Hiring Sales People in Start-ups !


Courtesy Google

In this world of start-ups, everyone wants to be a part of it, but are you really ready to take the challenges of start-up environment. Everyday in newspapers or online blogs we read about start-ups getting funding’s and many top honchos from corporate world joining them. Does that mean you should also join the start-up? Have you evaluated your risk taking appetite? I have always been a strong believer in joining a start-ups as it gives you a chance to learn more than what you would have learnt in a big corporate firm, but learning also comes at a price and the price is your extra efforts that you have put while working in a start-up.

Sales in an important domain in any organisation be it a top corporate or a start-up. I believe hiring sales people in Start-up is a challenging job because one wrong hiring can cost time and money. So, my advice to start-ups is after you are ready with your product and you are ready to enter the market, before you hire any sales guy be sure how your product is doing in the market and what response are you getting from the market. To evaluate this the founders should approach couple of clients themselves, that you think will be key for your business. This way you will have the market knowledge also and you can guide your sales team about the approach that they need to take to sell the product. Many a times, founders make the mistake of  not reaching to the market themselves, this starves them from the market knowledge and response that the product is getting, and if to your bad luck you have hired a wrong sales person, the person can easily fool you.

Now, when you are pretty much convinced about your market and you are ready to hire your first sales guy, you should look for following qualities in him/her:

1) Does she/he has entrepreneurial mindset?

2) How comfortable is she/he in challenging environment?

3) Is she/he well spoken?

4) Is she/he ready to be on the road ?

5) Is she/he ambitious?

It is not necessary to hire a senior sales person initially, because they might not be able to deliver what your expectations are. So try to find a resource who is smart and has go-getter attitude. Because once he joins, he can always be groomed according to the market needs, which would be very difficult for a senior sales guy, as his expectation from the role would be totally different.  Besides, senior people may not have the passion of someone who is younger and less experienced. Plus, they can be very expensive.

So, once you have your first sales person on board, your responsibility does not end there. I have seen founders of many start-ups, not interacting much with their sales team, and expect them to do wonders within six months of hiring. Once your sales person is briefed about the product and sit with him/her to understand what does he/she think about the product, try to clear his/her doubts, ask him/her to make his/her first sales pitch to you itself, as this will help you understand where is he/she going wrong. You need to invest your time in your first sales person, so that he/she delivers according to your expectations.

If you make the wrong hire at the wrong time, you can set your startup back months, if not years. However, if you build a killer sales team by hiring the right people at the right time, you will raise your chances of growing your startup into a successful company.

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