Launching Sales at Startups

January 21, 2010

This week I was forwarded an interesting blog post written by Dharmesh Shah, the Founder and CTO of Hubspot. In the post entitled “Building Startup Sales Teams: Tips for Founders,” Shah has some great insights for founders/C-Level executives of startup technology companies who are planning to hire sales people to acquire new customers and increase revenues.

Of the 15 recommendations presented in the blog, I extracted and combined the points that I feel could be useful for startup companies that Openview will perhaps be investing in down the road when they enter into an expansion stage.

•Don’t hire too many people too soon… make sure that all of your ducks are in a row in terms of understanding the economics of your business, pricing structure, methodologies, etc before you load up on staff.
•Don’t overcomplicate the on-boarding process – for instance keep compensation packages relatively simple and don’t get caught up with giving your sales reps fancy titles.
•Don’t reward your sales people solely for closed deals. Make sure to give incentives for keeping customers happy. Reward those who are making a good name for your company.
•Keep track of your sales team’s data and statistics to stay organized. This will help you discover patterns and better understand what’s working/what’s not working.

One reoccurring theme in Shah’s post is the concept of recognizing patterns. Staying on top of reoccurring negative or positives trends will help any individual managing a sales team improve processes, and/or build upon what is working well. Openview Labs provides our portfolio companies with strategic consulting services, and we are constantly analyzing data to find patterns in order to improve our portfolio companies’ sales teams. Ultimately, this practice is important at any stage of a company’s growth.