Dear SaaStr: What’s the one key trait/skill or experience you look for when assessing an inside sales candidate for SaaS?

I break it into two stages:

In the early days, when you as founder/CEO are recruiting and managing the salesperson yourself — the #1 most important criterion is that you would buy your product yourself, from her.

In the beginning, you’ll start off as the first rep. You’ll likely close the first 5, 10, 20 customers yourself. And only then will you be ready to hire a sales rep.

And the #1 mistake founders make? They hire for the logo, the LinkedIn. They hire someone from Box, Salesforce, Twilio, etc.

That rarely works. But the #1 reason it doesn’t work isn’t because they worked at such a big company (although that’s likely a big part of it). The #1 reason is you wouldn’t buy from them. You over-index on the logo and under-index on the key fact that you know exactly how prospects want to buy in the early days.

So only hire a rep you honestly, truly would buy your own product from.

This will screen out 90%+ of the applicants, and help you avoid 95%+ of the mistakes.

A little more here:…

Later, you’ll hire a good VP of Sales. Once you have a good one — this all has to change. She will bring in a much more varied group of sales pres. Folks you wouldn’t buy from.

That’s OK. Your customer base will also get more heterogenous, and your sales and marketing processes more sophisticated by then. It will take all different types of reps to get to $10m, $20m, $100m in ARR.

A great VP of Sales will figure that out for you.

So let her make her own mistakes in hiring as you scale. As long as you have a good VP of Sales and later, Directors, under her … they will figure it out.

More here:…

The Top 10 Mistakes Folks Make Hiring Their First Sales Team (Updated)


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