Recruiting sales reps at a startup is so important that, David Skok, entrepreneur turned VC, considers recruitment the third critical startup skill.
I’ve helped hundreds of customers hire sales reps at their own companies, and these are the top 3 mistakes I see startups make when recruiting sales reps summarized in an infographic below.
Mistake #1: Going with your gut when it’s not backed up by data
I hear it all the time – hiring managers say “I just don’t think they are a fit” which is code for “I don’t like them.” This is controversial, but I don’t think you should recruit using gut feel. Continue reading
I was recently involved in a sales call at Ideal Candidate with a company run by a couple of old friends of mine. While I was comfortable asking their help to setup the initial call, I am not the kind of person to abuse that relationship to push a sale – I’d much rather their company see the value proposition in our product.
Unfortunately on the sales call I probably talked too much – I am after all, a technologist.
I am hugely enthusiastic about our technology and our science. But that doesn’t explain the actual value our our product.
I’ve been thinking about this since the call. Continue reading
The costs of replacing a highly paid employee can be up to 213% of their annual salary. For sales in particular, research has found the average cost of replacing a failed sales hire is $114,957.
With such high costs associated with a single hiring mistake, it’s not surprising that people tend to follow the hire slow, fire fast mantra. But what’s missing from this decision is an analysis of the opportunity costs of not hiring.
What do these opportunity costs consist of? The potential sales revenue and market share you’ve lost out on by not hiring a sales rep. Continue reading
There’s an oft-repeated statistic in the startup world: More than 95% of startups fail.
Now that we have that cheerful news out of the way, do those crazy perks that startups offer when hiring actually make a difference when it comes to its survival?
A new study aimed to find out.
Why startups offer perks when hiring
Companies advertise their perks when hiring because of the belief that they build a sense of reciprocity between the employees and the company, which motivates employees to perform better and increases their commitment to stay. Offering perks is a popular hiring tactic because it’s perceived as a relatively cost-effective and flexible way for a startup to do so. Continue reading
We’re well into the journey of our first sales reps at Ideal Candidate, and we’re doing our best to document the process. Previously, I’ve written about how we knew we needed to hire sales reps in the first place and then the process of how we hired them by using our own system.
In this post, I focus on the logistics we put into place to help make our sales reps successful. My goal was to have them ready to go from day one. It turns out we use a LOT of tools to make this happen (maybe too many?)
In my previous company, my first ever sales hire was given a headset, some Skype credit, a trade magazine, and a thumbs up. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I wrote about a few indicators that a startup can use to determine if they’re ready to begin hiring salespeople. That was the approach that we took at Ideal Candidate in deciding that we were ready to hire our first sales reps.
This is a follow up as we did indeed hire two sales reps and they both started January 5th. How did we find them? We had the opportunity to eat our own dog food and use Ideal Candidate. It was fun to see how well our product works, but equally as fun to see first hand how much room for improvement there is. Continue reading
Hiring your first salespeople at a startup is a huge milestone. It’s typically the point where you start building a scalable business that isn’t reliant solely on the founders. Hey, I love selling, but my goal is always to hire people around me that are better than me at various tasks and sales is no exception.
The first step in hiring salespeople is realizing when you need them. In our case, Ideal Candidate is about a year old, we have happy (paying) customers. I can safely say we’re out of beta and ready to hit the road selling. In the movie Moneyball, the Oakland A’s used data and stats to build their baseball team and that’s exactly what we did for our sales team. Continue reading
I’ll admit, I’m not used to not having a booth at a trade show. At my last company, we’d typically have at least a 10’x10’ booth where we’d give away t-shirts and scan badges for leads.
We just launched Ideal Candidate live to the world about 5 months ago. Although I’d love to have a booth at Dreamforce, it’s just not cost effective (i.e., it’s the most expensive trade show I’ve seen for booth space) at our current stage.
We have a simple mission right now. We’re looking for tech companies that have a growing sales team. They’re our ideal customers. Continue reading
I recently met with an entrepreneur who had an idea for a product that he wanted some feedback on. After hearing about his project I did a Google search and, sure enough, found a very similar product already available.
The look on his face told me that he was not happy to learn about this new competition. I had the opposite reaction, I was happy to find them.
Competition is a great thing to have. You need someone to beat. Monday night football would be boring if there was only one team in the NFL. You should want to destroy your competition. Continue reading
You have a tech startup and people are finally buying your product. Amazing. The pressure is now on to start growing sales. Initially, and in many cases, sales are conducted exclusively by the founders. But it’s time to grow and scale. It’s way too early (and expensive) to hire a VP of Sales or even a Sales Manager. So it’s time to
hire those first sales reps.
Hiring the right salespeople is a combination of a lot of factors but from my past mistakes I can tell you the type of person not to hire: the experienced salesperson from a big tech company. Continue reading
At my previous business we grew from 2 to 35 employees before we chose to hire someone in HR. Did we leave it too late? Or jump too early?
Popular opinion will suggest hiring someone in HR around employee number 10 – 15, yet others suggest to wait until there are hundreds of employees. The answer likely lies somewhere in the middle for your startup.
Here’s my take on the key pros and cons to evaluate:
Pro: Help with legal guidance. Note that I said guidance. If you have a legal issue, a lawyer is still your best bet. That being said, an HR manager can guide you in the right direction. Continue reading
Last week I covered Part I of Earning Startup Street Cred: The Sales Road Trip. Today, I’m talking tradeshows.
The idea is to go to a tradeshow, collect leads and get sales. Most startups, especially B2B, end up going to multiple tradeshows every year. One day your customers will be throwing their money at you, but today, you’re a startup and you’re begging for 5 minutes of a prospect’s time.
Without further ado, the 3 essentials for the startup tradeshow:
1. The Booth
You can always tell at a tradeshow which companies are startups and which aren’t. Exhibit A:
Inconvenient truth: Tradeshow booths are very expensive. Continue reading
Fortune 500 companies weren’t always Fortune 500 companies. You’ve got to start somewhere. Every time I speak to successful founders or the first couple of salespeople at a startup there’s one topic that pulls everyone together: the epic startup road trip. Ah, the nostalgia.
Although less glamorous, the trips made to get those first customers to sign the purchase order come with some fond memories. After years of research (ok, mostly my experience), here are the 3 essential elements of a startup sales road trip.
1. The Startup Motel
Let’s be honest, you’re a startup – you’re not staying at the Four Seasons. Continue reading
It’s been a little over 12 months since the acquisition of our last company, Field ID. While building Field ID, my co-founder Shaun and I learned two things about ourselves very quickly:
We love startups and building companies
We love solving real world business problems
At our core, we are B2B guys. We didn’t waste any time launching our new startup and today I’m very pleased to introduce Ideal Candidate to the world. This time around we’re solving a problem that we, and many other companies, experience daily: recruiting and identifying top salespeople.
The Problem with Sales Recruiting
While at Field ID, we had an extremely hard time finding the right salespeople. Continue reading