Global Hiring

Scaling Sales: How to Grow Your Sales Team on a Budget

September 28, 2023

You’ve invested time and effort into nurturing relationships with potential customers. Your product team seems to have nailed down your product offering. And some leads have even started to trickle in. 

But you can’t seem to shake off a question that seems to pop up in your mind's eye at the most inconvenient times:

How do I convert these prospects into loyal customers while operating within a tight budget?

Yes, you need a sales team. But you also need to scale the team, deploy new processes and resources, and meet the business's and your customers' growing demands. 

Growing a sales team is no walk in the park. Rush the process, and you risk bleeding talent faster than one can say, Barbenheimer. 

Aaron Ross, former Salesforce Executive and the visionary founder of Predictable Revenue Inc., has an insightful take on this issue: 

“Sales teams fall into two distinct categories: the builders and the growers. Builders are the architects who lay the foundation, establish processes, and troubleshoot challenges, while growers are the virtuosos who take existing sales materials, processes, and systems and elevate them to new heights of success.”

This article outlines some steps in building and growing a formidable sales force in line with Ross' views. One that doesn't just meet quotas but exceeds them while preserving the ethos of your company culture and staying within your budget. Let’s dive in.

The Building: Find Out What You Need

Knowing your needs and expectations from a scaled sales team is vital to expanding your sales operations. This crucial first step lays the foundation for a strategic and well-executed growth plan. It is essential for several reasons. 

For one, it enables you to hire individuals with the right skills and expertise, implement well-defined sales processes, and provide the necessary tools and training.

Also, a clear understanding of your needs and expectations guides resource allocation. 

Scaling a sales team involves significant investments in hiring, training, technology, and operational costs. By pinpointing your needs, you can ensure you invest resources where it matters most. This prevents wasteful spending and ensures every dollar you spend contributes directly to your growth objectives.

It also aligns your sales strategy with your broader business goals. 

Your sales team is the driving force behind revenue generation and market expansion. By defining your needs and expectations, you ensure the growth of your sales team is in sync with your overall business strategy. This alignment maximizes the impact of your sales efforts on your bottom line.

Here are some key questions to answer:

  • What are your growth goals?
  • How many people will you require to scale the team?
  • What sort of experience will you look out for?
  • What skills and expertise do you need?
  • What sales processes are in place?
  • What tools and technology are necessary?
  • How will you measure success?

The Building: Set Your Milestones

Once you've precisely identified your needs and expectations for a scaled sales team, the next crucial step is to set clear and achievable goals. 

This process is critical, transforming your vision into actionable targets that give your team focus, motivation, and a measurable path to success.

“I like to follow some guiding principles like “define your key outcomes” from the start. Let those drive every decision the team makes. Establish the “how” with clear guidelines to help the team as they work toward those desired outcomes,” says Ken Dooley, Director of Inside Sales, DigitalOcean.

Sales team goals can revolve around various factors, including:

  • Revenue targets 
  • Customer acquisition 
  • Market expansion
  • Customer lifetime value and more. 

These goals are benchmarks for evaluating progress and ensuring your sales team's growth aligns with your overarching business objectives.

For instance, you can set a goal to increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR) by 25% over the next six months. While this is a significant first step, breaking the objective into smaller, manageable bits is crucial. 

Doing so allows you to measure progress and keep the team accountable and motivated. One way to do this is to work to increase MRR by 4.17% month on month for the next six months. You should have an overall MRR increase of 25% in six months.

The Building: Hire the Right People

For ReviewTracker’s VP of Sales, Jeff Pearlman, hiring the right people is one of the critical pillars of scaling a sales team. 

“It all starts with hiring the right people,” he says. “We look for people who are curious, collaborative, and competitive. Our culture avoids micromanagement at all costs, which means the people we hire must be autonomous and highly self-motivated.” 

Hiring has to be strategic and focused, starting with mapping out the structure of your sales team and the roles you need to fill. Here are the positions that make up a standard sales team:

  • Sales Development Representatives (SDRs): They specialize in broadening your reach and delivering a list of Sales-Qualified Leads (SQLs) to your Account Executives, paving the way for potential deals.
  • Account Executives: These team members excel in building rapport with SQLs, delving into their needs and challenges, and presenting your product/service as the ideal solution.
  • Customer Success Executives: After a successful sale, the Customer Success reps take the reins. And become the primary point of contact for clients. They help them understand how best to use the product.

After determining the structure of your sales team, you also want to identify the kind of salespeople to hire. 

There are generic traits to look out for, as Stan Massueras, Director of EMEA Sales, Intercom, notes, “I think right now, a successful salesperson is someone who can do both (blend art and science). Someone who is very articulate, who can create content, can command an audience but who also has a fundamental understanding of modern communication tools like SalesLoft and Intercom.”

Beyond generic traits, you also want to identify specific characteristics salespeople need to succeed at your company. Sometimes, these traits overlap with the baseline characteristics. And sometimes they don’t. 

“We also hire people with a history of high performance, a passion for our mission, and a competitive drive to win. Emotional intelligence and IQ are equally important. A knowledge of the industry is also a plus,” says Happy Returns Co-founder and CEO David Sobie. 

