Big News: FounderDating is joining OneVest to build the largest community for entrepreneurs. Details here
Latest Notifications
You have no recent recommendations.
Name
Title
 
MiniBio
FOLLOW
Title
 Followers
FOLLOW TOPIC

Question goes here

1,300 Followers

  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur

Where can companies recruit great sales people?

I work most specifically in education technology, where I've found that one of the greatest limits to growth across the industry is lack of good sales processes, strategy, and talent.

My question then is, where can companies recruit great sales people? Where do great sales people get their training and experience? Where do they hang out online? What motivates them to apply to a sales position?

Any and all insights would be very welcome.

20 Replies

Eric Sullivan
2
0
Eric Sullivan Entrepreneur
CEO at FoundationLab
The outlook I always have when looking for talent is first, good talent already has a good job so what am I willing to do to get them to come work with me and leave their current situation. I think there is very few circumstances where someone who is really truely good at what they do is out scouring for new opportunities. Unless they just went through and acquisition or something along those lines. So I would figure out what can you entice them with to get them in, and then how are you going to retain them. I would look to competitors in your market and see who their sales people are and start reaching out for some conversations. The direct route is always a good way to go. I usually will always just message them on linkedin or through their website depending if they have one or not for themselves.
Jakob Thusgaard
0
1
Jakob Thusgaard Entrepreneur
►► We Sell and Create Revenue for B2B SaaS Companies
I think you shouldn't limit yourself to employees. There are solid contractors out there who have relevant networks and will perform very quickly. That broadens your options quite a bit. The chance that a contractor either is looking for a new assignment or has sufficient extra time for your offering is certainly present.
Christina Tseng
1
0
Christina Tseng Advisor
Product Marketing, Management Consultant
or, how can startup companies recruit great any people when you don't have money or energy to waste on bad hires? If you can't hire from your inner circle, try to structure the compensation in a way that allows you to try out salespeople without paying too much money. Be careful, though, even when you don't spend cash on new hire, the training, time and effort are still precious resource to waste on bad hires.

Even the most seasoned executives (Andy Grove, for example) gets the hiring decision wrong all the time, the sure way to know is to try them out. The good thing about running a startup is you can be nimble and flexible, try out new people on a contract/commission basis, this is especially true when it comes to sales.

In general, I rather hire someone with good an attitude than the claim of having a good track record.
James McCracken
1
0
James McCracken Entrepreneur
Regional Sales Manager, Mid Atlantic at AppDynamics
The best sales people hang out where there's cash. Can you offer the potential for a 500k+ W2? As far as process goes, it's up to leadership to institute that. But start with VITO (to find opps) and MEDDIC (to close them). 2 sales process that have never failed great sales people!
Ahmad Raza Khan
0
0
Ahmad Raza Khan Entrepreneur
Sr. Technical Account Manager at Amazon Web Services
I would go and recruit at major industry conferences like VMWorld, Cisco Live, Oracle OpenWorld, DreamForce etc. Lots of very experienced sales people and some of them are bored of selling boxes and would love to join a promising startup.
Jason Grisham
1
0
Jason Grisham Entrepreneur
Local
What I see is super sales people just exist and are rewarded. What I don't see is sales as a craft that is encouraged. Are you personally doing your best with every opportunity that is presented.
Eric Landeen
1
0
Eric Landeen Entrepreneur
Director at doxo
If you know the market you are focused on and you know a few people that are good proxies for the buyers in that market, then ask those people who the best salespeople are. If they buy things, then they will know who the salespeople are that they feel most comfortable buying from, and the companies that those salespeople work for. Get to know those salespeople by telling them that you're selling a product into the education vertical and asking if they know of good qualified people that know the space and could be interested. They may be interested themselves, but they should know of others that could be good fits for you. Wash rinse repeat. Use LinkedIn heavily. Salespeople are money motivated (mostly). Hope that helps. Best, -Eric
Brian Sharwood
6
0
Brian Sharwood Advisor
VP Operations at CareGuide
I think one very important consideration when looking for sales people is the stage of the startup you are in. There are good start-up sales people, who are comfortable without structure, and selling a product that isn't fully developed with undeveloped processes, but these people are vastly different from the people you're going to find if you go and recruit from something like a Cisco or Salesforce type company. Be careful if you're a small, young startup from hiring from established companies because those people will expect more structure than you probably have.
Both people will be looking for good money, both in cash and equity, (and with sales people, good people cost money) but they are different people.
Rob Roj
2
0
Rob Roj Advisor
Entrepreneurial Technical Sales
Selling in education is UGLY. Long sales cycles, highly bureaucratic sales process (Huge RFI/RFPs), and small budgets. I would try people with experience in the space because it's a really painful process to learn how to sell in the space. I would look for ex-sales people from companies such as Rafter.com (formerly Bookrenter.com), Blackboard (http://www.blackboard.com/) and Ideapaint (http://ideapaint.com). These companies have made good inroads into education. The first two are tech. Ideapaint grew from 0 to $200M in revenue mainly in the education space in 2 years.

Disclaimer: I worked at Bookrenter.com and Ideapaint founders went to my MBA school, Babson.
Rodrigo Vaca
3
0
Rodrigo Vaca Entrepreneur • Advisor
Product & Marketing
Deborah -

Sometimes we over-rate previous experience of sales people. While it's great to have someone been-there-done-that, sometimes that comes at a price: baggage about how they think sales should be run, handled, comp, etc.

I speak from experience. One time we hired a rep with many years of experience, but he just couldn't change/adapt to our process. Things didn't go well. Not only it was painful for both sides, but we also lost valuable time.

Sometimes you can get great sales people out of college (and if you're more progressive, even without college). There's a little bit more more of training that you need to do, but you can usually mold them to your way of doing things and process. This, of course, assumes you have a sales vp/director at the top that can make it happen. But if you subscribe to the lean startup philosophy (not sure where you are in your cycle), then you'll agree that there's a lot of value in founders/execs being involved in the sales cycle well past beyond the first few customers.

Now, I believe the above statement applies across the board to many different industries and sales processes - and I've seen it working across different markets and business model. However, I am not oblivious to the fact that enterprise and government (where a lot of education money is at) presents its own set of challenges.

A good rule of thumb to me is: the slower the sales cycle and the higher the average ticket item, the more experienced sales guys you'll want to hire (less room for error), but if you have a high-velocity sale cycle with a relatively low ticket item, then you have more room to experiment.

Here's a link to a brief article that helps visualize this: christophjanz.blogspot.com/2014/10/five-ways-to-build-100-million-business.html Not a direct answer to your question - don't have magic dust! - but I hope it helps a bit.

Rodrigo
Join FounderDating to participate in the discussion
Nothing gets posted to LinkedIn and your information will not be shared.

Just a few more details please.

DO: Start a discussion, share a resource, or ask a question related to entrepreneurship.
DON'T: Post about prohibited topics such as recruiting, cofounder wanted, check out my product
or feedback on the FD site (you can send this to us directly info@founderdating.com).
See the Community Code of Conduct for more details.

Title

Give your question or discussion topic a great title, make it catchy and succinct.

Details

Make sure what you're about to say is specific and relevant - you'll get better responses.

Topics

Tag your discussion so you get more relevant responses.

Question goes here

1,300 Followers

  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
Know someone who should answer this question? Enter their email below
Stay current and follow these discussion topics?