• Jonathan Bullock

Stop selling as a founder and start leading the sales team



At one point or another as a founder, you have likely had every role in your startup. Early on if you wanted sales then it was up to you. However, almost seemingly overnight your startup has grown and the need for a professional sales team has arrived.


Here are the steps you should follow if you are a founder who finds yourself needing to set up a sales team.


Find the right Team


Recruiting the right people is a topic in and of itself. What you need to know now though is that it is important to find the right people. At this stage, you need people that have the right experience. That is, they need a recent history of selling your type of product to your target market. Hiring inexperienced people at this stage no matter how much they impress will make things harder.


Compensate the team appropriately


Sales teams are the most effective when they are incentivised. So, you need a compensation plan that allows you to attract and hire the right candidates. The compensation plan and in particular the bonus structure need to then be configured to drive the sales team towards achieving your objectives.


Coach and Develop


Once you have recruited, you need to define your leadership style. How are you going to manage the sales team day to day? While you should manage their performance to their results, initially there may not be many results so you may choose to manage to activity instead.


Build a Culture


Sales teams tend to operate a little differently than the rest of your organisation. They, therefore, need to have a micro-culture of their own. Good culture creates results, drives retention and allows you to hire the best people.


Create a Process


As you have probably already done a lot of selling yourself this is probably more about documenting and refining the process you have been following. But you do need it. A well-defined process creates consistency across your team and assists with onboarding new people.


Deploy the right tools


Your sales team needs to be supported by the right tech. Starting with CRM for tracking leads. You will then quickly see the benefit in a whole tech stack as your team grows.


Replace yourself


A time will come when the sales team outgrows your ability to lead them. Once you have done the work establishing the team, it is time to find your replacement and hand over the reins to a sales leader.


TAKEAWAY: As a founder, you can’t be your startup’s only salesperson for very long. Eventually, you will need to hire and establish a sales team. Following, these steps will create the sales team you want and get them kicking goals much earlier.


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