Here are some more hiring best practices to keep in mind, including some that could help you stay within your budget:

  • Prioritize Hiring Account Executives First: Begin your hiring process by hiring Account Executives (AEs). They play a pivotal role in deal closure and can mean the difference between money in the bank early on and zilch. You can then reinvest the revenue to expand the sales team. 
  • Monitor AE Performance Closely: Keep a vigilant eye on the performance of your AEs. While performance metrics may vary based on your startup's unique circumstances, a general guideline is that proficient and motivated AEs should aim to close approximately 45% of leads in the pipeline. Establishing the proper benchmark is critical for a strong start.
  • Build a Diverse Sales Team: Diversity in your sales team is vital unless your product is highly niche and localized. Aim to assemble a sales team with varied backgrounds and experiences, capable of engaging with a global audience and understanding the distinct needs of different cultures. This diversity enables you to position your product effectively and can ultimately save you money by broadening your market reach.

The Growing: Onboarding Your Sales Team

94% of sales leaders say hiring and onboarding are critical to enabling sales reps to hit their targets. Almost half (47%) of sales reps have left a job because of subpar onboarding or a lack of training. 

These data points show how much a poor onboarding process can undermine your efforts to scale your sales team. It not only stifles your reps' performance but also creates a culture of high turnover.

On the other hand, effective onboarding ensures new hires understand their roles, responsibilities, and how they fit into the larger sales strategy. It also accelerates productivity by equipping new team members with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to start contributing quickly.

What should you seek to achieve with your onboarding process? 

You want to provide clear expectations and responsibilities from day one. 

Your onboarding process should also offer comprehensive training that covers product knowledge, sales techniques, and company culture. Ongoing support and feedback mechanisms are also vital to helping new hires settle in. 

Sales onboarding/training templates from HubSpot can help create an onboarding plan.

As James Clear says, “You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

To create a system that ensures your sales team feels supported and championed in their efforts to bring in new business, focus on: 

  • Streamlined Processes: Beyond hiring, identify process bottlenecks and areas that need improvement. Look for tasks that tend to fall through the cracks or become burdensome. Then, explore opportunities to enhance these processes through learning, outsourcing, or automation.
  • Software Adoption: To empower your sales team, merge human expertise with the proper software support. This fusion can revitalize your sales team's effectiveness. 

Consider implementing tools like project management software such as Asana and Trello for seamless workflows and CRM systems like HubSpot and Zoho to manage leads and clients efficiently. Also, explore tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Lead generation, Grammarly for written communication, and other specialized software tailored to optimize the onboarding process for sales teams and provide ongoing support.

The Growing: Training and Upskilling Your Sales Team

Scaling your sales team isn’t about recruiting superstars and leaving them to work their magic — no great sales team rises that way.

You have to ensure they continue to hone their skills and stay abreast of changing customer behaviors, emerging technologies, and market trends through continuous learning. This way, they remain agile problem solvers, effective communicators, and trusted advisors to your customers.

When planning your training programs, adopting a mentorship model over mass training is better. 

Unlike one-size-fits-all training sessions, mentorship offers personalized guidance and support tailored to individual needs. For instance, experienced team members can share real-world insights, offer targeted advice, and address specific challenges that new or less-experienced salespeople may face.

This personalized approach accelerates skill development, builds confidence, and fosters a more profound sense of connection and trust within the team. And you end up with a team of effective and confident sales professionals.

Matthew Capello, Regional Vice President of Sales, Rapid7, best explains, “We also recognize that effective sales training is not a one-shoe-fits-all approach. Each seller who joins Rapid7 is at a different stage in their journey, and each stage requires a different approach.”

“We pride ourselves on being flexible and adapting to the requirements of our sellers in order to provide relevant training based on their skill sets. We have a coach-first mentality, which creates a trusting relationship throughout the organization,” he adds. 

The Growing: Supporting Yourself

Startup life means becoming engrossed in the daily hustle and bustle of building and scaling a sales team. And amid all the chaos, it's not uncommon to overlook seeking the right support and resources to excel in this crucial role. 

But this can hinder you and your team.

You must have the right knowledge, skills, and tools to build and scale a sales team successfully. This includes seeking training and mentorship from experienced professionals who can provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your unique challenges.

Also, leveraging the right software solutions can help scale your sales team. 

Advanced HR and talent management software can streamline the hiring process, help you identify and onboard global talent effectively, and provide the necessary tools for remote team management. 

These solutions save time, simplify the hiring process, and ensure access to a global talent pool, allowing you to assemble a diverse sales team.

Easily Scale Your Sales Team with Remofirst

In the fast-paced world of startups, every resource, tool, and growth opportunity matters. As you start scaling your sales team, one invaluable resource you don't want to overlook is Remofirst.

Remofirst provides you with the means to access sales talent seamlessly and efficiently. It simplifies hiring remote employees, ensures compliance with international regulations, and allows you to focus on what truly matters — scaling your sales team and achieving your business goals.

Learn more about how Remofirst can help you scale your sales team. With same-day onboarding, competitive pricing, and a global reach spanning 160+ countries, Remofirst isn’t just another employer of record; it’s the perfect partner for accessing international talent.