top of page
Open Site Navigation

How to Hire Sales Reps for a Startup and Ensure Their Success

how to hire sales reps
“Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.” – Elon Musk

Sustainable growth is essential for your startup. Whether you’ve signed up your first three customers or your first three hundred, you’ll eventually get to a point where you feel it’s time to hire your first sales reps to keep the momentum going. It’s a daunting thought for many founders. If you are doing research on how to hire sales reps for a startup, there are a number of questions and considerations that are probably on your mind.

What should you look for? How many people should you hire? How do you know if you’ll get it right? These are all questions that can keep you awake at night. If you’re a startup with limited capital, you can’t afford to make mistakes.

While there’s no bulletproof “best practice” for how to hire sales reps for a startup, there are better practices to ensure you hire sales reps that are efficient and successful within your startup.

Tips when researching how to hire sales reps for a startup

Tips when researching how to hire sales reps for a startup

As a founder, you should have a good feel for when sales are getting a bit much for you to juggle alongside all the other moving parts of your growing business.

Even if you’re more of a developer or designer type and your sales skills leave a lot to be desired, you should have a firm grasp of what’s involved from finding a lead to converting them into a paying customer. If you don’t have a clear understanding of this before you start hiring, it will be harder for you to impart this knowledge to your newly hired sales reps.

First, you’ll need to think about what sort of sales rep you’re looking for to steer your business in the right direction.

How to hire sales reps that are the best fit for your business

Do you need an outbound sales rep to reach out to prospects, a field sales rep (to call into big name accounts), or an inbound sales rep to handle all the “contact us” traffic from your website? Each of these roles requires a different set of skills and a different approach to get the best results.

The rep that’s a whizz at online and phone sales may not be as well equipped to sit in an enterprise boardroom and pitch your top-tier packages to C-suite execs.

Likewise, you don’t want to hire a sales rep that’s terrified of cold-calling if that’s your preferred method of lead generation.

You’ll need to think about your customers, your industry, and your specific products or services to determine how to hire sales reps that will be the best fit for you.

What you should look for in a sales rep

When researching how to hire sales reps for a startup, you will most likely conclude that your ideal candidate should be:

  1. A natural salesperson

  2. A great communicator

  3. Excited about working in a startup environment

  4. Passionate about growing your business

  5. Results-driven

  6. Empathetic and customer-focused

  7. Able to deal with rejection and endless amounts of “no” from prospects

  8. Coachable and open to suggestions

  9. A good fit for your company culture

  10. Affordable!

The level of experience is up to you as an employer. Some employers prefer more junior sales reps who are cheaper, hungry to prove themselves, and enthusiastic about getting the experience they need to progress in the world of sales. Another consideration in favor of hiring less experienced sales reps is that these sales reps often have fewer habits (good and bad) hardcoded into their sales practices, making them more trainable and malleable for your specific needs.

Other employers would rather not take the gamble of a relative “newbie” and look to hire someone who is already skilled and has proven results. It all depends on your particular needs – and your budget.

Where to find for good sales reps for hire

As a savvy founder, you’ve probably been thinking about how to hire sales reps long before you needed them.

Places like job boards and Craigslist are always options, but the best sales reps are often much closer at hand, in that magical place known as your network.

Spread the word around your business and friend networks that you’re looking to hire. If you haven’t already, start building relationships with people in established companies in your industry or local community that may be able to help you out with hiring good sales reps, either now or further down the track.

How many sales reps should you hire?

If your budget can stretch to two initial sales reps, this is an ideal start. It can be beneficial in several ways: