A Tale of Transformation: How Strategic Hiring Revitalized a Sales Team

A business owner was increasingly frustrated with his sales team’s passive approach to sales. The team had become “order takers,” and in the owner’s opinion they weren’t putting in the effort to create and close new opportunities.

After cycling through yet another sales leader, the owner decided he had to get some first-hand experience to understand why these leaders were unsuccessful at changing the reactive sales culture.

It didn’t take long before he ran out of bandwidth as he took on the additional responsibility of sales manager. Adding to the owner’s dilemma was the need to hire at least one additional salesperson to support growth goals on top of eventually finding a new sales leader.

Turnover had left this owner helpless to be able to find the right salespeople. Over recent years the owner sat on the sidelines watching previous sales managers hire what appeared to be promising new reps who turned out to be bad hires.

Significant dollars and time had been wasted.

Deciding that he had had enough of this vicious cycle, the owner knew he needed to fix this situation quickly, but he needed to do it right because the company couldn’t afford to be in this position again. That’s when he decided to work with a proven Fractional VP of Sales whom he could trust to know the best path forward.

After just a couple discussions, the fractional leader helped the owner identify foundational issues within the sales organization causing the lack of success when bringing on new team members.

It became apparent the next sales manager needed help if the top exec was committed to positioning them for success. A much stronger sales infrastructure needed to be developed by someone with an established track record fixing the kind of systemic issues that were hindering success.

The owner saw merit in the fractional sales leader’s recommendation that the next sales manager would have a much better chance of succeeding if they weren’t tasked with designing and building a sales system while being expected to grow revenue at the same time.

Can Fractional Sales Leadership Help Me Get Ahead?

There were several developmental initiatives to work through. The owner and fractional sales leader pooled their wisdom to prioritize them in a way that would have the strongest impact on getting sales goal attainment back on track for the year.

With previous bad sales hires notably hindering sales pipeline growth momentum, it was mutually agreed that focusing on bringing on more sales talent needed to be a top priority.

The difference this time was that the Fractional VP of Sales partnered with the owner to create a different approach to finding “the right” salesperson and retaining them.

The Fractional VP of Sales first guided the exec through a comprehensive process to uncover key characteristics of the ideal salesperson for their unique setting. This also took into account positioning the new hire within the existing sales team structure in a way that would fill key sales gaps while also modeling these missing skills to the other sellers. The objective was to stimulate the current sellers’ desire to “up their game”

Once the fractional resource achieved alignment with the owner on new hire positioning, the owner felt immediate relief by the Fractional VP of Sales taking ownership to lead all aspects of the sales hiring process.

The interim Sales VP leveraged their extended team to source top tier candidates while they focused on preparing strategic interview questions to screen for predetermined skill requirements. Further, sales compensation was refined to attract top talent, motivate the right sales behaviors, and reward achievement that was in sync with company-level goals.

By taking the time to understand “a day in the life" of each sales function, they were able to generate clear expectations and identify the right tools needed for success from the start.However, the action of hiring the next salesperson wasn’t solely to expand sales coverage but also to infuse peak performance mindset into the sales culture.

A key action item toward that initiative was the fractional sales leader working with the owner to revamp the onboarding process and create better sales role clarity for the entire team.

By taking the time to understand “a day in the life” of each sales function, they were able to generate clear expectations and identify the right tools needed for success from the start. This also opened the door to creating new forms of sales enablement to support the tenured sellers as well.

The Fractional VP of Sales also set tangible objectives for the new hire that defined what success looked like during the first 1-6 months in their new position. There were now leading key performance indicators to shed light on how the new hire was ramping into their various responsibilities.

This was critical to enable just-in-time sales coaching that was instrumental in creating the best conditions possible for a successful onboarding outcome.

The owner was ecstatic when they not only secured a high-performance salesperson, but the plan worked! – they were effectively modeling key sales behaviors the owner wanted to see.

As the new hire achieved early success by applying new sales strategies the fractional sales leader had developed, the rest of the team took note. Slowly, some of the seasoned reps began adopting the new approaches and began experiencing success of their own.

As the domino effect continued, other team members began to shift their reactive sales approach to embrace strategies the new hire and early adopters were using, and larger opportunities started entering the sales pipeline.

In just a few months, the owner not only accomplished bringing in a new salesperson who was hitting their onboarding sales targets, but he had also begun the migration to a consultative, accountable, and, most importantly, profitable sales culture.

As the new hire achieved early success by applying new sales strategies the fractional sales leader had developed, the rest of the team took note. For the owner, the transformation was more than just a relief; it was a revelation.

Observing the changes, he found a renewed confidence in his team’s ability to drive growth while he focused on his executive role.

This allowed him the freedom to step back from feeling he needed to micromanage and redirect his attention on strategic growth initiatives. He was even able to start taking vacation time again, something he hadn’t been comfortable doing in years!

This story shows the power of strategic intervention and the profound impact that the right leadership and preparation can have on a team. With clarity of vision and the right resources, even teams stuck in sales mediocrity can be stimulated to transform in the right conditions.

If you are an owner finding yourself in a similar situation, let’s discuss how you can attract the right sales talent and transform your sales organization.

If you’d like to discuss the improvement you’re looking for in your business, contact me at (678)-549-8834 or Michael@toplinesolutions.org or booking a call through my Scheduling Tool.

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I am part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.

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