When most first-time entrepreneurs think of hiring their first sales rep the immediate thought is a traditional sales person that will do deals. In reality, most entrepreneurs are better off with sales development reps — a fancy term for cold callers and appointment setters. The idea is that the entrepreneur should be on the phone or in person selling the deal for the first 10 customers with the sales development rep coordinating appointments.
Here are some thoughts on sales development reps:
- Typically junior people that are much more affordable than sales reps
- The goal is to cold call, handle inbound leads, and schedule appointments
- Compensation is typically a base (e.g. $35k) plus variable pay (e.g. $175 per completed appointment)
- Great when paired with an entrepreneur early on as well as paired with team lead sales reps once the sales team starts to grow
- Helps develop a separation of specialties as well as provides a career path to be promoted to sales rep (acts like a farm system)
Sales development reps should be seriously considered by entrepreneurs as a cost effective way to help with sales early on and as a way to more efficiently acquire customers once sales reps are in place.
What else? What other thoughts do you have about sales development reps in startups?