Although each startup is unique, there are many common lessons which apply generally. We’ve saved you the time and bundled together 9 of the best content pieces covering 3 areas of sales:
- Hiring and building a sales team
- Compensation, culture and motivation
- Strategy and tactics
1. Hiring and building a sales team
How to interview sales candidates?
“The challenge in hiring salespeople is that they are often excellent interviewers. They can be confident, persuasive, and engaging.” — Jeff Hoffman
Jeff shares his own experience about what can go wrong along with practical advice about how to improve your interview process. Read more…
What criteria should you use to evaluate candidates?
“Picking people is very similar to picking stocks. It’s so similar that like stocks, it leverages the same methodologies; technical and fundamental analysis. Like stocks or securities you can look for past trends of the candidate and ignore a candidates intrinsic value (technical analysis) or you can look to measure the intrinsic value of the candidate (fundamental analysis).” — Jim Keenan
Keenan goes on to explain the difference between looking at the surface level factors and the intrinsic value of candidates. Read more…
When to hire a VP of Sales?
“Although a new CEO and leadership team typically want to hire a proven VP of Sales from a very successful company, making a “Rolex” hire early in the company development — and paying Rolex prices for the talent — is not the answer.” — Stephen Forte
Stephen explains the alternative way of building your sales team, including the right time to bring on a VP of Sales. Read more…
2. Compensation, culture and motivation
What is the market rate for direct sales commissions?
“Survey results did not point to a significant difference in direct commissions between companies that predominantly use a field go-to-market strategy vs. inside sales. However, the median fully-loaded commission for field sales (12%) was higher than that for inside (10%).” — David Skok
That’s just a sample of the impressive data, charts and analysis in the 2016 Pacific Crest SaaS Survey. Read more…
What about motivation beyond commissions?
“I’m not saying that commissions are inherently bad. What I am saying is that we’ve got many orthodoxies in business that we never examine. One of them is that the only way people will sell is with commissions. That might be true in some cases, but it’s not universally true. Organizations that challenge orthodoxies — of any kind — are the ones that make big breakthroughs.” — Dan Pink
What can go wrong with culture?
“A number of them say they faced a stark choice: Create new accounts by any means possible, or risk being fired for falling short of their sales goals.” — Stacy Cowley
Stacy interviews former Wells Fargo employees about what it was like working under the constant pressure of selling. It’s important to understand how bad things can get with the wrong culture. Read more…
3. Strategy and tactics
What is a sales pipeline?
“Sales pipeline — a term that gets thrown around so much, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s an empty catchphrase that simply makes salespeople who use it look like sales professionals. But your sales management operations can benefit from using a sales pipeline, and it could make a significant difference to your bottom line.” — Ayelet Weisz
Ayelet covers the specifics of how to structure a sales pipeline to get increased visibility about revenue opportunities. Read more…
Should you go upmarket with a solution sale?
“Understand that you can make 3–20x the revenues on a given enterprise customer with a solution sale vs. a tool.” — Jason Lemkin
Jason reviews the opportunities and challenges of becoming a solution sale if you have larger companies as your customers. Read more…
How should marketing and sales be connected?
“Marketing and Sales alignment isn’t about meeting each other’s gaze; the goal should be to share a common focal point. To achieve true Marketing and Sales harmony, both departments need to turn their focus outside the company entirely — to the customer!” — Jill Rowley
Jill helps you think through the key questions of marketing and sales alignment with thoughtful guidelines for making it happen. Read more…
What other great pieces of sales content would you recommend for startups?