We’ve written this point before, embedded in other posts. We’ve talked about it in many presentations. But it’s time to call out One Simple Hack to getting sales going in your SaaS start-up, in the early-ish days. One of the best there is in SaaS.
I’ll tell you the trick.
It’s going to sound simple, but it isn’t, because almost everyone gets it wrong.
For at least your first few reps: hire someone >>you<< personally would buy >>your product<< from. Period. Do Not Violate This Rule.
- Do not hire someone just because they worked at Datadog or HubSpot or Shopify or Box or Salesforce in “sales”.
- Do not hire someone that Talks the Talk because you think “I don’t know how to sell” and they do. You do know how to sell if you have even 1 or 2 paying customers, and especially if you have even 10 paying customers. You just aren’t great at it. But you know what works. You’ve done it after 10 paying customers.
- Do not hire someone because of their “experience in sales”, per se. Experience is good, but 95% of that experience will not be on point.
Instead … realize sales in the early days is different, especially for one reason: Every Lead is Precious. Every single one.
In the early days, Founder Led sales is all that really works. If you give a precious lead to someone that you wouldn’t buy your product from — she will end up doing worse than you. They will sell even less of your product.
The key here is someone you’d buy your product from. Not buy some other product. But your new, feature-poor, bug-ridden product that does one thing really well but everything else terribly. Would you buy it from her?
Most founders hire reps that fail this test.
And they flush those precious leads down the drain.
Now later, you’ll need a village. All types of reps. Once you hire a real VP of Sales, don’t be so rigid about this test. Let them figure it out. Just use it as a gut check, later. A lot of say reps 4-400 will be folks you personally probably wouldn’t buy from.
But when it’s just you, as interim VP of Sales. Make it mandatory.