The data about average sales-team size in this post comes from our ongoing benchmarking analysis of hundreds of B2B SaaS companies. We will be releasing more benchmarks and key findings over the next few months.
At a tech industry event a few weeks ago, respected VC Jeff Bussgang found himself in a conversation with a woman who was considering changing jobs. Her plan was to move from the large public tech company where she worked to a much smaller startup, but she was worried that her skills wouldn’t translate to a younger, growth-focused setting. Naturally, Bussgang asked her what her role was.
“Sales Operations,” she told him.
“Holy crap!” Bussgang responded. “You’ll be the most valuable hire a growth-stage company could ever make.”
In his recent post recounting the encounter, Bussgang explains why he felt so certain about this woman’s success ‒ why, in other words, he believes that “sales operations is the secret weapon to scaling startups.”
“One of the largest friction points to rapid scaling is the sales force,” he wrote. Startups trying to double (let alone 10x) revenue in a short period can’t afford to double (or 10x) their sales force ‒ it’s just not financially sustainable. Instead, they need to find ways to get more from their sales team without simply adding more to their sales team. Indeed, the challenge of increasing per-rep revenue generation as a company matures is one of the most important components of effectively scaling.
One of the largest friction points to rapid scaling is the sales force”
In Bussgang’s view, achieving this increased productivity comes down to one thing: using sales ops, technology and training to make your AEs more efficient.
In this post, we will look at our recent research revealing that sales teams shrink (proportionally) as companies scale, as well as dig in a little deeper into Bussgang’s thoughts on how to ensure that sales teams book more revenue per rep as they scale.