For all our brother and sister startups out there, I feel you.
Sales Operations (or Sales Ops) functions are shockingly vital for growth strategy. Hire too early and you’re wasting money on high powered talent that is more torque than you need. Hire too late and you lose a lot of business.
Sales Ops is the jet fuel on a fire that you’ve already got burning. Will the fire continue to burn without it? Yeah, but it could burn so much brighter.
When should you hire a Director of Sales Ops?
At this point in your journey you have the fabled “product-market-fit.” You also have a few solid sales wins under your belt with a fledgling sales team just hitting it out of the park.
Everything seems fine – that’s the dangerous part.
After raising a Series B round (or possibly a big Series A) it’s time to scale. Product-market-fit and those sales wins got you this far, but the game has changed. New skills are needed when focus shifts to scalability and growth. Processes and procedures matter more than the results themselves. Leveraging in-house data has all of a sudden gotten important. Your advisors are saying: “So what you got three sales, but how do you get three hundred?”
This is when you should hire a Director of Sales Ops.
Why hire a Director of Sales Ops?
To get to Series C, you need to understand what KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) got you this far – they’re needed to recreate the sales process on an individual and team level.. Your CFO will have an eye on costs and top line revenue. Sales Ops Directors will fill in the gaps between costs and revenue. Try answering some of these questions without a Director of Sales Ops:
- What activities drive revenue? How do we replicate those activities?
- Which KPIs need to be tweaked?
- How do we predict revenue when growing into a new market? With which activities?
Your Director of Sales Ops will be the right-hand-person for your Director of Sales writing the playbook strategy that Sales is executing. Remember forecasting means predictable revenue – which is a huge value add for your soon-to-be Series C investors.
Founders and early team-members make some great sales. But they don’t see the process, the parts that are repeatable. Sales Directors can teach the sales methods, but they don’t have the ability to see which methods need to be ramped up, toned down, or remade for your business model’s needs.
Getting to $2M in revenue takes product-market-fit and good sales basics. Getting to $20M in revenue requires a process and a structure that is replicable and the data to support it. That means Sales Ops.
Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the risks
So I’m not compelling enough for you? Let’s look at the risks of not hiring a Director of Sales Ops at the right time.
First, figuring out scalability on your own without experience burns through cash. Churn jumps up and so does internal turnover. The sales process is left in an inefficient state and your best salespeople get burnt out since their efforts are producing increasingly lower results.
Without a Director of Sales Ops, you’ll have a hard time predicting revenue. No startup CEO should be surprised by quarterly P&Ls when they’re focusing on scale.
Lastly, you’ll have a hard time raising a next round. Sales Operations is what fills in the picture of LTV (Lifetime Value) of a customer, sales funnel, and customer journey. Investors demand this sort of metrics-driven scalability.
Remember Salespeople hit quotas, Sales Ops People build processes. You need both.
Want to map out your plan to Sales Operations success? Contact us today.