HOW TO SPEND IT — PART 8
A Special Case: Salespeople
One day, you will need them. But not on day one.
Hiring salespeople involves several prerequisites that must be met. And finding the right person is not trivial either. Let’s start with the question of when to hire them, and then move on to who it should be.
When is the appropriate moment to hire salespeople?
Besides software engineers, sales people are the second category of employees who cost a lot and contribute a lot to the development of a company. It is a natural interest of startups to begin with sales as soon as possible in order to become independent of external cash injections. Shouldn’t a salesperson then be hired as soon as possible? No. A startup must take a few steps beforehand:
- Problem-solution fit: It must be clear that the solution the startup produces fits perfectly with the needs of the target customers. This can be determined through user testing and surveys on a first, vague level.
- Product-market fit: It is not enough to see that the solution addresses previously unmet needs, there must also be a market for it where many people would pay a respectable amount of money for the product or service. An often-used way to verify this is to set up landing pages with a mock-up of the solution, as well as a price tag and a buy-it-now button. The clicks on the button can be counted and put in relation to the total number of visitors. But still, we only have a rough estimate of the sales potential.
- Sales practice: Product-market fit is not enough. Before a startup hires its first salesperson, it must be clear what will work and how. This means real sales, and that all the things the new employee needs to get started must be in place: the sales story, the sales process, a guide, product presentations, price lists, best practices based on initial sales experience.
Important: Startup founders should make the first 50–100 sales themselves!
Not kiddin’. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Tech founders in particular often report their fear of…