How to Get the Most Out of Your Startup Sales Team: Tips for Founders

Startup Sales Team

Starting a company is no easy task; not only do founders have to build the product from scratch, but they also need to hire qualified salespeople. Founders need to learn how important it is for their team to sell what they are building and why it matters so much. If you can’t explain your startup’s value proposition in less than 30 seconds, then chances are your sales team will struggle too. The hiring process for salespeople is different from non-sales positions. 

Founders should make sure they look for hard workers who love what they do over Ivy League grads with no experience. Salespeople need to explain how the product will help their customers and identify qualified leads that your company can follow up on right away. In this article, we have mentioned some other tips about hiring a great startup sales team.

Let’s take a look at these tips.

1. Never Hire A Sales Person In A Hurry

The world is filled with startup founders who have written a business plan, secured some seed capital to get started, and hired their first salesperson. These founders often find out the hard way that they need more than one or two people on their team to be successful. They usually do not realize that there is a difference between hiring someone for the sake of just having another person on staff and doing it in such a way to ensure they get maximum production from their new hire.

2. Think “Revenue Engineer” instead of “VP of Sales”

Founders tend to overvalue sales expertise at the expense of building out other skills. Founders should be more open to hiring lead generation-focused engineers to understand business goals and identify scalable acquisition channels. These “Revenue Engineers” can then work on scaling revenue opportunities while also providing insight into new customer needs for product development purposes.

3. Avoid Hiring Many Sales People At Once

The worst mistake you can make as a startup founder is to hire many salespeople at once and then wonder why they aren’t all productive. Having too many reps in your early stages will create confusion and lead to poor results. It may take some time for founders to determine the correct number of necessary hires before scaling up their team size.

4. Don’t fall into the trap of creating complex compensation schemes

Not all salespeople are motivated by money. It is important to note that not all of them will be, and you shouldn’t focus too much on the financial side of things when hiring your startup’s first few employees. Please keep it simple: A basic salary coupled with a commission for every sale made provides the best results in both motivation and quality.

5. Agile methodologies are effective in sales

The lean startup methodology works very well in sales. It’s all about continuous innovation and frequent feedback from customers. Agile lets you be nimble, iterate quickly, and the team is focused on building only what the customer wants (and not extra).

6. Provide connect incentives to motivate employees

With so many different ways to motivate your employees, providing “connect incentives” for your startup sales team can help them connect with their job. For example, you could offer a small bonus or even organize an offsite event that rewards the entire team when they hit specific goals for the month.

7. Learn your business’s economics

Before you build a sales team, learn your startup’s economics. How many customers do you need? At what rate do they churn? What is the customer lifetime value (CLV)? This will help determine how much and what kind of hiring: inbound or outbound, full-time or part-time, and how many reps.

8. Your life-time-value must be higher than your COCA

Startup founders often forget that their business is not about them. Their ultimate goal is to generate a profitable and scalable business model, no matter how long it takes. As such, they need to be able to value themselves in terms of the lifetime value (LTV) generated by each client relationship compared with their customer acquisition cost (COCA), which for many startups means acquiring free customers through other channels than paid advertising or paying very little money for leads from partners or affiliates.

9. Your price should correspond to your sales strategy

A high price will attract the right clients, but you may lose out on volume. Low prices can quickly bring in large volumes of new customers, but they’ll probably be low-quality leads and not convert well to sales. If your product is a commodity or similar with little differentiation between brands, then pricing according to cost is usually more effective than trying to win on features/design alone.

The Bottom Line

As a startup founder, you are juggling many roles. Sales are one of them, and it can be tough to find the time for sales training with all these other responsibilities on your plate. However, there are some easy ways to make sure that your team has the necessary knowledge to succeed in closing deals without having to take valuable time away from critical functions like product development or customer support. We hope that these tips help you build your best sales team.


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