Who Should Be Your First Sales Hire?

Steve LudwigValue Creation JourneyLeave a Comment

the number one in a parking space

Quick. Think of a salesperson. What comes to mind? How do you feel about that person? 

If you are like most of us, we’re suspicious of salespeople. They are the ones that try to get us to buy a car we can’t afford, pitch ethically questionable extended warranties, and seem to hover over us in certain stores. 

Throw in the sales tactics seen in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street and that’s the last thing we want to deal with. Who wants that type of person representing you or your company? 

While those are the first images that come to mind for a salesperson, the good news is that’s not the way sales work (usually) in the B2B world. Those high-pressure and unethical sales tactics are rare. 

The salesperson’s job now is to build relationships, understand client needs, and provide solutions. The salesperson is making the customer’s life easier by solving problems for them. 

It’s a buyer’s journey we interact with, we don’t start it. When a potential customer has a problem, they go to Google, a trade show, work their network on LinkedIn, and try to figure it out. 

Before they ever see the salesperson for your B2B tech startup, they researched their problem, have some ideas on how to solve it, and maybe even have some potential vendors in mind that can provide them solutions. 

This is why hiring a Pathfinder as your first salesperson is so important. The Pathfinder has the right set of characteristics and skills that will help bring greater focus to your sales and marketing efforts. 

Because they are a Pathfinder, they will have the courage to go out and try and fail new things, gain new information, and try again. All the while building the knowledge base of the company about what the market is responding to. Your B2B startup will then have a clearer understanding and refining of the market through the Pathfinder’s conversations with potential clients, conducting further research, and growing the company’s network.  

Through this process, the Pathfinder is building the Playbook that will help you develop a scalable, predictable, repeatable, and profitable sales model that will supercharge your growth. 

This process, meeting the customer where they are, understanding their needs, and gaining deeper insight into the market is the furthest thing from a guy in a bad sports coat trying to sell you a used car. The Pathfinder is a critical partner to your customers and is invested in their success, which helps ensure the success of your company.

Expanding on the Pathfinder…

Scaling any B2B tech startup can be massively dependent on getting that first Sales hire right, the first time. Unless the founder has already nailed down your Playbook (and how many do?), that hire is not necessarily a VP Sales leader type.

For the vast majority of B2B tech startups, the Playbook still needs to be developed, those who will be successful as the first Sales hire are [called] Pathfinders. Their DNA is different to that of most other salespeople. Yes, they understand the blocking and tackling of sales (and marketing) like the rest, but their DNA is different. For example, they:

  • can deal with the ambiguity of your startup environment
  • are not entitled
  • have motivations other than to make money, they are builders
  • etc.

The good news is that these skills (along with the blocking and tackling stuff) have been codified and an online Pathfinder assessment and rules engine developed so that a mass of applicants can be automatically reduced to a handful of Pathfinders for interview.

If you need a Pathfinder, you can save time and money while reducing the risk of your first sales hire. Watch an overview and demo of The Right Five.

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