How to scale your sales team above 50 people? — by Ryan Burke, SVP Sales at InVision

Ryan Burke, SVP at InVision — Scale your sales team from 1 to 50 — B2B Rocks 2018

Make sure to read the first two article before this one:

Stage three, things are gonna change!

First off: congrats! If you’ve made it to twenty-five to fifty sales folks, you’ve got something. And that’s something to celebrate and be proud of.

Things will break

All the bubble gum and sticky tape that you use to patchwork together, all those processes will start to break.

As you start to evolve your motion, things are gonna break and you’re gonna have to remove the friction again because there will be new friction points at this stage. That’s where you’re gonna have to continue evolve, identify, bring back to the team. Your sales folks are gonna go out gonna have to go back to your team and figure that out.

Identify new friction points

At InVision, people put product prototypes in our product. Super-sensitive IP! And as we started to cater to bigger customers, security was like a big barrier for us. So we invested in it. We’ve got a private cloud offering. We’ve got through certification. All of those things you’ve got to figure out: how that friction is going to evolve as you start to move into bigger at conversations and figure out how you can remove that friction.

Focus on storytelling

Now you’re actually selling. So, this team that you’re building now, they’re actually gonna sell. The difference is nobody cares about your product or your features anymore. All they care about is the output. What are the results of somebody using your product? What are the stories that people are getting from using your product? That’s gonna change the way you hire. Because before, you wanted product managers, now you need storytellers.

We just dit an off-site last week. We’d probably spend $250,000 and training the sales team on storytelling: being able to articulate how other companies are getting value out of your product, being able to tell the stories of the business impact. Nobody cares what your features do at this stage.

Ryan Burke (SVP Sales at InVison) on stage at B2B Rocks 2018

Hire senior who could adapt

As you’re talking to executives, they care about the business results. That’s where you need to hire those folks. You know there’s a little bit of a temptation as you scale to hire senior folks that are coming in with their own playbook and set of skills. You need people that fit your culture and your values. You need to define those and then hire the right people. One of the values that we have on our team is embracing change. I love hiring folks that come in with ten years of experience, but they if they can’t adapt to our process I don’t want their process. We built our process based on our customer, our market, our motion. I don’t want their process! I need folks that can come in and adapt to ours.

Focus on these three “F”:

  • your first five (full article)
  • your foundation (full article)
  • the future (this article)

Keep in mind

  • Remove friction at every step of the process as you identify that customer journey, so you can get those anchor companies on board and leverage the network effect of working with the cool kids.
  • Data and operations earlier than you think. It’s going to be important. You’re gonna need those data points to scale the business.
  • Have a sales team that is focused on offering value every step of the way beyond whatever your software is.
  • Focus on the right behavior. Sales results are great but they don’t matter as much earlier on. Building the muscle on the right behaviors and activities that’s gonna lay the foundation for a scalable business
  • Get the people onboard that fit your profile and that are there for the right reasons. Those are the folks that you want to hire as part of your early sales team and especially as you start to make that shift. Because the shift will happen. You’ll shift from a product sales motion to a value-based sales motion. That’s gonna change the way you scale. It’s gonna change the way you hire and you’ve got to be focused on that
  • All the while, everything’s about your brand. How do you represent your brand to your customers, who are the sales folks that are representing your brand, what is the value you’re offering what does your brand represent

This talk was given at B2B Rocks, the leading European conference for B2B startups. The event is owned and organized by Axeleo.

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