Relationships and reputation are the keys to your startup brand. Outside of the founder and the performance of your product, the biggest impact on both is your first Sales hire.
Outside of the founder, the first Sales hire is the biggest brand evangelist and brand ambassador. They are the first individual your clients will meet and likely be the person they interact with the most. For clients, your salesperson will be one of the key ways of how they think of your company.
With the world being interconnected as it is, how that experience goes with your salesperson will influence if people want to engage with your company.
Therefore, to establish a solid foundation for your brand, your first sales hire needs to be someone who can build relationships, both with your clients as well as within your startup. An absolute brand disaster would occur if you hired a transactional salesperson, meaning someone who considered getting the deal done took precedence over everything else.
You need to get deals done, of course, but not at the expense of client relationships (you’re going to need referrals and references, right?) and not where each deal comes with a list of product enhancements. It’s impossible to build a scalable, repeatable, predictable sales process if your salesperson is putting the deal ahead of selling the product as is.
Identifying salespeople with ‘relationship’ traits over ‘transactional’ traits is, therefore, important. Equally, avoiding compensation packages that drive transactional behaviour is a must. Commission-only is a strict taboo and even high variable components within a compensation plan are best avoided so as not to incentivize transitional behaviors. Ideally, your first Sales hire should be paid a decent living wage with performance-based upside in the form of stock options.
Building your startup brand puts more pressure on getting the first Sales hire right, which we know to be—based on experience, interviews with entrepreneurs, and qualitative research— what we call a Pathfinder.
In addition to the relationship traits, a Pathfinder salesperson:
- Has a hunger motivated by something more than just money; they have a passion for being part of something that is exciting, dynamic, and growing.
- Works well with ambiguity, as many startups and their products quickly evolve,
- Is enthusiastic about developing processes and procedures necessary for a successful sales operation as an organization scales,
- Is naturally curious, providing creative solutions.
Okay, so how do you go about hiring one of these Pathfinders?
That’s where The Right Five comes in.
We automatically deliver B2B tech founders the right five Pathfinder salespeople to interview for their first sales hire, allowing them to get the right person hired quickly – which can make all the difference in the success or failure of a startup.
Here is the process:
- All candidates are directed to your unique application url where individuals take the proprietary Right Five assessment,
- Log onto your secure Client Dashboard to review and compare your Pathfinders,
- You decide whom to interview based on your additional specific criteria,
- You choose the right one.
To learn more about how The Right Five can help you get your first Sales hire right, please contact us here.