As expansion stage companies grow, their executives are constantly thinking about what non-management sales roles are necessary to keep the selling engine scaling. With limited resources for recruiting, training and management — not to mention budget restraints — young companies are always needing to prioritize their next hire(s). What position will ultimately provide the most value to the organization?
Here are some non-management sales roles that I’ve observed our growing portfolio companies recruiting for (or considering opening up a search for) in recent months, and the value/responsibilities that are commonly associated with those positions:
- Sales Engineers: The sales engineer is responsible for supporting the sales executives and performing technical presentation of the product/services. According to Pragmatic Marketing, “Sales engineers are the technical glue of a technical sale. Sometimes called “systems engineers” or “pre-sales support,” Sales Engineers act as the sales team’s technical encyclopedia during the sale, representing the technical aspects of how the product solves specific customer problems.”
- Lead Qualifiers: Non-closing “hunters” who are responsible for calling into new leads (inbound and/or outbound) to further qualify them and present only true opportunities to sales executives in order to build their pipelines and ultimately increase their number of closed deals.
- Sales Operations: A hire in a sales operations or “sales ops” role, is responsible for managing/developing processes. Additionally, typical duties include building out and maintaining the sales CRM, reviewing pertinent sales data, reporting that data and associated trends to management, and assisting management in developing effective sales strategies. You might even see sales ops folks working on proposals and or RFPs.
- Account Managers: The typical account manager is responsible for maintaining client satisfaction through exceptional relationship management and by creating continuous value in the software/services that his/her company is offering. A key aspect of a traditional account manager’s role is to find new opportunities within the existing customer base — and to either up-sell on their own, or flag the opportunity to the sales exec to close.
In an expansion stage B2B technology company, which of these hires comes first?
Only you can decide that. These questions might help: If you are a later-stage organization, what order did your organization hire these folks? If you are an earlier stage company, what sales role would you most like to add to your team RIGHT NOW? How do you imagine the hiring order kicking off and why?