At VA Partners we have talked to hundreds of businesses since we started in the fall of 2006. Over that time we have across many organizations that have made big mistakes with their first B2B hire. Your first sales hire could be your riskiest hire. A bad hire not only means wasted effort and money on that hire, but it also means an opportunity cost as your business spins its wheels with that bad hire. Here are a few of the top mistakes the VA Partners team sees with first sales hires.
Placing Too High a Value on Industry Experience Versus Sales
Industry experience is great, but if they aren’t interested in the un-fun part of sales it isn’t going to work out. We see people hiring farmers versus hunters, they want to manage accounts not close accounts. Sometimes they actually want to be in marketing versus sales.
Hiring for the Wrong Role
There are often 2 distinct first hires for a start-up. They could go with a more senior or a junior sales person. There are pluses and minuses for each role. It relates to the capabilities of the founders, the complexity of the sale, and funds available.
The key to a great relationship is setting up clear expectations. This not only relates to revenue targets but also the activities that generate sales. There could be targets on meetings, demos, proposals, and other important tasks that are part of the sales process.
One of the things that can make or break a new hire is the onboarding process. The experience for a new rep can be a big determination if they not only succeed but also stay long term. Being prepared means having the admin ready and a plan to get them trained and ready to contribute to the business.
Inspecting What You Expect
When new employees start it is especially important to inspect what you expect. This means reviewing the CRM, sitting together for calls, and reviewing targets on a regular basis.
If you are looking to hire your first sales rep and need some help, connect with me and we can talk about how to not make a mistake with your first hire.