We are working with a company that is in a unique, and we’d say enviable, position – they have no sales organization!   They are a fast growing firm with a powerful array of products and services they are introducing to the market and have gotten this far largely by relationships and market savvy.  To get to the next revenue level however they have realized a formalized selling model is necessary.

No sales team at all is frankly a better situation than what faces many companies we see.  More often the problem is weak sales leadership, struggling sales teams and absent sales process.  Unwinding that kind of mess is harder in many respects than starting from scratch.  Instead of dealing with the personal and programmatic issues of a bad sales team, this company has the luxury of starting from a blank slate.

If you’re a CEO at a company without a sales team what would you do in this situation?  Here are three suggestions to consider:

Create Leads First

Sales people need leads to have something productive to do.  Most sales reps are also terrible at creating their own leads.  Rather than hiring reps and assuming they will start to fill the funnel (the traditional approach), invest in best-practice demand generation and get the lead flow started.  That gives the reps immediate opportunities to tackle once they do come on board (and it also strengthens the recruiting message while you’re recruiting and interviewing).

Rethink The Sales Team

The roles and responsibilities of the traditional sales team don’t cut the mustard in today’s world.  Sales managers today must be highly technology conversant in areas such as SEO, marketing automation, social media and disruptive strategies.  For their part, reps stuck in the ‘80’s relationship sellingparadigm are falling further and further behind.  (See more on this by reading up on the Challenger Sale).  If you have the luxury of starting your sales team from scratch, redefine the roles and responsibilities for today’s selling model, only then worry about hiring the people to fill those roles.

Sales as a Service

Why hire if you can source?  Processes far more complex than sales are outsourced to great degrees of success by companies around the world, big and small.  Rather than go through the headaches and expense of hiring a sales leader and a selling team, consider an outsourced sales model.  B2B Sales has become a highly technical process and the talent that can execute it well is hard to find.   What you want are revenues, not a Sales function, so take some time and investigate the options of this approach.

Have you had the opportunity to start Sales from scratch? We’d love to hear your thoughts on it.