Hiring Inside Sales Reps

Last week I looked for my first crowdsourced answer to a question by posting to my network on LinkedIn. This was the first time I’d asked a question, and I must admit I was surprised by the variety and quality of the responses. It isn’t that I didn’t think that my network would have good responses, but rather that very few people would respond. I had many more responses than expected. Here were some of the consistent themes to the question “What are some recommendations for finding good inside sales reps”:

  • Hire a “Sales and Marketing Assistant” that does all of the coordinating work with prospects so that current sales people can spend more time on serious leads
  • Use a staffing firm that specializes in sales reps as well as uses TopGrading to evaluate candidates
  • Use job boards from local colleges and universities focused on management majors and general business majors
I wanted to say thanks to everyone that responded.

Product Speed as a Feature

One of the things I like to focus on is speed as a feature. What this means is that the performance and responsiveness of the web application is an important factor in success. With the web and web browsers working over long distance high-speed connections, there are still delays and headaches that differ from standard client-side applications.

The speed of the application should be treated as a feature and time should be appropriately allocated for the engineering team on a regular basis to continually fine-tune the application. Here are some quick tips for improving the performance of web applications, but remember that premature optimization is also a cause of failure:

  • Offloading anything that doesn’t need to be processed in the current request to be a background job
  • Use asset hosts to request things like images, JavaScript, and CSS from different hosts
  • Use memcached along with database query caches to reduce the database load
  • Make sure your HTML is compliant and conforming to the appropriate DTD
  • Use tools like YSlow to measure performance

Good luck in making your application as fast as possible and remember that speed is a feature.

3 Reasons I like Google Chrome

I’ve been using the Google Chrome browser as my main browser for the past couple weeks and I’ve been very impressed. As a multi-year Firefox user, I was loathe to move on but the number of times Firefox would freeze on me on a daily basis was beginning to get annoying (probably partially related to too many add-ons installed). Here are three reasons why I made the switch:

  • Speed — Chrome runs a separate application process for each tab open resulting in a significant performance boost
  • Access Keys — Chrome has Alt and the access key enabled by default whereas other browsers require Alt + Ctrl and the access key (unless you manually change configuration settings)
  • Universal URL/Search Bar — Chrome has a single text box at the top that is used for both URLs as well as Google searches making it fast to enter URLs, search, and pull up previous sites
I recommend Google Chrome for PC users everywhere.

Tips for Office Subleases

We’re in the process of securing a new office for early next year and I wanted to share some tips I’ve learned over the years when it comes to offices and subleases:

  • Offer much lower than they’re asking as it’s a sublease and they likely already have a new lease, especially in this soft commercial real estate market
  • Try to offer a deal when your company grows into the space over time e.g. pay for 50% of the space the first six months, 65% the next six months, 80% the next six months, and the full amount the remainder of the time
  • Shorter subleases will result in better deals as companies don’t like moving very often

I’ve found that you can consistently rent office space for 50% of the market rate using these approaches during normal market conditions.