Hiring a full-time sales leader? It’s time to go fractional

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Better talent, faster results and a simpler process: why scale-ups should hire a fractional sales leader instead of a full-time VP of Sales.

Hiring a full-time sales leader is never easy, but scale-ups may find it even harder over the next few years with rising unit costs, tighter access to funding and demand for top-level sales leaders outstripping supply. Given the average VP of Sales only stays for 19 months, there’s also more pressure to hire a sales leader that makes an immediate impact.

That’s why more and more scale-ups are going fractional. With a fractional leadership model, scale-ups can access better talent in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost.

Better talent

In today’s competitive market, CEO-Founders will need to part with upwards of £200,000 to attract a top-of-the-range sales leader; a salary package that is even harder to justify in a recession.

However, instead of sacrificing quality for affordability, the fractional model allows scale-ups to access exceptional sales leaders they might struggle to afford otherwise. For example, you might hire a fractional VP of Sales to work two days per week for six months. In that time, they can achieve the same results as a full-time sales leader – be it creating and implementing a new sales strategy, training up the SDRs and AEs or redefining the ICP – but for a fraction of a full-time salary.

What’s more, with Scalewise’s May 2022 survey finding that 93% of senior b2b tech leaders are thinking about pursuing a fractional career, scale-ups will increasingly have the pick of the best sales leaders on the market.

Quicker results

Almost two-thirds (63%) of senior commercial hires take at least six months, according to our survey, but even after making the hire, it takes months of onboarding before sales leaders are ready to make their mark.

On the other hand, a fractional sales leader is placed within 3-4 weeks and can make an impact within the first quarter. Not only are fractional sales leaders used to working effectively in a short timeframe, they also don’t have to worry about meeting the wider company, attending to board-level duties or finalising budgets and can focus on the job at hand.

In addition, scale-ups can hire a fractional sales leader with the exact skills they need for that point in time, so no matter how often your company’s needs change – whether in response to growth or market conditions – you have the right leader in place.

Narrower focus

Instead of joining with a wide-ranging brief, intra-departmental responsibilities and one eye on promotion opportunities, a fractional sales leader joins with just a set of pre-agreed tasks. Be it restructuring the sales process, ramping up the sales team or creating a new sales playbook, fractional leaders carry out the pre-determined tasks and aim for KPIs set by the company.

Without a long-term contract or expensive annual salary, the relationship can either be terminated or extended with new targets at the end of the partnership. Scale-ups can even shift the focus to other commercial areas, such as taking on a fractional marketing leader or Customer Success Lead.

During periods of uncertainty, being able to pick and choose leaders with the level of expertise you need is worth its weight in gold.

Simpler process

Finding the right full-time sales leader is hard, especially when a CEO-Founder is hiring a VP of Sales for the first time or has no sales background. But, hiring a fractional sales leader can be outsourced to experts who know exactly what to look for. At Scalewise, we have a wide network of sales leaders to call upon for any scaling challenge. We match them with your company’s needs, culture and leadership style, setting up interviews between you and shortlisted candidates in weeks. 

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

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