The art of selling is a vital factor for not only the big names but for any start-up as well. Even if a company has a pretty amazing solution to a particular problem, they often do not understand the sales side of business. As a result of which, many start-ups with great potential, often fail. It is often seen that a lot of assumptions are made, that often fall short of their expectations. This requires proper customer validation. The potential for the product's success needs to be researched prior to getting to the technical part i.e talking to customers and asking them if they would invest money in that particular product, and tweaking the sales pitch until 9/10 customers agree. Likewise, there are many common mistakes with respect to sales and hiring sales representatives that start-ups make, some of which are discussed here
Selling is an essential skill for the core team
The core team should have a basic knowledge of sales and marketing expertise. This will help them to close the first few deals, and develop an initial process for which they can hire someone as the business expands. But this is not the case for many technical start-ups. The co-founders often hire an experienced salesman to do their job as they take a back seat. More often than not this results in failure, as the person you hired may not be as passionate towards the product.
Do not simply go with the ‘gut feeling’
Recruitment should not be based on a gut feeling. According to statistics, if you just think that a person is ‘not fit for the job’, there is a 50% chance that you might be wrong. It is better to carry out personality assessment and look at other factors while selecting candidates who are the right fit for the job. For, example, it would be beneficial if a sales representative is selected with experience in selling that is akin to the deal size and sales cycles of your products.
Do not focus on just domain experience
It is often seen that a person with domain experience may not be the right candidate. He or she might get stuck with the selling methods ingrained in them and fail to adapt to the new requirements. Hence, instead of seeking domain experience, selling skills related to the particular job needs to be sought out.
Do not rely on words, demand verifiable data on previous accomplishments
A prospective employee should be recruited only after assessing relevant data that contain proof of his success in a relevant field. This may involve a printed record of meeting the quotas demanded by previous companies and verifying them with the respective supervisors.
Technical knowledge is a pre-requisite for a technical start-up
If it is a technical start-up, ‘tech-savvy’ should be an important factor. For example, if the sales rep is not endowed with basic technical literacy, can you imagine how cumbersome it will be to explain him the usage of webinar software?
Do not make assumptions from a person’s resume
Assumptions should not be made based on the resume of a sales rep. It is more efficient to look into one’s personality, approach towards selling, what he may bring to the company as an individual, his cultural preferences etc. A person may have had a sales job in his previous company, whose title includes the word ‘manager’. It should not be simply assumed he may have been into management. Maybe his company preferred to put the word ‘manager’ in job titles and he may simply have been an individual contributor.
So, if you are the owner of a startup or are responsible for building a sales team, make sure you don’t make these mistakes while hiring sales representatives. Build a great team and a great company!