As you might or might not know, Experiment 27 has been growing like pretty crazily over the last month to two months. We’ve gone from 4 employees to 11 and I’m hoping to keep going on the employee side. One of the things we started doing now is building up a sales team to sell our services to potential clients. I’ve been doing all the sales before this and in this blog post, I want to break down how to build the right sales team.
How am I thinking about building this team? And for you, as you’re scaling up, this is what that hiring process would look like or what I think it should look like. I’ll do an update on this one maybe in six months and tell you how it’s going, I feel like it’s good to document and share all of this with you.
Do Sales Yourself to Find KPIs
Originally, when X27 started, it was me and my co-founder Robert, who did all the production as I did sales and strategy for the clients. The reason why I recommend doing the sales yourself is that you’ll figure out easily how much you can physically do.
As the founder you’re going to be working as hard as you possibly can to grow your company which means you’ll be a very good baseline for your salespeople. When I was running sales only I was sending between 50 and 100 cold emails a week and we were closing on average 6 to 8 new contracts a month since July. So, 6 to 8 for me and 50 to 100 emails from me, plus I was doing a whole bunch of different stuff.
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Hire a Two Sales Guys
I hired two salesmen and now we had the KPIs, I was sending 50 to 100 cold emails part time so I told them to send 150 cold emails or cold calls –you can split them back and forth- per week so we should be closing 10 contracts each per month. Their effort has increased 30% to 66% on mine. And the sales haven’t increased the same but we should get pretty close to it, now I know that goal is achievable.
I’m running two sales guys at the same time, Jason Lemkin of SaaStr always recommends hiring two people in every role so you can figure out whether if the product is wrong or the person is wrong. How to tell that?
Let’s say both of your salesmen fail, it might be that your sales process sucks or you don’t have product-market fit. If both persons succeed then your company is doing well, but if one succeeds and one fails then its skill. And you just know that you have to get rid of the one that fails.
Hire a Director of Sales
Once you have those two sales guys and you have a lot of revenue coming up from sales you want to hire a Director of Sales or promote somebody from that team to be the Director. This is the one that will get you enterprise clients and it’s very good at actually being a good sales manager which is a fully different skill than being a salesman.
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Have him to set the KPIs for you, using the process that you built with the two sales guys and taking it to the next level, taking your team from 3 people to 100 people.
Have the Sales Director Build the Team
If you get a good enough Director of Sales and you have two sales guys that are already crushing it and you proved out the KPIs, his job is to basically HR for the sales team. To go out and recruit the best of the best sales people you could ever get, negotiate the rates so that you’re not paying through the teeth for them and run them so that you destroy your KPIs.
Between me, Afnan and Cam –my two sales guys right now- we are expecting to break over $2million in new business for next year, that’s what I want between the three of us, not counting MRR, not counting our recurring revenue.
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So if you hire a Director of Sales I would say go by the “Grant Cardone rule and try to 10X it”, right? Our goal would be to get to $20million and actually that’s probably what we’re going to do as we continue to grow, at the end of next year if I hire a Director or promote one of my guys that goal would be $20million in revenue.
Also, a good Director of Sales would tell you if that’s bullshit because if I go to a Director of Sales that’s been crushing it at a big company and tell him that I want to do $20million in sales and he laughs me out of the room, that either means I’m wrong or he’s wrong and if he’s wrong he shouldn’t be working for the company and if I’m wrong he should tell me why and what a more realistic goal is, so that’s why I recommend that.
That’s my theory on how to build a sales team, do sales yourself, hire two sales guys, then hire a Director of Sales and have him build out the scalable team.
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