Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Death Of A Salesman, Hardly!

Mark my words, in two to five years from now, your HR manager is going to come to you with this: yeah, it has been nine weeks and we still can't find any qualified technical sales reps! What's more, I talked to Richard in Finance and we are already planning on reducing our forecast for your board presentation. Sales has always had this thing about it where folks downplay its significance. Oh, we can find people. Not a problem... That's a great story to tell yourself, but not a staffing strategy that any smart investor would buy.

In my reading (read Peter Thiel's new book Zero to One - about the sales process), discussions with investors (many of my friends are now investors) and tech entrepreneurs I've found only two positions that this group wants to talk about (I'm highlighting these peers as they have to be laser focused on hiring and staffing plans - limited dollars to throw around):
  1. Product engineers - do you have them on your team?
    • Those that build great products with a passion!
  2. Sales executives - do you have a plan to higher the best?
    • Those that sell your product, and effectively lead your biz dev (sometimes marketing) operations
Finding #1, a lot easier as the job market has taught this generation the importance of building software. Finding #2, getting really, really hard (re-read the qualified part). Your sales team is more (why I added the marketing part) than just a sales team in these grand times. Many more are coming with Navy Seal-like training to the job market. They are smart. They know tech. They know marketing. They know finance. There are a few stars that can effectively drive your product management team (certain ones). They can sell, lead, train, pitch, present, find leverage, build relationship, establish your brand, are highly organized and are the hunter/killers in your organization. Need to have them figure out a product to pitch to that all important client, well if you're looking for scale and the CEO can't pitch it that day, you had better call on a trained sales person do it! Do you have one? Happy hunting!

This entire post was inspired by this Wall Street Journal article today! A very important read for you today!

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