How to hire a sales team for your startup

by James Ker-Reid - March 9, 2022

A startup on the hunt for a sales team is a business going in the right direction. If it’s at the stage where you need to hire not just one salesperson, but actively build a department, then revenue is growing, and now it’s time to take it to the next level. But how do you hire the right sales team and put the foundations in place for success? That’s what we’re exploring in this guide, which looks at how to hire a sales team. 

Look for experience

If you don’t come from a sales background, then it’s better to go for someone who knows what they’re doing. They will cost more, but their experience will be key to building for the future and helping drive the business forward.

That’s not to say that you need to opt for an A-star seller with experience at the biggest brands. But you should aim to bring someone on board who possesses a thorough understanding of the sales process and knows how to turn leads into customers.

Key takeaway: Look for someone with 3-5 years experience

Ensure they understand the challenges

Again, your sales team doesn’t need to be top-level sellers at Fortune 500 companies. Instead, look for employees who fit the startup culture and adapt as needed. The best startups are flexible and gain traction because everyone on the team sees the vision and believes in the process. 

Team members who come from established brands may already have a watertight process, which acts as a safety net for them. In the startup world, the picture is somewhat different. Therefore, you should aim to hire reps who appreciate the grind of finding and converting leads and are prepared for the challenges that come with pitching a startup. 

Key takeaway: Try and avoid reps who have the safety net of working for well-known brands where it’s an easy sell.  

Put a process in place

If you’re on the lookout for a sales team, the chances are that you already have one rep in place. And if not, you’ve reached a high level without any official sales rep. That means you most likely have a sales process in place already, and you should continue with the same setup. 

Of course, you can tweak it as you see fit, especially with recommendations from your new hires. But having a successful process in place gives them a starting position to take what you’ve done well already and improve it further to maximise sales. 

Key takeaway: Put foundations in place so your sales team gets off to the best possible start. 

Create a culture for success 

The word ‘culture’ is thrown about without much meaning all too often these days. Yet, it is important. At least, it is when you drill down what you want your sales team to achieve. Sales are the obvious answer, but it runs deeper than that, and the right hires can help create the building blocks to a thriving working culture. 

Look for people who match your company’s ethos – employees who will fit in but aren’t afraid to push boundaries. This is especially true of salespeople, as you want to get people on board who can move the needle and help the company progress to the next level. Those first reps will then become managers, and your sales department will start to grow into a fully-functioning sales team.  

Key takeaway: Understand the traits you want in a sales team

Hiring the right team

Hiring a sales team isn’t easy, and you can’t expect to get everything right on the first attempt. However, if you already have the culture in place and a successful process for new hires to follow, there’s no reason why you can’t build a five-star sales team that’s ready to win and drive revenue. 



Further Reading

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