The voluntary or involuntary loss of a head of sales can be one of the most disruptive events for any company, particularly a startup. Revenue plans for the quarter and the entire year immediately become more uncertain, even if your head of sales was shown the door. Also, several trends specific to securing tech sales and marketing executives add even more pressure to the organization, including:

  1. Shorter Tenures – Average tenure for a Chief Sales Officer is now less than 24 months (almost as short as a CMO).
  2. Historically High Turnover – Shorter tenures and higher turnover rates go hand-in-hand. More executive sales jobs are opening up with fewer of the right people to fill them.
  3. Longer Searches – Expect 4-5 months to complete an executive sales or marketing search with another several weeks for on boarding and ramp up.
  4. Lack of Internal Successors – In most cases, companies have fired the previous CSO and they don’t have an internal successor to fill the gap.

Download the PDF – CSO Comparison: On Demand vs In House

The net result is a one to two quarter gap in sales coverage. Sales coverage — no matter how badly lacking previously — will have holes even when an executive team, board and/or founder attempt to step in to bridge the gap. Even more problematic is when the issue behind poor sales is not just sales management performance but a breakdown in the sales supply chain that may include problems with the overall strategy, product or service, the target market, marketing programs or customer success processes.

The comparison chart/infographic we include here for download is less about replacing your CSO with an interim executive for the long-term and more about what you will do between in house CSOs.

With interim or fractional CSO support, TechCXO enters engagements knowing that our role includes helping in the search for our replacement. We come in with the understanding that our job is to stabilize revenue, identify revenue supply chain issues, recommend necessary strategic and tactical repairs, to help implement changes, and help restart momentum while the client is looking for a permanent placement.

Mike Allred is a partner in TechCXO and is the firm’s Hiring Partner. To read more about Mike’s executive recruiting and sales background, see his full bio.