Founders and employed salespeople sell differently—it’s a simple fact.
Founders are able to make sales based on deep domain knowledge, creativity, and extraordinary levels of enthusiasm for their product or service. The way they engage and sell to customers is different from normal salespeople, and they’re often able to hustle up sales with very little sales support or sales collateral. As a founder, it’s not reasonable to expect your first sales hire to be able to sell the same way you do.
As a founder, it’s not reasonable to expect your first sales hire to be able to sell the same way you do.
If you want to ensure the success of your first sales hire, you need to have the necessary processes, metrics and support in place when they come on board. Sales people are expensive, especially if you’re making complex B2B sales to large enterprises. Both the costs and opportunity costs of an unsuccessful hire are extremely high.
We’ve summarised what you need to have in place for your first sales hire below.
Company strategy and revenue targets
Well defined product or service
Robust pricing model
Marketing and sales tools
Your sales and marketing collateral should be calibrated to the buyer’s journey for your particular product. At a minimum, you should generally be able to provide your sales person with the following:
- CRM System (e.g. Pipedrive, Salesforce, etc)
- Sales presentation deck
- Sales playbook that includes a qualification framework and buyer personas
- Product demo
- Proposal templates
- Website with product description(s)
- Product brochures
Activity metrics for your sales process
The sales quota/target/budget is the ultimate number that your salesperson needs to achieve, but they need to know what they have to do in order to get there. This is where activity metrics come in.
By the time you hire a salesperson, you should’ve been tracking your own activity metrics to create a baseline for the activity that is required to generate a sale. This should include metrics for things like outbound prospecting calls, discovery meetings, and proposals, along with expected conversion metrics.
A trap that many companies fall into is making up activity metrics that have no basis in reality. Generally, this results in the metrics having low credibility, and leads to unproductive salespeople.
Clear remuneration and commission structure
Anybody that you hire into your sales team should be extremely money driven. Money motivates good sales people and you must be able to provide them with a lucrative and easy-to-understand commission structure. They must easily be able to see what they stand to earn when they hit or exceed targets.
As a side note, if you haven’t yet worked out a commission structure, you’re going to be under-calculating your customer acquisition cost, and may well be mis-pricing your product as a result.
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