Failure as the Path Forward

Steve LudwigPathfinder SalesLeave a Comment

wooden tiles spelling out learn from failure

The best person to be the first sales hire for a B2B tech startup is someone that can deal with failure and rejection. 


They need to learn from each experience, refine the pitch, gather insights, and develop new approaches and potential clients.

They have to keep doing this until success hits. 

The question for entrepreneurs—and everyone else— when they hire is how do you know if a person has the quality to keep at it day after day until they get the sales ball rolling?

How do you know that a person has the intangible quality of treating failure as a place to learn that will lead them to future success? 

These things are not on a resumé.

Based on their job experience and what they say in an interview, we infer that they have the skills. This inference is given more support via a thorough reference call. However, plenty of people hired whom they thought was the right person, only to have them not work out. 

While this can be just part of the business, the longer it takes for a startup to get its first salesperson up and running, the more it hurts the company.

Throughout our careers, and in the interviews we have done with other tech founders, hiring a dud first salesperson is a common story.

They hire the person with the most impressive resumé that has come from a large tech firm. While that person might be a good salesperson, they are not the right type to be the first salesperson at a startup. The correct person is a Pathfinder. 

That’s why The Right Five has developed the only sales recruitment technology focused on the unique requirements of the first sales hire of B2B tech founders—the Pathfinder. We find and identify those intangible qualities that make a first sales hire successful.

We do this through an automated online assessment tool, rules engine and candidate communication process that identifies Pathfinder salespeople. It then automatically provides tech founders with the top five Pathfinder candidates to interview so they can choose the best fit. This saves founders time and effort, allowing them to get the right person into the market quickly.

Pathfinders create a pathway to predictable, repeatable, scalable, profitable growth. In addition to the vocational skills that they possess, they are unique in their mindset and approach to work. These are distinct qualities required to be successful as the first sales hire in a startup and unique to less than 1 in 10 salespeople. 

Additionally, Pathfinders:

  • Have a strong ability to deal with ambiguity. The first Sales hire role is one without a Playbook and, by definition, such an early startup lacks the support (e.g. lead generation) of other later stage companies.
  • They have a willingness and excitement around building the processes and procedures necessary for a successful Sales operation as an organization scales.
  • They bring a curiosity that allows for creative solutions.
  • Their hunger is motivated by something quite different to most other Sales types.

Want to find out more? Watch this five-minute overview and demo of The Right Five or send us a note and we will set up a meeting.

Curious to know more about the assessment? Want to see if you are a Pathfinder? You can take the assessment here for free but make sure you check out the notes at the bottom of that post before you start. Your results are yours, we don’t share them with anyone.

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