There are probably about 92,171 “sales advice” articles published every day somewhere online. Many are good, but some are complete and total trash. So, sometimes when I come across an article, I feel I should respond. This is one of those times! It is about how to do a go-to-market expansion successfully.
This one is from Sales Hacker about go-to-market expansion. I actually think this article has a lot of good points and is well-written. The author talks about “what got you here won’t get you there,” which I agree with. That’s the whole issue with scaling. Sometimes a company is very good at one or two things (“got them here”) but can’t go beyond that (“won’t get you there”). There are a lot of reasons that happens. One is obviously product-market fit or business culture, but a big reason usually comes down to how (and when) you invest in people.
That’s where I differ from the author. She talks about “finding a core team” and “picking a location for your business,” and then going from there. Nope. Totally disagree there. I would never employ local sales at the very beginning of a market-entry. I’d actually avoid that at all costs. Dumping non-existent revenue into salaries with virtually no guarantee of success (at that stage) is a fool’s errand.
Rather, I’d start with a local market expert. I’d work with that person on the culture, the key players, the check-writers, how to achieve product-market fit, scalability, and all the normal early-stage business and sales issues. Once that local market expert had worked with me on actively generating a sales funnel, I’d gradually begin adding my own hires to the equation — but I’d never start there.
Look, here’s the dirty little secret of hiring: it’s a very subjective, often generic process. Most people know how to “game” the system by now. A person can look great on paper (or on LinkedIn) and come in and be a terrible salesperson. Two or three of those hires and your company is tanked before it even gets going. But one local market expert before you try to make those hires and your growth is starting, so you can now hire at the right time (and hopefully have a better sense of the right people).
If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of that Sales Hacker article, you’ll see that the author is a recruiter. No disrespect there. I love recruiters. It’s a tough profession. But now the whole argument makes sense. She wants people to begin with a staff, because to do that, you need to hire a recruiter. (Her!) Her business is recruiting and, in the words of DJ Khaled, she wants to keep that booming. Our business is service, and I’d rather you work with a local expert — then hire later, when the context on what you need is higher.
What do you think about “hire now” vs. “outsource first?”