Startup-3 You have the product, you have the seed money and your first prototype customer.  How do you jump to the next rung on the ladder?

Simple answer is make more sales.  But on the flip side you can’t be on the field and running the show too; this is the time to hire your SALES TEAM.  Now the second question is how do you know who is the best Sales candidate for the job?  Because the candidates you hire now would be the pillar of your business tomorrow.  Hence hire the best and let me share few tips to do so.

Steven Covey said the first habit of Highly Effective People is “FIRST THING FIRST.”  Hence list down the job Specification and job Description for the Sales candidate.  Put it online for search on

  1. LinkedIn,  Twitter, Facebook
  2. WOM – (Word of Mouth)
  3. Referral and
  4. Local Free Online Hiring Portals and Newspaper

Rule # 2 is hire local followed by the following criteria to get an estimate judgment on the quality of Sales professional.

  1. CHECK HIS PAST PERFORMANCE:
    • His sales performance should be in the Top 10% of the sales team in his past organization.
    • CYCLE: Check what his average sales cycle is.  What was his longest and shortest sales cycle.  Measure it against the industry standard or your optimistic benchmark. Less is better
    • AVERAGE SALES ORDER VALUE: Inquire his average sales order value which should be 20% – 30% more than 90% of the Sales Team members.
    • GROSS MARGIN: He should have been achieving 10% – 20% more Gross Margin than an average sales professional.   Higher Gross Margin reflects he is a Sales Person – Persuader (The Tipping Point – By Malcolm Gladwell).
  2. ROLODEX: Check his Rolodex – how big and segmented it is.  Question him for  number of contacts in his Cell phone.  1000 plus reflects he is a CONNECTOR  (Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell)
  3. CERTIFICATIONS:  Check what industry certifications or books he has read in the past three months. Leaders are readers believing in continuous self-education.
  4. VISION: Ask him for his vision and vision for your industry.  Best Sales People have a clear vision of the industry – why and where it’s moving in next 2 years – 3 years.

Now put the above points in Excel matrix and measure the candidate on a scale of 1- 5.  Its imperative  that you hire the best who is productive from day # 1 to connect with potential customer and close business.  Now this is imperative because as a startup you have limited resources and limited trust hence you must leverage the best to accumulate Orders and Trust  to lubricate your cash register.

Finally the question is how do you attract a top performer to jump the ship. Here comes your homework ie. you must find his dreams and aspiration and sell him your Startup as the best option aligned with his dreams and aspiration.  Remember Microsoft, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yelp, Facebook were a startup once.

Good Luck with your Startup.