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When should you hire your first salesperson?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 4/23/19 11:18 AM

50_50 chance

When to hire your first salesperson is one of the toughest questions for an entrepreneur to answer.

There are several reasons why.

Continue reading or watch the video to learn the top three reasons as well as how you can decide when it is time for you to hire.


1- The risk is huge.

But you’re an entrepreneur, so you know that like most big risks- if it works, the payoff is huge. But you also know that if it doesn’t work, it’s your vision, your business, on the betting table. Calculate your cost of a failed sales hire here.

2- There are the unknowns.

Let’s face it, when it comes to people, it’s not quite an exact science. Who is the ideal person? What should you have them focus on? What’s it going to cost? Will you even be able to find them? Will they want to work for you? Do you have enough leads to keep them busy? What’s the strategy and how are they going to help execute it? How should you pay them and how much? When you invest in a data driven hiring process and a buyer centric sales process you should be able to answer these questions. Grade your sales process here.

3- Consider the odds.

You have a 50/50 chance of hiring the right one who will be successful. Because study after study, year after year shows that barely 50% of sales people make quota. And despite the amount of tech and training, you might have better odds of winning at the blackjack table.

Finally, the math can be a bit scary too. What's the investment look like and when should you expect to see the payoff? What is the amount of business that needs to be closed to see that payoff? What about churn, and the cost of leads, and the amount of ramp up time before they are 100% productive? Is there enough funding to give them the runway? Click here to learn more about a scientific process for sales hiring that can increase your odds to 91%.

So how do you decide when it is time for you to hire?

There are some (more) questions you have to ask yourself to get that answer:

1- When do you need to see sales by?

Okay, of course right now is what most people say- it can’t be soon enough. But for the sake of this example, let’s say you need to report 500k in revenue at the next investor meeting in 6 months. How long is your sales cycle? If you’ve been doing the selling to this point, add another 20-25% in time for a salesperson simply because they don’t have the same passion, drive, knowledge, connections, or credibility that you do as the founder or executive.

So if it took you 3 months, it will take them at least 4 months if not more. And given that it takes an average of 3 months for a new hire to ramp to full productivity, that’s 7 months and you should have hired someone a month ago.

2- How long will it take you to find the right person?

Let’s say it takes you a month to find qualified candidates, now your timeline is 8 months. And if you find the right person, how long will it take to actually hire them?

It is a tough market right now to find new sales hires- and that is for the companies who are well known. This is where speed is a major factor. If your process takes more than 2 weeks- you will likely miss out on the best hires.

The good news is that there is a data driven and scientific process to hiring your first salespeople that can increase your odds of a successful hire from 50% to over 90% , cut your time to hire from 20 hours to 5 hours and help you find the candidates that will ramp up quickly.

Discover the steps to a predictable and repeatable sales hiring process, get worksheets on how to calculate the financial costs and ROI, as well as access to tools for when you are ready to screen candidates using the resources here.

Topics: sales hiring, sales onboarding