How and When to Hire Your First Sales Rep

When starting a business, the responsibility falls on the CEO to wear multiple hats, one of which is being a sales rep. At first, this can be hard – especially if you have no prior background in the art of selling. As a founder, however, you have one vital advantage: Vision. It’s your product, and people are buying into your vision. If you can convince them to do just that, then your sales skills are better than you thought. Through sheer will, trial and error, and a great product or service, you soon begin finding the right market fit. As demand increases so does the need to widen your reach. And you need sales reps to push the brand forward and expand. However, it can be hard sourcing people that are the best fit if you don’t come from a sales-driven environment.

We’re Hiring

Hiring good sales reps is more than
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SaaStr Podcast #181: Jerry Jao, Founder & CEO @ Retention Science Shares How To Gain Enterprise Clients As A Startup

Welcome to Episode 181! Jerry Jao is the Founder & CEO @ Retention Science, the startup that brings intelligence to your marketing automation through artificial intelligence that delivers a personalized customer experience, at scale. To date, Jerry has raised over $10m in VC funding with Retention Science from great friends of the show in Forerunner Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Clark Landry, Andy Rankin, and more fantastic names. Prior to founding Retention Science, Jerry founded two other e-Commerce marketing technologies and served as Strategic Innovation Officer to Clear Channel Radio. Jerry is also a Guest Lecturer at The Kellogg School of Management and sits on the board of Penango. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

What You Think is a “Sales” Problem is More Likely a Marketing Problem

The other day I met with a great founder doing about $40k in MRR that wanted to raise some extra money to “make sales more repeatable.”  Sounds good. I started to dig in a bit to understand what she really meant though.  At this rough stage ($20k-$80k or so MRR), usually most SaaS startups finally have a regular stream of leads — just not that many.  10 a month, 20, 100, whatever it is.  Leads now come in regularly because at least something is working, there just aren’t a lot of them.  Not enough to grow fast enough, but enough to grow regularly. So we dug into the math.  This great start-up is closing about 5 new customers a month, and they want more.  They want more “salespeople” to help them.  But let’s dig into what’s really happening:

Ready to grow? Make absolutely sure your VP of Sales has these skills first.

Bad sales hires are painfully expensive. But if there’s one hire you really don’t want to screw up, it’s your VP. Take this founder as an example – they made a mis-hire at the VP level and churned him in less than 14 months. And it’s cost their business four quarters of performance, employee morale, and almost their entire BDR team too. Sadly, this is a very common story for me to hear these days – including the effects it has on businesses. But not just because I’m deep in the world of sales recruiting. If you haven’t seen Gong.io’s latest research on how the average VP of Sales tenure has plummeted in the last 7 years, take a hard look at the data below. It’s sobering, to say the least: VP-of-Sales-Job-Tenture Why is this happening? Well…it’s complicated. But if there’s anything that I see from my position
Percent sales reps attaining quota
Speaker switches per minute 2
Psychological Safety Net
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SaaStr Podcast #180: David Skok, GP @ Matrix Partners Shares The Right Way To Analyze Sales Rep Productivity

Welcome to Episode 180! David Skok is a serial entrepreneur turned VC at Matrix Partners. He founded four companies: Skok Systems, Corporate Software Europe, Watermark Software, and SilverStream Software and did one turnaround with Xionics. Three of the companies he founded went public and one was acquired. In 2001 David joined Matrix Partners, who had backed his last two startups, as a General Partner. David’s successful exits as an investor at Matrix include: HubSpot, JBoss, AppIQ, Tabblo, Netezza, Diligent Technologies, CloudSwitch, TribeHR, GrabCAD, OpenSpan and Enservio. David currently serves on the boards of Atomist, CloudBees, Digium, Meteor, Namely HR, Salsify, and Zaius. You can also find David’s amazing blog here! Huge thanks to Hardi Meybaum and Jason Lemkin for the intro to David today. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

Watch The SaaStr Masterclass “From $0 to $10m in ARR” from Algolia in Paris (Video )

