Hey guys, this is Steli Efti with Close.
Let’s talk about making senior sales hires for your startup and your business.
I havethis simple rule when it comes to sales hiring and H.
If one of the first sales hires youwant to make is this senior sales rep that has 30 years of experience in your industryand is going to completely transform your business, you make up an offer to that salesperson and he or she accepts, you should be fucked out of your mind.
You should be scaredshitless.
Here is why.
I’ll give you a little bit of background.
If one of the first people that you want to hire and you’re still trying to figure thingsout for your startup.
Your startup hasn’t had the breakout success and doesn’t havemillions and millions in revenue and tens of millions in funding.
If you’re kind ofat the beginning of things still trying to struggle through things and are thinking,“Wow! Why is selling my product or solution so hard? I wish I could hire somebody thatcould make this easy.
Let me look over there.
There is this sales person with 30 years ofrelevant industry experience.
Let me offer them a job,” and they are interested.
Something is wrong.
Think about it.
Why should they be interestedin working for you? If they’re really a pro, if you’re in sales and you’re amazingand you have experience, you’re always in business.
You’re printing money.
You’remaking hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars in sales if you’re real pro.
Why would I leave what I do to join your tiny company that still hasn’t figured it outin order to help you develop the model that works? Why should I do that? Nine out of 10times, 99 out of 100 times, a normal sane, professional, honest and real performer insales will not take that deal, will not be interested in it.
But I’ll tell you what.
I tell you who is going to be interested in that deal.
A personthat has 30 years of experience bullshitting people into believing they’re good in sales.
There’s a ton of these people, wannabe sales experts.
People that are great at sellingthemselves as experts to people that know nothing about sales.
Then all they do is theyconsume value and energy.
They’re like a black hole, a black star.
They’re goingto destroy your company little by little by consuming all your energy.
Here is how ittypically goes down.
I see this again and again and again.
You’ll make that senior sales hire.
You’ll have all your hopes and all your dreams pinnedto that hire.
You’re going to be so glad, so happy.
You’re going to be telling everybodyabout this amazing thing that happened to your business and how you’re going to crushit in sales.
That sales hire, that bull-shitter, that snake oil seller, that guy or girl willtell you to have amazing hopes.
That they’re going to sell millions and millions of deals,that they have this incredible rolodex that’s going to transform your life and your business.
Then all they’re going to do is they’re going to take as much money as they can fromyou.
They’re going to slowly but surely waste time.
They’re going to be buildinga pipeline and having positive conversations.
They’re going to be making demands for youto create all kinds of material.
They’re going to be telling you everything that’swrong about your business and market and everything they need in order to be able to do theirjob well or close these deals.
They’re going to start you off on a wildjourney and goose hunt to nowhere land, because they’re not used to doing sales for a startupor for a business that hasn’t figured it out.
Because they have so much experienceand still time and energy to want to join your tiny little company that hasn’t figuredit out.
They probably never had real success in their life so they don’t know what they’retalking about.
They’re going to be giving you bad intel, bad information, bad advice.
In the process, taking as much money from you as is possible.
These jokesters will be running around representing your brand, your company, your baby to theworld.
Anybody that knows anything will think, “Wow, the guys from XYZ Company are superidiots because this sleazy sales guy came here and was just bullshitting me all daylong.
The problem is that a lot of times inexperienced founders and CEOs who don’t have a lot ofexperience hiring sales people or never were in sales themselves, it’s hard for you tobe a good judge of sales character, hence sales talent.
It’s easy for you to buy into that story because it’s that unicorn, fairy dust, magicaldream we all have where when we struggle and we struggle we just want to hire somebodythat’s going to fix all our problems.
Then the beautiful being shows up and offers usthis pipedream and we want to believe it, hence why it’s so dangerous.
Whenever somebodywith 20, 30 years of industry experience that’s a total sales pro and has been doing amazing,and closing millions and millions of deals is interested in working for you, you shouldbe scared shitless.
Never, ever offer them a job.
If you don’t believe me, put it to the test.
Tell them, “Hey, you know what, before youleave your amazing job and join this high risk venture.
You have this incredible rolodex,you have all this experience.
You know everything you need to know.
Let’s just close one dealtogether for both sides to validate that there’s real opportunity.
” Have them close a dealfor you, bring real revenue.
Don’t have them bring back promises of deals or partnershipsno, revenue.
If they close a deal and then close a deal again, disregard everything Isaid and hire them.
I bet you, you will not be able to actually have them accomplish that.
There’s a couple of things that you need to think about.
I know that in startup worldand in this business world today, we always hear about hiring above your own level, aboveyour own class, hiring better people than you are.
