If you’re not growing you’re dying. Many firms achieve a certain level of success and stop growing because the skills that got you to $1 million won’t get you to $10 million; the skills that get you to 10 won’t get you to 100, nor to a billion.
At a certain point your effort is less about pushing harder on executing existing plans, it’s more about stepping back and realizing that you’ve leveled up, and you’re a beginner again. It’s time to throw out old paradigms and learn a completely new approach.
We see sales-driven companies hit this type of plateau all the time. The CEO started the company as the sole person selling; then they brought in a VP of Sales who hired a full sales department; the VP groomed sales managers and all of a sudden the company became a flourishing national operation, reaching each new level with greater success than the one before.
But all of a sudden they hit a wall. The sales organization is too big to continue hiring A-players (they’re both expensive and hard to find), but each B-level sales rep is barely profitable because they require so much hand-holding.
The sole marketing person in this sea of sales people is responsible for everything: the website, marketing collateral, presentations, events, and thought leadership.
The bottleneck should be obvious: problems manifesting themselves in sales are really marketing problems. Sales alignment suffers when sales team growth has outpaced marketing, which is underutilized and under- resourced. The job of marketing is to help sales scale smoothly over the long term. Every time you invest solely in the short term sales team growth, you accrue “marketing debt” that you’ll need to clean up later. If you don’t, you’ll find that you’ll plateau.
Companies are either growing or dying, so don’t get complacent and learn to get comfortable with the constant transition.