I have a B2B enterprise software startup that is self-funded. We have a shipping product and our first sales. What we don't have is someone who is good at sales and marketing (I'm really good at all the tech stuff). Based on the discussions on this and other platforms my conclusion is that in-house hiring of someone is best rather than outsourcing to a firm.
My top questions are:
- What are the skill sets that I should look for?
- What kind of compensation should will be required (amount of commission and salary)?
- What are the best 2-3 platforms to find such a person?
Thanks in advance.
Mike, I see sales and marketing as fairly distinct skill sets. What has worked at my startups is outsourcing the marketing (in the early stages, at least) and hiring an in-house sales person (they are expensive!). Happy to discuss off-line if you'd like.
You will need someone who knows how to discover/invent a sales and marketing system for a new business.
This is very different than working in a company that discovered/invented a sales and marketing system a long time ago.
99.9% of all sales and marketing people have never had anything to do with discovering/inventing a system. Most will just assume the system they were trained on will work for you - and it will not. Most are not even aware that there are multiple Go To Market (GTM) strategies that can be deployed, let alone any idea how to test the market to chose the right one.
Ideally, the person your looking for has put together a system - they should be able to show you this system in a documented form, and explain the methods they used to get to the right system.
I would not exclude hiring a company, or consultant. My gut says your much more likely to find it find a company/consultant with the right skill set, than hire a person.
When it comes to marketing especially for tech-based products, a person with some cool knowledge in social media marketing will do a great job for you. Concerning Compensation, you can either adopt a full commission-based approach or a partial commission method. the latter is where you agree on a fixed amount of compensation and a commission is given when the sales are made above a certain amount of goods. however, for this digital marketing to be successful, you need a website where the marketer can direct the audience from social media tools. as a digital marketer, I assure you that will be a good approach to not only enhance public awareness of your product but also convert some traffic to sales. I can give you a detailed strategy on how to plan, execute, manage, and customize your marketing strategy to only reach the target customers.
Based upon my 25+ years of experience managing both sales and marketing functions, I offer the following input:
1. The skills, knowledge and experience required to establish an effective customer acquisition process is quite different from what is needed to execute it. I strongly advise getting engaging a "senior" type person to help set up your process.
2. The qualities that make a successful sales person are different from those needed to execute a marketing program. They are rarely found in the same person. Expecting one person to do both usually causes both to suffer.
3. Until one understands your target customers buying process and your selling process, it's difficult to determine the critical skill sets.
4. Unless you feel that your current business situation demands a full-time sales/marketing executive, I would not hire one at this time. If you feel compelled to do so, I would amend the approach in #1 to include them helping you select the executive.
5 Finally, do not hire an "executive" and expect them to perform as a salesperson.
If you want to discuss further, feel free to contact me directly.
All great thoughts.
A few sites where remote candidates are searching:
I may know a few people as well if you want to email me:
Firstly, congratulations: you found your first customer.
The skill set depends on what exactly you want from this person. Sales and marketing covers a lot of territory. Even within each one, there are lots of different ways to approach it, each requiring different skill sets.
What do you envision this sales and marketing person doing for you?
I'm in a similar situation, but not yet shipping or generating revenue. Hope to be there in Q2.
On the compensation, I'm considering commission only to start, being pretty generous with the commission. Is that ethical &/or typical in modern sales? If you also have e-commerce, is offering the sales team a bonus from those sales on top of commissions acceptable?
Looking forward to hearing experiences from those who have done this.
Why are you looking for a "cofounder".
Are you thinking that they'll work for less if you give them that title? (You can give someone equity without calling them a founder.) Are you thinking that you only want someone who "owns" the business in the same way that you do?
In any event, most tech-led startups have unrealistic expectations from sales and marketing people. If you didn't have them at the beginning, you usually shouldn't add them, either internally or outsourced, until you have a repeatable sales process.
Michael Cooper remember when hiring a salesperson that the amount of commission should be proportional to the amount of risk you're asking the salesperson to take. The less well-defined your sales process is, the fewer leads you have to feed them, and the fewer customers you've already acquired under your own power, the higher the commission will need to be to make the risk worthwhile. You won't find a commission-only salesperson as your first salesperson. And you can't expect your salesperson to also be your marketing person, as others have said.
As the owner, you've been the primary salesperson for the company to date, so the more training you can do in teaching the new salesperson to be the new "you" with regard to sales, the better. Take time now to map out your current sales process, document what's working and what's not working, your conversation scripts, responses to resistance points, etc. Think about defining the ideal customer much more clearly than you ever have in the past. And communicate the effect of pursuing different types of customers on the long-term health of the business.
In terms of marketing, you can outsource it, but an outsourced marketing team will give you about a third of the effort for the same money as an in-house person, and they won't have the same consequences for misdirected efforts. You'll certainly prefer someone who has had practice in a startup environment, but at least in the industry you're in so they know what's being done at companies that might be your competitors. It matters less whether their background is B2B or B2C or B2B2C.
For marketers, being the first one in has an attractive quality because they get to shape the future instead of trying to fit into the shape someone else has put on the efforts. That's awesome, but also a very large responsibility.
Lastly, there are 8 divisions of marketing. You won't find a single person with actual talent in more than 2-3, and it depends on which ones, because some talents don't naturally combine well with others. For example a PR person rarely if ever has any other marketing skills developed, and vice versa. This is one reason a marketing agency can have appeal in the beginning, because you can utilize the talents of many people part-time, instead of being confined to the talents of one. What it does say is that if you do hire a marketing person, expect that they will still need external support from task-oriented folks who supplement the other skills, but under the direction and responsibility of your internal marketing person who actually understands your business and can spend the time to make sure the supporting folks do too.