We’ve worked with start-ups at every stage of their journey, from pre-revenue all the way to post-acquisition. One thing has become clear, early-stage start-ups stand to see the biggest incremental leaps when they give their sales teams the attention they deserve. A lot of founders hire the wrong salespeople. To be fair, a lot of founders aren’t salespeople. They are subject matter experts, technical founders, or come from academia.
In many cases, new founders make their first sales hire through referrals from their network. In some really dicey scenarios, they handle the hiring themselves and go on gut instinct alone (please don’t make this mistake). Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, the results can be catastrophic and for a company just starting out, it can be the start of a never-ending cycle of bad sales hiring.
This post is meant to shine light on the importance of hiring great salespeople early on and making this scenario apply to you and your business. When it comes to sales teams, there is definitely a “greatness attracts greatness” flywheel mechanism when it comes to sales hiring when done correctly. Passionate salespeople do high-caliber work, leading to better business outcomes, and creating a more engaging work environment, which helps you attract and retain awesome people.
Once you know that your initial go-to-market strategy is working, it’s time to start thinking about your sales hiring strategy. You want to increase the number of humans, to increase the number of calls, emails, demos, deals, and contracts sent. It sort of sounds like an assembly line, and it sort of is, but humans are complicated.
We once worked with a client who had really struggled with finding quality salespeople. In fact, by the time we had started engaging, she had already hired and fired two salespeople. This is an extremely costly mistake, especially for an organization with little revenue traction. After two failed attempts, we got the sense that she had made the decision that good salespeople just don’t exist. A few bad hires can leave a bad taste in the mouth, we get it. However, once she understood the economics of hiring great salespeople, she rethought her assumptions very quickly. If you’re able to land intelligent, self-directed salespeople, the results can be magical.
Brainheart Growth Recruiting was created to help start-ups and high-growth companies avoid these costly mistakes. We’re not a recruiting agency. We believe in a much deeper engagement with our clients because we want to understand the root causes of their problems. Every revenue team is different and requires a different approach to its sales hiring strategy. Give it the attention it deserves and the results can not only have a massive impact on revenue but the company culture at large. After all, landing a great sales person might be the only thing standing between you and your next round of funding.