Graeme has over 20 years of sales leadership experience where he has led teams at a local, national, and international scale. He has worked at a senior level in large corporate environments and as a sales director for SMEs.
He is one of the experts business can receive support from through Two Zero and Sales Geek’s Your Sales Director, a unique partnership providing match funded access to a sales director to work within Lancashire businesses and help them scale through revenue growth. The support is open now to applications.
Graeme shares his insights on scaling.
What is the most important quality of a scaleup business leader and why?
Resilience, willingness to learn, and having the motivation to keep moving forward.
Scaling a business is a tough gig, it doesn’t always go to plan. Business leaders need to become comfortable being uncomfortable, that is when leaders are learning the most and often when they make the breakthroughs necessary to scale.
What common challenges do you see in scaleup businesses and how do scaleup leaders overcome these?
Scaleup businesses are often great at manufacturing what they manufacture, or doing what they do, but often they are not great at selling what they manufacture or selling what they do. Exceptional scaleup business leaders understand where their skills are strongest and where they need others’ expertise.
Experienced support used to mean employing expensive sales directors, finance directors, HR managers, etc, but now the world has moved on. Outsourcing these key skills to only pay for what is needed has become the norm and allows businesses to turn on the tap when expertise is required and switching it off again when not.
What is the best piece of business advice you have ever received or given? Why was it important?
The piece of advice that springs to mind here is from a business leader I worked with over 10 years ago. He was responsible for multiple countries, multiple P&Ls, and thousands of employees. He consistently said something very simple ‘When home, be home’. We all work very hard in our businesses; it is vital to remember why we are doing it and when to switch off.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned working within scaleups, and how has this impacted you?
Make decisions quickly, measure the outcome, and adjust accordingly. If you wait until you are 100 per cent sure before acting, the opportunity may be lost.
I also take great inspiration from leaders I work with. Their skillset is often very different to mine, this helps me to continue learning and improving every day.
What scaleup business do you admire the most and why?
The leaders who have designed their business to function without them from early in the development are the ones I admire most. Those leaders continue to work on their business rather than in their business and being too busy dealing with the day to day.
This enables them to continue to scale without themselves becoming the major bottleneck in their own business.
Which key metrics are most important for scaleups?
Focusing on, measuring, and acting upon the lead indicators (e.g., number of sales calls, surveys, quotes) enables a business leader to accurately forecast sales and profits.
When leaders focus solely on the lag indicators (e.g., revenue, profit, cash) they then wonder what they could have done differently (in the past). Focusing on the lead indicators enables them to be proactive (and improve the future).
Why do you choose to work with scaleup business leaders?
Working with scaleups is challenging but always exciting and very rewarding. Back in my corporate life, an idea could take months to trickle through and then years to implement. In scaleups, an idea in the morning can be a launched businesses process by the afternoon and delivering immediate results.
I have also seen business owners sell the businesses they have built for many years because they are tired, rather than selling when they have prepared the business and the time is right to sell. I love to be part of the journey from the start and build towards a successful and fruitful exit plan.