As you start to evaluate who your next sales leader should be, and you start the sourcing process, you need to start with the situation you are in.  This will determine the profile of the individual you are looking for.

Here you are. You’re a CEO. Things have been going ok…well, actually things haven’t been fantastic if you’re being completely honest with yourself. You missed your number last year, and if something doesn’t change, you will be in jeopardy of missing your number again this year.

 

As the CEO, you are probably trying to wrap your arms around why you are failing.  The talent of your sales leader is 50% of the equation relative to you making your number.  But you may have found that your last few revenue leaders failed, and you don’t know why.

 

The reason, you likely hired great resumes to run your sales organization, but you may not have hired the right skill set.  There is a difference between the resume and skill set.  Sure, you put in your sales leader to figure it out.  And of course, its his/her job to do so.  But if you hire the wrong individual, your chances of hitting your topline goals diminish.

 

Download our Sales Leader A-Player Scorecard to receive guidance in your top grading process, assess individuals against the scorecard of a builder or runner, and define competencies and who will be best fit for your specific role.

 

The Question You Need to Be Asking Is; Do I Need a Builder or a Runner?

 

Let’s first start with defining each.

 

The runner:  This individual is great at keeping the trains on schedule.  The infrastructure is in place, the system is working.  If you need to ensure the flywheel keeps spinning, the runner will make sure this happens.  He/she is fantastic operational leader.  But this individual will likely struggle if this is something he/she must build from the ground up.

 

The builder:  This individual can create a new GTM (go to market) strategy for you.  He/she has done this before, meaning he/she has built this from scratch.  Whether you need a new coverage model or need to sell through new channels.  He/she can envision this and create something new.  This doesn’t just mean a startup environment.  It could be a new product launch, entry into a new market segment, etc.  Point being, he/she has built a new GTM model and monetized it over time.  But the same individual will be bored with having to ‘run’ this motion over an extended period and will likely want to create something new for someone else.

 

To be perfectly clear, neither individual is better than the other relative to skill sets.  However, the situation will dictate which one is more appropriate for you depending on what it is you are trying to accomplish from a go to market perspective.

 

So How Do You Know What You Need?

 

Ask Yourself the Following Questions:

 

  1. Where are my solutions located on the product lifecycle?

     

    If you are still on the upward slope and in the early stages of market adoption, you need a builder.  The builder will identify innovative GTM approaches to increase adoption.  This includes new product launches or entries into new markets, as previously mentioned.

     

  2. Is the interlock between product, marketing and sales strong?

     

    Meaning, are the GTM strategies aligned and all you need to do is optimize the motion to achieve the desired growth?  If the answer is yes, you need a runner.  The runner is going to continue to operationalize the current motion and optimize the revenue engine to get you to desired results.

     

The above questions are by no means exhaustive.  But they do give you a frame of reference on the types of questions you should be asking yourself as to who you want to hire.  Once you can effectively answer the above questions, only then can you determine if you need a builder or a runner.

 

But don’t take the exercise lightly.  Again, you tend to fall in love with the resume.  “This sales leader worked at XYZ company which is a competitor or in our space.”  But the situation could have been completely different from the one you are in.  When evaluating talent, the situation relative to what he/she was able to accomplish as a builder or a runner is more important the company he/she worked at.

 

So, What Now?

 

As you start to evaluate who your next sales leader should be, and you start the sourcing process, you need to start with the situation you are in.  This will determine the profile of the individual you are looking for.  As you progress through your top-grading interview process you can now assess the individuals against the scorecard of a builder or runner.

 

Download our Sales Leader A-Player Scorecard to receive guidance in your top grading process, assess individuals against the scorecard of a builder or runner, and define competencies and who will be best fit for your specific role.

 

 

 

Additional Resources

 

In addition, SBI’s Revenue Growth Diagnostic will help identify gaps in your GTM strategy.  This will help inform if you need to hire a builder or a runner for your next revenue leader.

 

Good luck in your hiring process.

 

Sales Revenue Growth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Estrella

Helps clients grow by creating innovative go-to-market strategies.

Eric specializes in helping clients solve some of the most prevalent go-to-market problems in today’s complex selling world. He is an expert in many industries including software, telecommunications, ecommerce, manufacturing and technology. He helps them align strategies and develop go-to-market programs to lower the cost of customer acquisition and increase customer lifetime value.

 

Recently he developed corporate, product, marketing and sales strategies for an emerging telecommunications solution provider that resulted in a quadrupling of revenue and EBITA in two-year span.

 

Eric’s background in strategy, sales operations and enablement allows him to provide thought-leadership in emerging best practices in sales and marketing.

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