This question originally appeared on Quora: What are some mistakes startups make when building out a sales team?
#1. You hire a sales rep to sell before you can prove you can do it yourself. You have to prove it's sellable first. You can't outsource this.
#2. You hire a VP of Sales to sell before you prove you can do it yourself. You gotta prove the process is at least just barely repeatable before you hire someone to turn up the volume and spin the wheel faster. You gotta build 2 reps that can hit quota before you hire a real VP of Sales.
#3. Any of your first 2-3 sales reps are folks you personally wouldn't buy from. Because then you'll never trust them with your precious handful of leads, and they will fail. No matter how well they did in their last start-up.
#4. You insist reps #4-400 are folks you personally would buy from. It takes a village.
#5. You underpay. The best salespeople want to make MONEY. COIN. If you pay under-market, you get bottom of the barrel. Huge rookie error.
#6. You don't fire reps that fail in one sales cycle. If you can't close anything in one sales cycle, you never will.
#7. You ask your VP of Sales to carry a bag. Her job is to recruit a great deal and hit the overall plan. Not sell herself, not mostly.
#8. You hire someone that last sold Nu Skin. This can work later, but not in your first reps. They need to understand how to sell vaguely similar products at vaguely similar price points.
#9. You hire because she worked at Salesforce/Box/DropBox/whatever. Hire because they can close. Not because they are one of 4,000 reps at Salesforce that sell a product with $6,000,000,000 in revenues, a proven brand, with a huge infrastructure behind it.
#10. You allow any great reps to leave. You should strive for 0% voluntary attrition. Not to fire the bottom 1/3rd. That's for boiler rooms. Great sales teams stick together. Great sales teams inspire each other. Great sales team attract higher and higher quality of reps as time goes on.
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