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A Story of Transformation: From Struggling Sales to Rapid Growth

A Story of Transformation: From Struggling Sales to Rapid Growth

In the fast-paced software industry, an emerging company found itself at a crossroads. While the company was growing after being acquired by a Private Equity (PE) firm, they were hampered by faltering sales execution.


Despite recognizing the market fit for their product, senior leadership, comprising the CEO and the PE firm that had acquired the company for $5 million, was failing to capitalize on its growth potential.


The core issue was multidimensional: an inexperienced sales team, inconsistency in sales processes, a lack of sales leadership, and a compensation structure that failed to encourage desired behaviors.


The company’s unique product positioning had given the PE firm confidence that their investment could yield unprecedented multiples through a 5-year invest to exit approach. 


However, 18 months into their ownership journey, modest growth threatened the likelihood of achieving their ROI vision, necessitating a dramatic change in the company's sales performance.


This article captures the true story of how our Fractional Sales Leadership approach transformed this company’s ability to achieve their double digit, year-over-year, growth targets and radically increase their market value.


Despite their slow start, just a few years later, this once-struggling business was sold for an impressive $50 million!

The PE firm needed to find a way to elevate the sales team to perform at an elite level. A path to rapid growth would only be achieved if they could establish a systematic sales approach that would provide guidance to their existing team and set the stage for sales team scaling.


the CEO didn’t have the bandwidth or skill set to fix their sales challenges, let alone design and implement a sales system.

The CEO was a visionary leader and relied on his previous sales leaders to experiment with various sales strategies. Things that worked when they were a start-up just weren't producing the results they needed to achieve their heightened growth targets.


The problem was that the CEO had found himself once again filling the VP Sales seat after the most recent turnover. He recognized that he didn’t have the bandwidth or skill set to fix their sales challenges, let alone design and implement a sales system.


It was under these circumstances that our Fractional Sales Leadership expertise was the perfect fit. A colleague from my Fractional Sales Leadership group took on this assignment which involved overhauling the sales organization that was stifling the company's growth.


The objective was to create a sales infrastructure that solid players could be seamlessly integrated into, generating predictable and consistent success. By doing so, the company would no longer be dependent on one or two sales superstars to generate most of their revenue.


The other critical piece was working alongside the current sales team as a sales coach to develop best-in-class sales skills. Ultimately, the goal was to build trust with the team and develop a culture of success.


Key Takeaways


  • Strategic Sales Transformation: A case where sales strategy and guidance transformed a sales team, enabling them to surpass revenue expectations.

  • Critical Sales Infrastructure: Sales infrastructure is crucial for a company's success, encompassing motivational compensation plans, accountability-enabling systems, and processes ensuring consistent, scalable sales execution.

  • Impact from Skilled Sales Leadership: The significant revenue growth resulting from an experienced sales leader who was capable of troubleshooting and rectifying sales processes, systems, and personnel deficiencies.



Assessing The Situation


The Fractional Sales Leader’s mission was clear from the outset: to devise and implement a robust sales system that not only optimized the sales process but also nurtured the development of each sales representative, enabling them to achieve their individual targets.


The company had a young, energetic culture, but was also marked by a lack of consistent direction in harnessing the potential of its sellers. The issue was not a lack of talent or desire, it was that the sales team simply lacked the skills, direction, and coaching to be successful.


The revolving door of sales leaders and the CEO failed to implement a sales operating system that consistently converted the sales team's raw talent into reliable performance. This disconnect between potential and achievement was a critical challenge that needed to be addressed.


The sales department consisted of four representatives but only a single person was meeting what the Fractional Sales Leader diagnosed as an easily achievable sales quota.

The sales department consisted of four representatives but only a single person was meeting what the Fractional Sales Leader diagnosed as an easily achievable sales quota.


This discrepancy underscored a larger systemic issue — collectively, the team was achieving merely 60% of the targeted sales goal.


Building Accountability and Confidence


As typical when we enter underperforming environments, the Fractional Leader’s entrance into the equation marked a pivotal moment in addressing the lack of accountability and confidence that plagued the sales team.


The first step involved establishing a sales system that not only streamlined the sales process but also included the development of a new strategy.


This methodology was incorporated into a customized Sales Playbook that provided guidance on the company’s value proposition, ideal customer profile, buyer personas, competitive positioning, and more - building the sales team’s skills and confidence.


Through consistent sales leadership, hands-on coaching, and the implementation of a structured sales system, within 6 months senior leadership began to see a shift.

To instill accountability, the interim leader introduced a range of metrics and performance indicators that clearly outlined expectations for each team member.


This granular performance measurement identified individual sales representatives' strengths and weaknesses. It also fostered an accountable culture where each member understood their contribution to the company's overarching goals.


Through consistent sales leadership, hands-on coaching, and the implementation of a structured sales system, within 6 months senior leadership began to see a shift.


Not only were leading indicator sales metrics improving, but their belief that the existing team had the capability to achieve the company’s rapid growth goals was materializing.


The Big Payoff 


By addressing the pivotal issues head-on - streamlining the sales team’s selling approach, refining the compensation plan to align with core sales activities, and fostering a culture of accountability - the Fractional Sales Leader had laid the groundwork for a radical transformation.


This remarkable turnaround not only solidified the company's market position but also dramatically increased its valuation.

The results spoke for themselves. Within just one year after the Fractional Sales Leader’s entry, the client more than doubled its top line revenue run rate, from $7 million to $15 million, a testament to the effectiveness of the strategies deployed.


The introduction of a demand generation agency further accelerated the momentum, capturing and converting leads more effectively than before.


This strategic overhaul did not stop at rallying the sales team; it extended to hiring the Fractional Sales Leader’s successor, ensuring that the company's sales engine would continue firing on all cylinders long after the interim resource exited.


This remarkable turnaround not only solidified the company's market position but also dramatically increased its valuation.


The resounding success of this strategic sales revamp demonstrates the profound impact of targeted, expert sales leadership intervention.


If you’d like to discuss the improvement you’re looking for in your business, contact us through any of these methods: (414) 522-8488, info@sxwisconsin.com, or click here

to book an exploratory discussion.



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We are part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.

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