Sophie's Pearls of Wisdom

Sophie Carter

Sophie Carter

3 Top Tips

Devise a clear strategy
Adapt to the shift early
Invest in the resources you need

3 Mistakes to avoid

Hiring the wrong sales leader
Taking too long to make changes
Not aligning sales and marketing
From devising a clear strategy to embracing change early, ScaleWise Coach and experienced commercial leader Sophie Carter provides her key tips for companies scaling from Series A to Series B.
Hi I’m Sophie Carter and I’m a ScaleWise Coach. I have over 17 years’ commercial experience predominantly in enterprise sales and B2B SaaS with brands such as Microsoft, Sony and Vodafone. I’m the Founder of Tractioners, which helps B2B businesses on their journey from £1m-£10m in revenue, and I’ve worked closely with 15+ VC-backed start-ups and scale-ups in advisory and project-based positions, as well as interim revenue leadership roles. Here’s my 3x3.

3 Tips to embrace

Tip 1: Devise a clear strategy

It might sound simple, but a clear strategy and a detailed execution plan will transform your business and accelerate your transition from Series A to B. That’s because a clear plan ensures every part of your business knows the role they need to play to achieve your Series B targets. It will help you prioritise what’s going on, streamline decision-making and focus day-to-day operations. It will help shift the company from one where everyone is trying to do everything to one where everyone is doing less, but achieving more.

So, how do you do it? Firstly, it’s imperative the strategy has buy-in from across the business. That means input from the whole leadership team, including sales, Customer Success, product and engineering. Secondly, when devising the strategy, look at where you are trying to get to and work backwards - what are the hurdles? For example, if you need to hit £10m ARR - how do you get there? Like a family tree, you will then be able to break down tasks and responsibilities, ensuring everyone is working towards the same end-game.

Tip 2: Adapt to the shift early

Moving from Series A to B changes the focus of a business as what worked before won’t necessarily work now. As you grow, you can’t get everyone in a room and thrash out a scrappy plan. You need to implement more process and structure. You need to document meetings and tasks. You also need to make an emotional shift, especially when it comes to people.

At Series A, a lot of your team are generalists - rolling up their sleeves when needed. At Series B, you need specialists - people with specific skill sets and extensive experience to help you prove you’re scalable and repeatable. This can be tough as people who've been hugely instrumental up to this point may not have a role moving forward or need to change their role. However, the earlier you accept the natural shift and adapt, the better.

Tip 3: Invest in the resources you need

To adapt quickly, you need to invest in the resources you need. As people ultimately dictate the success of your business, you should firstly spend time building your hiring and onboarding capabilities, so that you can attract great talent and then support them to be successful once they join. You also want to invest in the right tools and resources to help your teams optimise their time, such as investing in SalesOps. For example, instead of the Head of Sales being responsible for CRM, you need someone who is an expert on HubSpot or Salesforce; someone the sales and marketing team can access quickly and easily.

Secondly, to build repeatable and scalable processes, you need to be able to effectively measure your output. If you know what’s working, you can invest further and enhance the results. If not, you can use data to pinpoint the problems instead of using gut instinct. Understanding the KPIs that matter and tracking them on a regular basis is crucial.

3 Mistakes to avoid

Mistake 1: Hiring the wrong sales leader

Hiring the wrong sales leader is a common problem that’s a nightmare to fix. All too often, companies get excited by big company experience and impressive industry contacts, but what they actually need is a sales leader for their current stage of business. Moving to Series B, that’s someone who knows how to build a solid sales engine, can set up a pipeline process, can write a playbook in their sleep and coach a team successfully.

Plumping for gravitas when you need sales fundamentals can have a 12-24 months impact by the time your costly hire has bedded in, you’ve realised they’re not right and you’ve acted on it. Instead, consider getting an interim leader in. Someone with incredible experience who can get up to speed in weeks not months and can have a game-changing impact on your business.

Mistake 2: Taking too long to make changes

Act yesterday. Whether it’s correcting a mistake or doubling down on a benefit, companies that act quickly are best placed to deliver the traction that Series B investors want to see. Having a team aligned to a clear strategy speeds up the decision-making process and enables companies to react quicker as if something isn’t pushing the strategy forward, it’s easier to spot and change with universal buy-in.

Acting quickly also requires efficient monitoring. That not only means having the right processes and metrics in place, but also looking at the data regularly and making fast data-led decisions. For example, if you set up regular 1-1s with sales to monitor the pipeline, you will learn if it’s blocked earlier and can take the appropriate measures to change course.

Mistake 3: Not aligning sales and marketing

Yes, yes, it’s obvious - it’s probably what comes up in Google if you search ‘scaling advice from Series A to B’ - but it happens time and again. Sales and marketing must be aligned. You need to think of them as one and measure them as such. That not only means knowing how sales and marketing fit together, but having clear OKRs, linked KPIs and a
top level dashboard to measure success.

Alignment also ends the blame game. Picture the scene: sales are underperforming, but the sales lead points the finger at marketing for not generating enough leads. The marketing department claims the sales team is squandering the events and content produced for them. Who’s right? On the flip side, uniting both teams behind a clear set of buyer personas and creating a joint plan for targeting them ensures there are plenty of collaborative meetings reviewing progress and regular feedback loops. The result? Collective accountability and collective success.

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