Panning for Pathfinder Gold

Steve LudwigHiring ChallengesLeave a Comment

Panning for Pathfinder Gold

It has been called the “Great Resignation.” 

People are quitting their jobs in record numbers. The lockdowns and forced remote work during COVID-19 gave people a chance to see work differently. Many realized they wanted a combination of something more fulfilling, better paying, with greater flexibility, or all three. That means there is an even greater scramble among established companies and startup firms to find and keep talent (not to mention getting good service at a restaurant or retail store). 

For the founder of a bootstrapped B2B tech startup looking to make their first Sales hire, this makes a very hard job even more difficult. As we have noted previously, getting that first Sales hire right is critical to short-term viability and long-term success.

The person you need as your first sales hire is a Pathfinder. In addition to the hard skills that they possess, they are unique in their mindset and approach to work. Someone that comes with a fat Rolodex is often the go-to hire for the time-limited founder, but they usually don’t have the right skills needed for a startup. They’re not a Pathfinder.

Equally, there is also the temptation to only consider current salespeople in general or people that come exclusively from tech.  Based on our research at The Right Five, we found that you likely have more options. The key here is to look for those with Pathfinder characteristics meaning the requisite sales (and marketing) skills together with the mindset to be successful in this particular role. This is not necessarily someone who has “Sales” in their current job title. 

As we have shared before, 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 an 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.

So, how do you add these hidden gems to your hiring queue? 

  • Look inside your organization. Is there someone there that might be the right fit? 
  • Ensure that your job posting is not just a list of tasks, but includes the Pathfinder job skills.
  • Encourage applicants outside of traditional Sales roles. 
  • Ensure your job posting can capture the largest possible appropriate audience. 
  • Work with us at The Right Five to help you find the candidates that have the strongest Pathfinder profiles along with other skills you need. 

Granted, hiring outside of traditional Sales roles or even the tech industry is an unorthodox approach. But, as B2B startups are looking to be disruptors and create something new, sometimes the best salespeople will also be ones that break the mold. 

To learn more about how The Right Five can help you get your first Sales hire right, please contact us using the sign-up form in the left hand column.

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