The tough truth is from 0.5–1.5 sales cycles. And yes this is true even in tougher times. Probably even more so in tougher times.
- Sales is tough. It’s a lot of Nos to get to a Yes.
- And while sales is pretty similar in SaaS at a given price point / ACV, different products are still different to sell. A rep good at one product can fail at selling another.
- Training and support matter. Not all reps can work with the limited support, onboarding, and training you get at a start-up.
The best reps “get on the board” fairly quickly. They may not immediately hit quota (few do). But they find a way to close something relatively early. At least, 1 or 2 deals. If you don’t see that in 0.5–1 sales cycles, it rarely works out. They lose their confidence. They haven’t been trained properly. They don’t have the right types of leads and prospects.
You don’t have to expect quite as much from an AE as a VP of Sales. It takes a while to get your arms around new objections, a new product, a new script. But you do need to see some deals closing within a standard sales cycle. If you don’t see a new AE get on the board within that time frame, it’s rare they ever do. You start to hear excuses. The blame game of the product, the leads, the marketing team, the lack of training, of needing more time to get up to speed. All of which may be true. But the others … the others can still close with those issues.
And the tough fact is, if a new AE doesn’t start closing within a sales cycle or so, it’s not just a few dollars you are out. More importantly, that means you’ve wasted those leads. You should have given those precious early days leads to someone that can close.
Having said all that, once you hire a VP of Sales, they may be willing to backfill new reps for longer. If your VP of Sales is willing to hit the overall plan and carry that AE longer than 1.5 sales cycles, I’ve seen that work.
A bit more here at the VP level, but mostly applies to a rep as well: If Your VP Sales Isn’t Going to Work Out — You’ll Know in 30 Days | SaaStr