I truly believe in that but there’sa side story.
There’s a P.
that people don’t tell you.
That is that you can onlyhire maybe one level above yourself.
Everything else is a pipedream and crazy.
Hiring is hard,no matter what you do.
Hiring people that are below your experienceand knowledge and skill level is fairly easy.
Hiring people in the same level as you ishard.
Hiring people that are a level above you, a bit more experienced, a bit more skillful,a bit better at what they do than the things that you are doing, that’s crazy hard.
Buthiring two or three classes above you is impossible.
You’re not going to hire Tim Cook to runyour business if you’re a two-person startup that has no revenue, no product, no nothingand struggling to find product market fit.
Just equally crazy is foryou to find somebody with 30 years’ experience that’s a sales genius ninja that’s goingto leave their millions and hundreds of thousands of dollars to join you and try to figure outif your product has any chance for success or not.
There is an exception to this rule.
The exception is, if you’ve known that person for yourentire life.
If you’re older brother is like, or your older sister is this amazingsales genius pro, different story.
If it’s your dad, different story.
If you grew upwith that person, different story.
You know them.
You might be able to convince them ona personal level.
But if you go out there in the wild, wild, west world of sales torecruit a senior sales guy to join your tiny startup, to solve all your problems, you’rechasing a pipedream.
You’re going down a really, really dark path in something thatpotentially is going to kill your business forever.
Think about this, when something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
In sales that’sparticularly true and even truer when it comes to sales people like us.
Make sure that youactually use your critical thinking.
Kill your wishful thinking.
I know it’s hardespecially when you’re struggling with your business but it’s the only way for you tobe able to find a way out of that struggle and ultimately succeed.
Now I’ve told youeverything you shouldn’t be doing.
If I can just stop one guy out there to make areally crucially, bad senior sales hire, I’m okay with that.
I think that that alreadymade this video worthwhile.
But I want to give you a little bit more practicaladvice on what to do instead.
I’ve wrote this article.
I’ll link up to it in thisvideo so you can learn even and study this even more in detail on the four stages ofsales hiring especially when you’re running a small business or a startup.
The first stageis you should do sales yourself.
It doesn’t matter how little you know about sales.
Itdoesn’t matter how intimidated you are about sales.
You need to sell yourself.
You’re the C.
You need to sell first.
Go out there in the real world and figure out how hard or easy it is to sell, what thechallenges are.
You need to be in the midst of things to have real context.
Gain reallearnings and understand how to do this and how not to do it.
Once you have that littlebit of success, not tremendous success.
Just a little bit, a tiny bit of success and validation.
Then you want to bring in some junior sales talent that you manage as a founder.
Justbring in some students or some really junior people that are really hungry, that have thecore hustling D.
, that are entrepreneurial, that are down to do whatever.
Together withthem teach them what you’ve done and see if you can make other people replicate yourresults.
Then explore different venues and differentideas with them and learn and try, and trial and error with them.
Once you have somethingthat kind of works, what I mean by that is that you are closing deals and you’re closingdeals somewhat consistently.
You can generate somewhat repeatable results.
Although thoseresults are not amazing yet, but they’re kind of okay, that’s when you go out.
That’sthe third stage.
You bring in some junior sales leadership.
You bring in somebody that’sone or two steps ahead of you in the sense that they started as a junior sales personat a company.
They worked with the founder there or with the VP of Sales.
They grew into a sales management role.
They’re a sales manager now of that startup with fouror five people.
They’re managing a team that’s a bit larger than yours.
They workat a company that’s a year or two ahead of you.
You hire these people.
If you givethat person a senior VP of Sales title, give them the team that you’ve built, all thelearnings that you’ve had and you let them use their experience and their passion, theirdrive to take what you have and build upon it and improve on it and hire a bunch of morepeople and introduce a bit more processes and fine tune things.
Once that’s running and humming and things are really looking good and your results havereally dramatically improved, that’s when you go to the final and fourth stage of hiringa senior sales person, a senior sales leader, somebody that was a VP of Sales at a companythat is where you want to be in two or three years.
You bring them in.
You give them tonsof equity and pay them lots of money.
Then you have that person move your sales teamand your sales process to a completely different level.
That person is going to focus on saleshiring, recruiting, H.
, training sales people, setting up a real compensation plan, scalingup your sales force, assembly lining the process, developing more material, improving the compensation.
They’re going to open more offices and expand to different markets.
They’re going to do all kind of things that are all related to scaling.
But that’s atthe fourth step, not the first one.
Know where you are at.
What the stage is that you’rein.
Hire accordingly and please, please, please, when a sales person seems too good to be trueand it seems like that person is going to change your business, start running.