Recently I was talking to a startup that lamented they had hired a VP of Sales too early and wasted a ton of money. It was the typical situation: feel good about the innovative product, have a few customers, then hire the $150k salary plus stock VP of Sales to build the sales and marketing machine. It didn’t work.
The VP of Sales was focused on building out channel relationships with big resellers. The big resellers weren’t interested in reselling because there wasn’t enough market demand yet. After a year it was time for the startup to part ways with the VP of Sales.
Here are some things that should be in place before a startup hires a VP of Sales:
- 10 reference customers
- 5 case studies
- Repeatable customer acquisition process
- Inbound marketing plan
- Two inside sales reps achieving quota
These requirements are hard to achieve and should be owned and managed by one of the founders. With these items in place, a VP of Sales will be able to come in and start scaling out the sales organization.
What else? What other pieces should be in place before a startup hires a VP of Sales?