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The Key to Startup Success: Hiring the Right Sales Talent


Hiring the right salesperson is crucial for the success of a startup. As a founder, it's important to not only look for a candidate with the right hard skills, but also the right attitude and mindset to thrive in a startup environment. We have created the ultimate guide to building a startup sales team which you can download for free here.

But in this blog post, we'll discuss the importance of finding the right candidate, the key hard and soft skills to look for, and steps to take to create a shortlist of potential hires.


First, it's important to understand the unique challenges that startups face. Startups often have limited resources and a fast-paced, constantly changing environment. This means that it's crucial to have a team that can adapt and be flexible, while also having the drive and determination to succeed.


When it comes to hard skills, there are a few key areas to look for in a salesperson. These include:

  • Strong communication and negotiation skills

  • Knowledge of the industry and target market

  • Proven track record of meeting or exceeding sales targets

  • Experience with CRM systems and other sales tools

  • Understanding of sales processes and methodologies

In addition to hard skills, it's also important to look for certain soft skills in a salesperson. These include:

  • Positive attitude and mindset

  • Strong work ethic and drive to succeed

  • Ability to work well in a team

  • Strong problem-solving skills

  • Good time management and organization skills

Now that we've outlined the key hard and soft skills to look for in a salesperson, let's discuss the steps to take to create a shortlist of potential hires. (We list some great interview questions to ask sales people here).

  1. Develop a clear job description and list of requirements. This will help attract the right candidates and ensure that they meet the necessary qualifications.

  2. Use a variety of recruiting methods, such as job postings, networking, and referrals. This will increase the chances of finding the right candidate.

  3. Be sure to conduct thorough interviews and reference checks. This will help you get a better understanding of the candidate's skills and experience.

  4. Consider hiring in twos. This will not only provide support for the salesperson, but also increase the chances of success.

  5. Finally, it's important to have a clear company and product vision, strategy, and KPIs in place. This will help ensure that the salesperson is aligned with the company's goals and can hit the ground running.

It's also worth noting that having a clear and well-defined product vision, strategy and KPI's is important for the salesperson to understand the product and company's unique selling points and target market.


Overall, hiring the right salesperson is crucial for the success of a startup. By looking for the right hard and soft skills, and taking the necessary steps to create a shortlist of potential hires, founders can increase their chances of finding the right candidate. Additionally, it's always a safer bet to hire in twos, and making sure to have a clear company and product vision, strategy and KPI's in place.


Download Creating a Sales Powerhouse: A Founder's Guide to Building a High-Performing Team for a detailed step by step guide on building your startup sales team.


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