sense from as little as 1 day per month to 3 days per week.

Technical Founders do not have a Sales Leadership Capability

The capability you seek in your business to enhance sales leadership may not require a full time sales leader for the next few years. We have experience in enhancing this capability in 3 to 6 months and leaving the business with a new found capability to build and manage a high performance sales team.

Restructure or replacement of the Sales Leader

For a replacement, consider if the role does need to be full time. For a restructure, the tenure might only need to be months rather than years.

Expansion of the business

Expansion is always a tricky situation for you as you look to grow revenue in new markets. We have had some customers take their proven local sales leader and move them to the new territory while we backfilled the old role on a fractional basis. We have also worked as the sales leader in the new territory on a fractional basis, and freed up capital to spend on additional sales and marketing team members to enable faster traction in the new territory.

Mergers and acquisitions leading to a new Sales Team

M&A is always a tricky area to navigate. Salespeople can get spooked with change and often the good reps are the first to go by their own choice. Transparency is key and we have played the role as an independent fractional sales leader tasked with enabling the combined team to deliver revenue in a predictable, sustainable manner. We manage the merged sales team through the existing leaders whilst creating a new structure and sales framework.

Diversity of Executive Experience and Mentor your Sales Leader

Diversity of thought does not require a full-time sales leader. This can easily be achieved through the engagement of a fractional sales leader. Mentoring a new or emerging sales leaders also requires a fractional rather than full-time sales leader.

Business case for hiring a Fractional Sales Leader

The main reason to hire fulltime instead of a fractional sales leader is the simple fact it is a fulltime role and requires at least 5 days a week of effort to do the role. In most instances this is due to the size of the sales team and the number of sales reps/territories to be managed (typically >8). In other instances the role is greater than a sales leader and may including marketing or other business functions to require a fulltime role.

The case FOR hiring a fractional sales leader includes:

Cost of a fulltime Sales Leader vs a Fractional Sales Leader

For the expense of a fulltime sales leader you can hire a fractional sales leader and two sales reps. The business case also makes sense when entering a new territory/geography. Why hire a fulltime country manager and ask them to be a direct sales rep for 6 months? Hire a fractional sales leader and two sales reps, then hire your country manager in 6 months.

Intellectual property including a proven Sales Framework

A fractional sales leader will bring a proven sales framework that is implemented as part of their engagement. This leaves your organisation with the framework to use for years to come. This is often not a priority for a fulltime sales leader.

Ecosystem of other Fractional Executives

Fractional sales leaders are not trying to be everything to your business. They know that every business they work with requires a variety of services outside their expertise. They have an extensive network of partners that you can leverage (from recruiting and marketing to fractional CMOs, CFOs and HR Directors).

Breadth of experience of the Sales Leader

A fractional sales leader provides their sales leadership services to a number of organisations across the year. This provides a much greater breadth of experience over a sales leader moving from one business to another every 3-10 years. I remember one business leader saying we really had 30 years of experience versus another fulltime candidate who had one year of experience repeated 10 times.

Mentoring your Sales Leader

Fast track the experience of your sales leader through mentoring from a fractional sales leader. Your sales leader drives the team while their mentor fast tracks a sales framework and expertise gleaned from their experience.

Support your Sales Leader

When the sales team gets too big or complex for your sales leader to handle (time constraint), then consider a fractional sales leader to supplement the sales leader and conduct tasks such as qualification meetings and deal reviews. This might also include a fractional sales leader to lead an emerging sales team in its infancy.

Additional reasons for hiring a Fractional Sales Leader

Hiring a fractional sales leader opens up additional options for growing the sales team. Here are a few additional triggers that led to the appointment of a fractional sales leader.

  • The Founder is doing sales but just does not like it. Hiring a fractional sales leader enables you to spread the available capital across a fractional sales leader and two new sales reps to create an instant sales team that will develop into a high-performance team.
  • Sales teams can just be broken and need some new insights to become un-broken. A fractional sales leader will diagnose the issues, recommend a plan to fix and then execute on that plan.
  • Organisations with global sales teams can have some high-performance teams and some not so high-performance teams. A fractional sales leader can look across all the teams and will diagnose the issues, recommend a plan to fix and then execute on that plan to drive global excellence.
  • Organisations with global sales teams can have an inconsistent approach to sales leadership across the business. A fractional sales leader from Sales Director Central can implement a global and consistent sales leadership framework to drive global excellence.

Our team of experienced Fractional Sales Leaders covers all the scenarios above.

If you would like to discuss any aspect above feel free to book a meeting with me.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.