When to Start Scaling the Sales Team

Sales and sales teams are one of my favorite topics as I’ve seen the wonders of what an amazing sales leader and sales team can accomplish. According to the Four Stages of a B2B Startup, after achieving product / market fit, it’s time to build a repeatable sales process. Building a repeatable sales process does not mean spending a ton of money on sales and marketing right out of the gate. What it does mean is experimenting with a variety of sales and marketing tactics, including things like 100 Growth Hacks in 100 Days.

A startup is ready to start scaling the sales team when the following two metrics are in place:

  • Full burdened cost of sales and marketing expenses for a 90 day period of time is equal to or less than new annual recurring added in that same time period (e.g. spend $50k in sales and marketing salaries, commissions, trade shows, PPC ads, etc and generate at least $50k of new annual recurring revenue)
  • Annual recurring revenue generated by a sales rep is at least 3x the fully loaded cost of the sales rep (e.g. if a fully loaded sales rep with salary, commission, and taxes is $80k, the rep should bring in at least $240k in new annual recurring revenue in a calendar year – see The 3x Rule for SaaS Inside Sales Rep Quotas)

Of course, there are a number of other important factors like gross margin, renewal rates, etc. that are play into these recommendations but this is a good start. Much like Startups Should Resist the VP of Sales Temptation, startups should also hold off scaling the sales team until the appropriate metrics are in place.

What else? What are your thoughts on when to start scaling the sales team?

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