Your first sales hire should be two sales reps, and other tips

Recently someone asked me a question about hiring and structuring sales team in India.

Incidentally, someone asked a very similar question in our Inverted Passion slack group (now we’re 271 people). I shared my experience of growing an inside sales team at Wingify in India. In this post, I’m copy-pasting my answer from the Slack group and adding some more tips.

Tips for building inside sales team for SaaS/B2B

1/ For inside sales team to be effective, my experience is that the minimum sale price should be $3000 Annual Contract Value. Below that, it’s not very profitable (not even in India).

Though there are differing opinions, like in this thread.

2/ Hire 2 sales people, not one (that way you can see how much sales bottleneck is due to product and how much due to individual capacity). Sales people are also competitive folks, so putting them together, you’ll bring the best from both.

3/ For your first hires, get someone who has done inside sales before (their titles is usually Account Development Representatives/Managers or Account Managers)

4/ Use a simple CRM (and not Salesforce) and inculcate a culture of if it’s not on CRM, it didn’t happen. Zoho CRM works great to start with.

5/ Give them a decent base salary and keep commission unlimited. Your sales people should be best paid people in the company (and in process, make you a lot of money).

6/ Ask them to sell things in the in person interview and on telephone, check how comfortable you are around them.

7/ Sales interviews are the easiest, good candidates leave you impressed (if they impress you in interview, they will impress the prospect)

8/ For inside sales, following process is important (like putting info on CRM, quick follow ups), so in the interview make note of how much can they adhere to it (or if they’re chaotic).

9/ If sales people don’t work out, they quit themselves so you can hire quickly and scale from there (without worrying about what if they don’t work out)

10/ Ensure that you have a lead engine working before you hire sales people (you don’t want the same person to generate lead and close it; that never works)

11/ Know that sales people will always complain about not enough leads, product doesn’t work. Tell them you know that but you still want results as that’s what you’ve hired them for

12/ Set a quota for them based on historically how much you’ve been selling, and give them an upside and bonus if they cross it. Their 100% commission is based on they achieving the quota (but keep the upside uncapped if they over achieve)

13/ Don’t ask them for making presentations or do any non-sales work but making calls, following up and closing deals. Their only job is sales

14/ Compensate them on sale (output), but also include some part/bonus for effort (input – calls, process, giving feedback to product team)

15/ Know that you will lose touch with customers as sales people will give you filtered feedback from customers (so ensure you keep joining them on calls)

16/ In the interview, ask them product questions. Good candidates do their research on product and company (h/t @notraghu)

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