After SaaStr Europa, we had a second, more informal event a few days later at the breathtaking headquarters of Algolia.  Over 240 founders and execs got together to talk about classic SaaStr learnings and mistakes in scaling that first $10m in ARR. The full video is below.  A bunch of the themes and points you may have heard already, but there are a lot of fresh new takes on older SaaStr themes. It was also fun to do the session together with Algolia’s head of revenue, Gatean Gachet.  Gatean was employee number 5 at Algolia and we’ve worked together for over 4 years, from $12k in MRR all the way to many tens of millions of ARR. It’s a good one!     The post Watch The SaaStr Masterclass “From $0 to $10m in ARR” from Algolia in Paris (Video ) appeared first on SaaStr.

Managing Healthy Tension Between Consistency and Flexibility With Your Sales Team

As a sales leader, you have to make a choice each and every day. Do you control your sales process to the point of scripting out calls and messaging word for word, or do you let your sales professionals express their individuality and give them complete flexibility? Most sales leaders would say that neither of those options is the right one. If you control too much of the sales process by scripting every possible move, you turn your sales professionals into robots. And that creates a bad experience for the buyer and seller. But if you give your team too much flexibility, you end up with inconsistent results. Both consistency (control) and flexibility (independence) are required to succeed in sales. Too much of one and not enough of the other leads to missed targets. As a sales leader, one of the biggest responsibilities you have is to manage the right
Flexibility vs Consistency
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SaaStr Podcast #179: Dave Kellogg, CEO @ Host Analytics On The Most Commonly Misunderstood SaaS Metrics

Welcome to Episode 179! Dave Kellogg is the CEO @ Host Analytics, the leader in cloud-based enterprise performance management (EPM). Previously, Dave was SVP/GM of Service Cloud at Salesforce and CEO at unstructured big data provider MarkLogic. Before that, Dave was CMO at Business Objects for nearly a decade as the company grew from $30M to over $1B. Dave has also worked in various capacities with the likes of Breeze, GainSight, Tableau and MongoDB and previously sat on the boards of ag tech leader, Granular (acq by DuPont for $300M) and big data leader Aster Data (acquired by Teradata for $325M). In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

How to Recruit and Onboard Channel Partners

There are a few defining moments in the channel lifecycle. Early on those two are recruiting and onboarding. How you effectively manage those two items will directly impact the success of your program. Recruiting is all about bringing partners to the table, and onboarding is all about getting to revenue with them. You must take the time to recruit the right partners for your program, and then take the time to set them up for success.

Partner Recruiting

Now that your program is in place and you know exactly how you will work with any partner, it’s time to find partners to welcome to your program. The first thing to do is identify the types of partners you want to target, and the characteristics that you are seeking in those partners. To do that you will want to determine the best go-to-market strategy with partner types. Your corporate strategy will
Phased partner onboarding approach
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Closing Techniques In Sales are Dead. This Data Explains Why.

I have bad news. By the time you try that slick closing technique you read about online, it’ll be too late. Your deal’s fate will already have been sealed. The actions you take earlier in the sales process define your outcome. Not even the fanciest closing technique can change that. Imagine an asteroid on a collision course with earth. When the asteroid is far away, even a tiny shift in its trajectory will make it miss our little blue planet. But if you shift the asteroid’s trajectory after it’s already pierced the earth’s atmosphere, when it’s near the end of its journey…Well, the outcome remains unchanged. Doom. The same thing happens with your buyers. Early in the sales process, you have the opportunity to influence their direction. You can help them frame their problems. You can help them define their buying criteria. Their perceptions are in a state of flux. Their preferences are highly
Talk to Listen Ratio
Questions Lead to Success
Sales Questions per Minute in Closing Class
Speaker Switches per Minute
Unsuccessful Early-stage Demo
Successful Early-stage Demo
Unsuccessful Closing Call
Effect of Competitor Mentions
Buyers express concern on winning closing calls
Discovery call cheat sheet
Guide to Discovery Calls
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