5 key benefits of interim and fractional leadership for scaling companies

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No matter their size, stage or product, all tech companies scaling from Series A to Series B share one thing in common: a desire for painless growth. In a competitive race full of twists and turns, interim and fractional leadership is a cost-effective risk-free solution that drives your company to the next fundraising stage. Here are the 5 key scaling benefits.

1. More cost-effective talent

Hiring C-Level commercial talent is usually a battle between quality and affordability, but the interim and fractional (I/F) model blows that trade-off out the water. Whereas a full-time commercial leader will command a salary north of £200,000pa (without taking into account the recruitment costs), a fractional leader works a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost.

  • Affordability – Scaling companies are fast-moving and may not need a top-drawer senior commercial leader full-time, but with interim or fractional you only pay for what you need. 
  • Quality – The interim and fractional model gives scaling companies access to exceptional talent that would either have been unaffordable or forced drawbacks elsewhere to accommodate the spend. 
  • Availability – Our May 2022 survey found that 93% of senior b2b tech leaders are thinking about pursuing a fractional career, so scale-ups will have the broadest choice of top talent available. 

2. Quicker process

Hiring great commercial talent to lead your sales, marketing, revenue or customer success function speeds up your scaling journey, but lengthy hiring processes and changing needs can inhibit growth. The interim and fractional model eradicates these issues by providing flexible talent who make an instant impact.

  • Recruitment – 63% of senior b2b tech leaders find hiring a senior commercial leader takes six months+, but an interim or fractional placement takes 3-4 weeks and can be outsourced to specialists. 
  • Onboarding – Instead of waiting for the full-time hire to find their feet and start putting a plan into action, an interim or fractional leader is used to making an instant impact and hits the ground running. 
  • Focus – As fractional leaders have a narrower brief than the broad remit of their full-time equivalent, they can act faster and focus on a clear set of objectives.

3. Less risky

Full-time hires are laced with risk. From hiring someone too senior for the nitty-gritty tasks of scaling reality to taking on someone that upsets company culture, getting a full-time hire wrong is a costly (and sometimes terminal) mistake for scaling companies. According to Scalewise’s May 2022 survey, more than four-fifths (83%) of b2b tech leaders find hiring senior commercial roles hard or really hard, but the interim and fractional model removes the risk.

  • Contract – A bad hire can take 12-24 months to rectify and cost the company up to 27 times the person’s salary, but interim and fractional leaders join on a short-term basis with no strings attached (and have a contract with Scalewise, not your company). 
  • Skills – Instead of hiring the wrong skill set or realising you need a leader with new skills 12 months down the line, an interim or fractional leader is hired for the exact skills you need at that point in time. 
  • Culture – Maintaining a carefully-honed culture is difficult as you scale, but as interim and fractional leaders are short-term external hires, they don’t disrupt the team dynamic and avoid office politics.

4. External insight

While preserving a distinct culture and ethos is important, scaling companies don’t want decisions to become siloed and tunnel vision thinking to creep in. An interim or fractional leader brings an external perspective, removes pressure on the CEO and analyses problems objectively.

  • PerspectiveInterim and fractional leaders’ outsider status removes the chance of burnt-out status-quo thinking, enabling them to objectively make swift strategic decisions. 
  • Stress – Instead of spending time looking for a full-time hire and covering commercial functions in the interim, the short turnaround for hiring an interim or fractional leader minimises disruption to the current leadership’s daily functions and reduces stress. 
  • Alignment – Instead of joining with a wide-ranging brief, cross-departmental responsibilities and promotion aspirations, interim and fractional leaders join with a set of pre-agreed tasks and are already aligned with the CEO’s vision.

5. Experienced guide

How many people in your leadership team have scaled a company before? Wouldn’t it be great to leverage the know-how of an experienced guide to show you the ropes? Like having Federer on your shoulder as you play tennis, interim and fractional leaders are seasoned experts who have scaled companies just like yours.

  • Insight – Stacked with knowledge and experience of working with other scaling businesses, interim and fractional leaders can implement processes, offer advice and solve issues that help you avoid the pitfalls your competitors will fall into. 
  • Unknown – Be it selling to a new customer segment, expanding into a new territory or launching a new product launch, heading into the unknown is much easier with a seasoned interim or fractional guide leading the way. 
  • Fire-fighting – Interim or fractional leaders are not only expert fire-fightes – putting out the immediate risk to your business – but they will also diagnose the structural issues, build the foundations and train up the internal team to get back on track.

Scaling in a downturn

With a recession looming, the choppy waters of scaling have become even more treacherous. For companies looking to grow in the next few years, hiring interim or fractional leaders can help you navigate the path to the next fundraising stage.

To find out more about interim and fractional leadership, check out our Definitive Guide to Interim and Fractional Leadership.

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