Leadership Recruitment for Series A/B/C and PE Firms

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Posted 9 months ago

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An Example of Fractional Work we have Performed

Posted 9 months ago

One of our customers, a dynamic and rapidly growing Professional Services organization, reached a critical turning point. They had achieved $15M in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) but believed they were facing a sales personnel problem. Seeking a solution, they turned to The Free Agent and aimed to hire a full-time Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), as they had been cycling through Account Executives (AEs) and attributed their hiring difficulties to bad luck. Their underlying assumption was that a CRO would resolve the issue. From their perspective, salespeople should excel regardless of the tools at hand, and the CEO was convinced that quality candidates were unavailable. However, the root problem was their lack of a coherent go-to-market strategy, an absence of a service “wrapper,” and a failure to replicate success in the areas where they had already triumphed (i.e., proven wins).

 

Similar to many high-growth companies, their expansion was driven by the founding team’s relationships. Naturally, they aimed to bolster their sales organization to accelerate revenue growth. Yet, after numerous discussions, we uncovered their unpreparedness for an in-house sales team. They needed to establish a sales infrastructure before hiring salespeople. Moreover, they were poised to encounter challenges in recruiting a full-time CRO due to budget constraints, inadequate infrastructure, and an insufficient pipeline to attract an experienced executive.

Initial Situation Upon Contact

  • The company relied on existing customers, struggling to attract new clients beyond referrals.

  • They erroneously attributed this issue to salespeople.

  • Although investments into the company increased, revenue remained stagnant, leading to a rapid decline in profits.

  • Contracts were abundant, but growth and expansion within these accounts were absent.

  • A substantial 80% of revenue originated from a single large account.

  • Sales staff turnover was frequent, preventing success and retention.

  • The company lacked a focused value proposition and attempted to sell a wide array of services.

Rectifying the Situation

  • We introduced a “fractional” CRO to evaluate the structure, value proposition, sales, marketing, and delivery processes. After comprehensive analysis, the CRO concluded that the problem wasn’t the sales machinery but the company’s need for transformative measures to scale effectively. They required an overhaul of the company’s DNA and mindset. The CRO achieved this through the following actions:
  • Established distinct service offerings and clearly communicated their value.
  • Aligned customer desires with market offerings.
  • Recognized the need for a different organizational structure, transitioning from sales and delivery centers to a consultancy-based organizational model, centered around disciplines and practice leads.
  • Collaborated on refining messaging, articulating the value of their offerings, and streamlining strengths and synergies.
  • Recruited division leaders.
  • Developed disciplines, established them, built a robust marketing mechanism, and iteratively expanded into new disciplines.

Results Achieved

Within six months (the time it took to implement these changes), our partner acquired eight net new customers. The transformation began in September, the new offering was solidified by December, and by March, they had gained 7 new customers.

 

Our CRO acknowledged that our partner operated in a “people business,” where the development of a robust recruitment engine held significance, differentiating them and driving growth. Recognizing the importance of management growth, they hired new experienced leaders in line with the company’s expansion stages.

 

The CRO played a pivotal role in constructing an effective marketing engine that generated leads, fortified the sales apparatus, and expanded the account management team for cross-selling and upselling. The company reached an inflection point: initially thinking they needed salespeople, they realized the essential need for an organizational transformation that positioned them to seize opportunities and scale efficiently.

Conclusion

While salespeople and sales are vital, successful selling requires a structured plan and a well-defined product with clear value propositions. Sometimes, a company must introspect and repair internal issues before investing in additional personnel. After our involvement, the company confidently hired a full-time CRO to oversee the framework we helped establish. This scenario is common among growth-focused enterprises seeking effective scaling strategies.

About Beau Billington

FOUNDER, THE FREE AGENT

Beau spent over 14 years in enterprise-level software sales and was exposed to high-level talent by working alongside companies such as Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and more. 

In this blog, Beau aims to share his stories of working with performing business leaders in the hope that his insights will bring about real positive change to the businesses of his readers.

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