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6 Ways to Hire the Best Salespeople for your Startup


Having a sturdy pool of salespeople is one of the key ingredients of a compelling team. So, it is critical for startup founders to focus on the hiring process and find new ways of acquiring the right sales talent. Recruitment of a sales team must be done in a well-planned and organized manner. You shouldn’t recruit too early or too late, too aggressively or too passively. Pursuing wrong candidates can cost you exorbitantly as the sales attrition rate is too high.

The three utmost crucial things to consider while building a sales team are:

  • Cost Incurred on a Salesperson – Salary and Incentives
  • Output of a Salesperson – Sales Productivity
  • Lead volumes required to make a salesperson successful

Though it’s a challenge to find excellent salespeople, having the right process in place is half the battle won.

Let’s have a glance at 6 ways for startups to hire a successful sales team:

Know Your Selling Ecosystem and Sales Goals

You need to clearly understand your market and the selling ecosystem especially in case of tech startups. Market demographics, involvement of influencers, industry regulations and significance of partners and resellers are few key things to be studied properly.Setting up sales goals, in terms of revenues and time, before recruiting salespeople is important to drive adoption, foster a footprint and establish long-term relationships.

Knowing these things will determine the kind of salespeople required to make your startup a success.

Choose the Interview Team Wisely

Some people might be very good at what they do but may not be good at interviewing. Startup founder, being the leader of the team, is the best person to figure out who all amongst your company can be the right fit to perform the role of interviewers and put them in the interview team accordingly. Different people possess different styles of taking interviews and the ideal ones need to be there in the team. When it comes to technical hiring, there has to be an element of technical questioning also. So, decide your interview team based on your requirements and have a balance of both technical and role-based interviewers to make the process attractive.

Look for Creative Thinkers who can Build your Unique Go-to-Market

A go-to-market strategy for an early startup requires close alignment of sales, marketing and product management, to become successful. Your ideal salesperson should be the one who can work on these functions and not just hunt for deals. He should be ready to make adjustments and help you in building your unique go-to-market strategy. For example- if a startup’s GTM require you to drop certain target segments when approaching for sales as analysis done in conjunction with the founder, marketing team and product team reveals that these segments demand high-cost-to-serve and generate lower revenues, the salespeople must be able to work accordingly and shift their focus to high-impact customers.

Use your Own Network, Referrals and LinkedIn to Recruit Sales Talent

Below are three efficient and free tools that entrepreneurs must utilize to hire sales talent:

  • Founders’ Network – Reaching out people you know would be the best way to recruit the right talent. Search for relevant people across your network such as college alumni base, previous company’s colleagues and so on. It is easier to rely and trust on someone whom you know for long and the chances of getting a great candidate is much higher.
  • Referrals – Referrals are the best source for hiring qualified salespeople. Ask your current sales team to go through their network and see if they know someone who would be a good fit for the role. Build a referral program and award people who are able to bring the desired candidates to the table.
  • LinkedIn – LinkedIn is one of the key platforms to tap to identify and contact ideal sales candidates for your startup. But before tapping the potential of this effective social media tool, make sure you create a good website that demonstrates your culture, development opportunities, and vision for the future. Then use the enormous power of LinkedIn to recruit the desired candidates from the large pool of talent present in the platform.

Always Be Hiring

Recruiting should be a never ending cycle. Don’t wait until you desperately need to recruit for open positions. Your startup is in a growing phase and you will require exceptional performers to sustain the growth and take your company to the next level. It is better to keep a backlog of potential people as it will allow you to hire the right fit as soon as there is any vacancy. Cultivate your connections and keep a list of qualified candidates ready for the time when you need them.

Give More Points to Talent than Experience

Undoubtedly, having relevant experience matters in sales but lack of it should not be a deal-breaker. Startups should definitely look for hiring fresh talent who are willing to grow with the company. People fresh out of the college are ready to grow, full of enthusiasm and hungry to learn. Instead of focussing more on experience, hunt for people with sales talent. Candidates who possess characteristics such as excellent communication skills, competitive nature, high charisma and better tolerance for rejection can be the ideal ones for your company.

Also Read, 6 Steps to Establish the First Sales Process for your Startup

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