Mentor, Advisor, Consultant, Operational Coach. Who and What you need.

SaaS · Luigi Mallardo · September 9, 2020

Whatever you do in life and whenever you look for help, you need to know what you need, isn’t it so?

When it comes to SaaS scaleups or Non-Tech companies in need of recurring revenue any business network (+ LinkedIn) is cluttered of options and “titles” of all kind.

You can get confused if you don’t really know how to navigate.

Being skeptical with everything and everyone is not the solution.

You go nowhere alone. In any case you won’t go far.

Let me share a “route” based on what I’ve seen and experienced.

You wouldn’t hire an electrician to fix a leaky pipe.

 

1. VP or Chief Revenue Officer

Is your business like a sailing boat ready for a transatlantic journey?

Have you made short systematic sea crossing trips?

If Yes, then you are ready so please fasten your seatbelts.

If No, or if you have doubts, click this link and I hope it gives you good food for thought.

A Sales VP must be a vitamin. Not a medicine.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

2. Mentor

Like a friend who bought a home and is full of advice and connections.

Free of charge. Mentorship is a state. Not an activity.

I’ve seen Business Angels investing in early stage startups and then being great mentors for the Founders, at 360 degrees.

Don’t expect defined outcomes from a Mentor, although she may come with a “nice surprise” once in while.

Expect inspiration instead, a boost to your self-confidence and a sparring partner on a more or less regular base.

Don’t expect Revenue Leadership from a Mentor if you haven’t got it internally. 

 

3. Strategic Advisor

Like an ex-player who has been there, is going to watch your games and share perspective from the outside.

You may speak once or twice on the phone.

Get lunch once in a while.

Or meet every couple of weeks to catch up without a structured agenda, milestones or expected outcomes.

Don’t expect the Strategic Advisor to get hands-on. Don’t expect Revenue Leadership from her.

If this is what you need, there are great Strategic Advisors in Europe.

 

Photo by Israel França on Pexels

 

4. Independent Board Advisor

Like the Strategic Advisor. Usually more senior and successful, watching the games from the court. 

4. Consultant

Like the windows of your home.

If you need new ones, you would call an expert

If you know what you need good consultants deliver high ROI, for example:

  • setting a better process
  • optimizing your pitch and messaging
  • deploying a good program to train your sales team on something specific for a few days.

Expect and demand the consultant to get hands-on the specific topic for which you hired her. Don’t expect Revenue Leadership but solution to specific issues.

You don’t need the project of the window for your home. You need the new window in place and functioning.

Photo by Soloman Soh on Pexels

 

5. Operational Coach

A home renovation blueprint

Coaching creates a future vision and an action plan to get there.

It builds milestones and KPI’s.

A partner to win the game of your business, not to cheer you on from the sidelines.

A coach would help you work out how to develop your go-to-market strategy and revenue engine.

An Advisor would just tell you what to do. An Operational Coach would get hands-on and would help you zoom-out on strategic issues and zoom-in on specific actions that help you execute quickly and efficiently.

An Operational Coach would help your people to grow which means in the early stages (up to 2-3 million ARR) you can avoid to get obsessed if you cannot find (or you do not have enough resources for) the “right” Revenue Leader. Then the right Coach can help you find the right leader at the right moment (once you have the right “postures” in place) and manage the onboarding of the new leadership with you.

So what and who do you need?

Mentors, Advisors, Consultants, Coaches. They can All be really useful but you need to know what you need in every phase of your scaleup journey, how to approach them and treat them properly.