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What is the role of the sales director in a new company?

My one year old company has developed great mobile device accessories for the education market. We already have about 50 schools or districts as customers and are adding more every week. That being said I was expecting to have higher sales at this point as there is a great need for our products. I have been working with my co-founder on directing sales with four independent reps in different parts of the country. My partner and I have generated about 80% of the sales for the company from our efforts. I feel that my reps could be doing better if we had someone with experience in this area that could manage and motivate them.

We have been holding off on bringing in someone specific for sales until the company grew enough to be able to afford to pay a vice president level salary. We also thought that we could provide some equity as well, especially as we still sacrificing to get the company to better financial state.

This is my first experience in a company that sells products. My background up to this point has been in education. I know the education market very well, but I also want to still keep my credibility high by not being the guy that is persistently bothering my education colleagues about purchasing our products. How much would hiring a sales director or VP help with getting our product wider exposure that could lead to more sales?




34 Replies

Zachary McClung
1
0
Zachary McClung Entrepreneur
Chief Customer Officer | Cloud Servers | Disaster Recovery | CDN | Dedicated Servers
I don't believe you are at a point where a VP of Sales, Director of Sales or even a Sales Manager would be beneficial. You are in the hustling stage. A VP or Director level are both strategic in nature and a sales manager is going to be the person who implements it with the team.

Independent reps are likely going to be garbage. They have no real motivation to sell your product since they aren't getting paid a salary and they have no motivation to not be terminated.

Invest in a couple hustles and then start thinking about hiring someone or promoting the hustlers later. If you need help to strategically work this out because of your lack of experience there are sales coaches who can help you.
Rick C Jones CTB
0
0
Rick C Jones CTB Entrepreneur
CVO MEADOW Lark Logistics
Sales is "overcoming objections" 1. I object to giving you business because I don't know you. 2. I object to giving you business because your to expensive 3. I object because I only do business with locals. Ect. In our business we broke down all the reasons why a client would object and created a scripted response. . With our business we used our market expertise along with our "objection" plan and we sold it. The Internet allows us to expell information and retrieve it fast! To everybody we know then to all others.
Dan Seidman
2
0
Dan Seidman Advisor
2013 International Sales Training Leader of the Year (Stevie Awards)
Mike - with no sales background you'll have a difficult time holding independent reps' feet to the fire.

IF you can hire a great sales employee, that'd be good. Equity for a sales exec could also tempt the right person. The key is to focus on people who have already sold to your existing customers.

I'd be happy to give you some starting steps on your decision-making here and getting your approach in place. Contact me and we can talk Tue or Wed this coming week.
Rick C Jones CTB
0
0
Rick C Jones CTB Entrepreneur
CVO MEADOW Lark Logistics
Once you get your game on, and are fueled by successes others will take an interest , you won't have to find them , they will find you . We grew our own sales professional . Those that were so excited about our product that they had to tell some one about it! The more transactions they controlled the less involvement I had and could devote my time to research and developenent
Lane Campbell
1
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Lane Campbell Advisor
Lifelong Entrepreneur
It depends on what you are selling but a direct sales model like you are building might be the wrong way to go. In order to build a successful direct sales program you need good sales people. Good salespeople are extremely difficult to hire because they often don't perform and you won't know until after you've had them working for months on payroll. Instead I often recommend startups persuse an indirect sales program (channel sales program) that relies on partners and rewards them for performance.

If you want to chat about your sales program let me know. I've advised owners of startups in a variety of industries on how to best implement a sales program.
Rick C Jones CTB
0
0
Rick C Jones CTB Entrepreneur
CVO MEADOW Lark Logistics
I agree with Mr. Seidman , his group could help you identify and train a sales expert. I just love selling what I know. In our business all our upper management are sales types. We are very coordinated and we all eat and breath selling our product. That's the truth about being a sales driven company
Judy Frank
0
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Judy Frank Entrepreneur
Accelerate Sales Performance, Coach, Training, Consulting, Outsourced Sales Managment | jfrank@vortexology.net

Mike,

I agree with Dan aboutif you can hire a great salesperson/manager (player/coach), then do it. Or engage a sales coach whounderstands sales and can help you determine the profile, personality, and skill set you need.

As for the independent reps,having a sales process that is clearly defined, metrics that measure what needs to be tracked, and marketing support to accelerate their success will help you to motivate them. Motivation comes from giving them the tools, technology, training, marketing support, and recognition/rewards that inspire them to lead withyour solution.

I have several ideas about how to put these elements in place which will enable you to determine your next steps.Please reach out if you'd like to explore how to mobilize your current sales team and determine if a full time sales leader would benefit you.

Rick C Jones CTB
0
0
Rick C Jones CTB Entrepreneur
CVO MEADOW Lark Logistics
We became a transportation marketing company. We used be a transportation company! Sales absolutely guides everything we do. We have the most turnover in our sales and marketing group. But...you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince! Sent from my iPhone Rick Jones | CTB, CVO Meadow Lark Companies 935 Lake Elmo Drive | Billings, MT 59105 Office: [removed to protect privacy] | Direct: [removed to protect privacy] Fax: [removed to protect privacy] [cid:email-graphic9.jpg] Built for the American Truck Driver overtheroadapparel.com
Patrick T. Malone
0
0
Interim President & CEO at Blairsville Union County Chamber of Commerce
What is the role of the sales director in a new company?How do you know the independent reps need managing and motivating? Patrick Malone Senior Partner The PAR Group
Rob Gropper
0
0
Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
Mike, what is the present value and LTV of a typical transaction and to whom do you sell (districts, schools, teachers)? If that is propriety feel free to ping me directly. it's hard to give an accurate answer without knowing these bits of information. If you are doing a small number of large transactions a direct model with mostly outside sales reps makes sense. If a high volume of low value transactions then a direct model of inside reps and an increasing emphasis on marketing and inbound lead generation and sales automation is key. I would not recommend independent reps - your company and product and systems are simply not mature enough yet. I would also recommend taking a close look at your comp plan. Good sales people are money motivated and incentivizing the right behavior and minimizing the wrong behavior is tricky. Good comp plans are hard to design, but essential to motiving sales people. recruiting, vetting and managing a team of professional, driven sales people takes some experience so i'd recommend connecting with an advisor with this experience. I would deliberately recruit at least one sales person with the intent of promoting them to a manager soon. If you and your cofounder don't have sales and sales management experience it's not something you are likely to master quickly.
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