Building & Scaling Your Sales Team: Market Insights

Transitioning from Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to scaling is one of the major challenges for any growing business. Founding teams often evolve their day-to-day roles from product development and fundraising into people leadership roles, businesses grow headcount from 10 to 50+, and for many there are new international offices opened up. Underpinning this growth are the sales teams that are able to secure and expand new accounts. Over the last few years, growth could have been achieved through the recruitment of large sales functions that secure new clients, but consume vital capital. In the new world of efficient growth and clear routes to profitability, we consider how B2B organisations can optimise the performance of their sales teams through improved structure and recruitment.

It Begins from the Top

Most Founder-led organisations will have someone who is responsible for client development. More commonly, this individual is also the designated CEO as they possess the charisma, passion and outward-visionary profile to charm all major stakeholders. For the CEO to fully embrace this role, it is common that the first significant external leadership hire is the CRO / Head of Commercial / CCO.

This hire is always one of the most challenging hires for any start-up. There is a lot of emotional turmoil within the Founding team, who must be confident in this individual’s ability to take accountability for sales growth. Beyond the emotional challenges, this individual will bring strategic direction, people leadership, and vitally. They must be hands-on – especially in the first 12 months – as client growth is the priority. Not an easy mix for any organisation to find, and even more so when everyone is recruiting for them.

Typical Profile of a CRO: Data Insights

What should a Founder be looking for within a CRO? Our talent assessment platform identified over 100 successful CRO’s and the findings suggest the most common successful profile is as follows.

This profile highlights results orientation and sales orientation as the most important factors when recruiting a CRO – which both sit within the operational drivers. These are closely supported by strong networker, good communication and customer centricity. These three are equally balanced across the strategic, driving and enabling functions. Finally, the business savvy and entrepreneurial categories further strengthen the candidate’s strategic profile.

This leaves the make up across the 4 core components at 14% driving, 32% strategic, 40% operational and 14% enabling, which suggests that at an early stage, CRO’s must balance operational and strategic tasks closely, but are more likely to remain operational in focus in order to scale the business.

CRO Profile Overview – Assessio Data Insights


Sector Knowledge

A hotly debated topic is one of sector knowledge. On the one hand, someone who has been selling within the industry has the potential to bring over clients quickly. This can have an immediate impact on the business’ growth and can provide the springboard to further expansion through the sales team. Furthermore, the understanding of customer drivers can be a valuable insight to help close new deals. However, the consideration for many can be sector experience or skillset, and whilst having both is undoubtedly optimal, the competencies and leadership profile are what will make this individual successful beyond the first few months.


Based on our recent salary benchmarking, new CRO’s for businesses that have recently raised £5m+ as their first growth round will typically earn between £90,000 – £130,000 (depending on current ARR levels) and will often be rewarded with between 0.5% and 1% equity. Invariably, these two components are inversely correlated.

Bonus structures are essential for incentivising sales growth and sales professionals. For CRO’s joining businesses as one of the first few sales individuals, there is a balance to strike between rewarding their individual performance over the first year and incentivising collaborative team behaviours that promote training, development and growth of the team. Many of our clients have constructed bonus plans that pay out between 50-100% of salaries, with often an uncapped element. In most circumstances, the main trigger is new sales with a divide between total value and first year value.

Sales Culture

For B2B businesses, you can broadly draw a line between those targeting high volume SMB markets and those that are seeking enterprise clients. Lead times are often longer for blue-chip and enterprise deals, whilst SMBs are lower in individual value but provide volume and shorter lead times. There are also those that seek the majority of their sales through indirect / channel partner routes. For Founding teams, it’s essential they have clear direction on their target market and can align this with the CRO’s background to ensure the sales culture and skillsets align with the way clients buy.

Ultimately, the CRO plays a key role in determining a high-growth company’s success. It allows the CEO to transition their role, leads the growth for the business, and sets the tone for the relationship with clients. Making sure the hire is right is one of the most crucial steps for start-ups looking to scale.

If your challenge is to grow your business through international expansion, the answer is often through exceptional sales leadership, and Beaumont Bailey has a wealth of experience delivering sales leadership that complements existing teams and transforms an organisation’s growth trajectory.


About Beaumont Bailey

Beaumont Bailey builds the leadership of tomorrow. We do this by partnering with clients as a trusted advisor to your recruitment plans. We recruit leaders and teams internationally, and underpin our decisions through market-leading, scientifically validated assessment practices coupled with market intelligence for clients.

Based from London, Leeds, and New York, we support clients throughout Europe and the US. We work with both high-growth VC/PE backed businesses, and ambitious multi-nationals that are undergoing digital transformation.