Tag Archives: Start-ups

“A” Players have a Multiplier Effect

First Off, You know I have to believe this because I am quoting Belichick up top and I kinda swore I would never do that. Sorry #12’s

If people are willing to work, everyone is a “A” player at something. If you want to do something great, you have to build it with a great team. A great team is made up of “A” players at the roles you need and the stage you are currently.

The people you want to attract not only do the job, they make those around them better, they improve the processes and amplify culture as a role-model

“A” players make everyone around them better.

Seems like it continues to get more competitive out there for talent. Don’t Settle.

Here are a couple of lessons learned that I hope help you and that I apply currently as we are building our teams for Intersect Life and DOSH.

“A” Players will hire “A” Players. B Players will hire “C” Players. A Players understand that they need to surround themselves with people who are smarter and better. Smart, driven people are also attracted to smart, driven people.

·     Hiring better people is your #1 recruitment strategy. 

·     Top talent wants to work with top talent. That is how championship teams are formed.

“A” Players at one stage are not necessarily “A” Players at every stage. Someone great at starting company is not necessarily great at the scaling stage. They are different skills and most do not adapt. Great baseball players and great football players are both great. Know what sport you are playing.

Just as important, an “A” Player at one company may not be an “A” player for you. Look at culture, company size, etc.

Just because they once were an “A” Player once does not mean they are still one. You want the one who is currently doing impactful things. Staying current matters. A Players are life-long learners.

People can grow into “A” Players.   Everyone fails at something. People get better. Does the person you are looking at own their past performance and have a strategy to better themselves? Have they learned to be challenged and are they willing to prove-themselves?

“A” Players are worth the stretch… But there is a stretch.   Guess what? You are not the only one who is looking for the best. Are you willing to keep them challenged, give them room to grow and mentor and invest in them? Are you willing to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you? Are you willing to work differently and not always have all the ides?  Because, this is what it will take.

What is working for you?

Let’s go and get better today.

Make Today Count.

So You Want to Build a Sales Team

Every Start-up hits the point where they move from having a couple of sales people to building a sales team.  This might be because sales are taking off or most-likely because you took some funding and were told you had to scale your Demand Generation and Sales.

If only, it was as simple as hiring more sales people. 

Here is some quick and simple advice to help you avoid some common mistakes in building a sales team based on the questions I get most often.

Understand your target customers.  Who is buying your product today and is who is your target customer for the next 18 months?  So much money is wasted because people either hire too senior or too junior of sales people to tackle the challenges of selling to the clients they can close.

Is your sale, transactional and focused on the SMB market or is your solution focused on Enterprise customers?  These are completely different sales and need completely different people. The clearer you are, the less mistakes you will make.

Do you have a sales leader?  You can have 3,4,5 sales people without a true sales leader but if you want to scale a team, you have to hire a professional sales manager.  Alignment, again, is key but they also need to have a sales process they can use to develop the sales people into a team.

They will also help you sniff through a good story and get the right people who can actually do the job.

If you don’t have a sales leader, pay one you know at another company and have them come and help you hire sales people until you find one. 

You will want a simple comp plan….   My Advice…. For One time purchases go with straight percentage and for SAAS, go with 1 to 2X monthly revenue.   Your sales leader will build on accelerators.  Remember, the plan should drive the outcome you want.

You are going to need an CRM.  You can choose to start with Salesforce www.salesforce.com, Insightly, www.insightly.com or Zoho, www.zoho.com.

Most likely, you will end up on Salesforce eventually but by no means do you have to start there as it can be expensive and not necessary until you start integrating other areas of the business.  You do need a sales funnel and visibility.  Start running your sales team from dashboards as quickly as you can to build that culture from the beginning.

Don’t hire dramatically faster than you can scale Demand Gen.

You want to build in the culture of prospecting from the beginning but you do not want a team where at least 30% of the leads are not uncovered through Marketing. If you have more sales people than leads, you are hiring too fast and need to really focus on scaling Demand Gen to avoid wasting money.

If you have too much Demand Gen, your sales team will get fat and will never prospect.  Sounds funny to have too much Demand Gen, but if your sales people can make their number based on incoming leads, you need to hire more sales people.  Otherwise, this will have cultural ramifications for a long time.  Trust me, if there is a limited number of leads, the sales team will work each one of them like gold

Here is a rule I use…

I want the Sales team to uncover at least 50% of their own opportunities.  With all of the tools out there from LinkedIn Sales Navigator, to ClearBit Connect you do not have to rely on cold-calling but you do need to prospect.

Hope this helps.  We will cover Direct or Channel Sales at a different Time.

Let me know the tools you find most valuable and how I can help.  Let’s build great teams together.