Hiring Your First B2B Sales Person

This past week I moderated a panel for the Innovation Factory on hiring your first B2B Sales person.  We had a great panel including Jordana Matsos from hirequity, Shelia Fung from Uvaro, and Antonio Michael Downing from Conestoga. There was a spirited discussion with about 25 entrepreneurs and hiring managers. Here are a few of the highlights that I took from the session on hiring your first B2B sales person.

Key Sales Attributes

One of the questions that we started with was what attributes are you looking for in a sales person. Many were mentioned but the two most commonly mentioned by the panel was resilience and coachability.  Resilience is needed because sales is hard. The sales person will get a lot of no’s before they get a yes. Coachability was mentioned as often the first hire is a more junior sales person. They will need to get better over time and being coachable is important. One of the ways they suggested to measure the attributes you are looking for is to use a psychrometric test.

Understand What Role You Need

There is not a one size fits all for sales roles. With your first or an early hire here are a few things to factor into the type of sales person you plan to hire.

  • How complex is the sale?
  • How much budget do you have?
  • How much time and capability do you have to train and develop your sales person?
  • What parts of the sales process do you like to do?
  • What tasks do you need the sales person to do?

The more experienced the sales person the more money, but less effort into managing and getting them up to speed. The more junior the sales team member the lower the cost, but more effort is needed to support them.

Be prepared

There were a few questions where the answer featured being prepared as an entrepreneur for your first hire.  This means documenting your sales processes and creating a playbook. This will give you a basis to iterate your plan and also a document that you can use to onboard your new sales person.

Sales Compensation

When hiring your first B2B salesperson compensation is an important factor.  There was a question on 100% commission roles.  There was unanimous agreement that for a junior sales person there should be a salary component.  The compensation plan can still increase some variable compensation tied to sales wins and/or activity based targets. One of the best targets for a BDR type role could be qualified discovery calls meetings.

To be part of more great sales and marketing sessions check out the Innovation Factory events page. Our next session in June of 2024 is on Founder led Sales.

If you need some help getting ready for your next sales hire please connect with me.

Hiring Your First B2B Sales Person