Transcript: Hi, I am Anna Talerico with Married2Growth. A question I get asked a lot when I am working with founders who lead their sales team is, “How long should I be involved in sales?”.
When considering how long a founder should stay involved I think several factors come into play: One, company performance. Are the sales results strong? If the team is happy and stable and you are hitting your targets, then a leadership change could be counter-productive. In these cases, it’s worth being very thoughtful about how and when the founder steps out of day-to-day team leadership. An internal promotion, if there is a strong candidate, can be one way to go.
Second, founder strength. Is sales leadership a strength of the founder? If not, then likely the sales results aren’t strong and this is a moot point. A founder who doesn’t have the skills or aptitude to lead the sales team shouldn’t be in that role. That’s a no-brainer.
Third, founder drive. Is leading the sales team something the founder wants to do? Is it something she or he is passionate about? Again, an obvious point. It’s not sustainable to lead the sales team if you don’t love doing it.
And finally, the founder’s other responsibilities. If the founder isn’t exclusively focused on sales leadership then it will be very hard to scale past a certain point with him or her at the helm. Either other responsibilities will need to be moved off her plate, or strong sales leadership will need to be appointed to help continue to build on the momentum started by the founder. Sales leadership is and should be, a full-time job. If the founder can’t make it their sole focus, it’s not in the best interest of the team or the company to do it part-time.
I think rather than putting a hard and fast deadline or structure around the question of how long a founder should sell, it’s best to let the answer reveal itself. If the founder is killing it and loves it, keep things status quo. If results are suffering or the founder is dispassionate, it’s time to put sales leadership in place to drive things forward. I hope this helps you think about how long founders should sell. If you want more perspective, I wrote about this in more detail over on the blog, so feel free to check that out at Married2Growth.com. And I’d love to hear from you about your experience. Thanks so much for watching!