Inside Sales Management in Startups

With the rise of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business model, there’s more focus on inside sales as part of the customer acquisition process due to the lower deal values compared to enterprise software. Enterprise software, having been popular for several decades, has a large number of experienced executives, even if most aren’t right to be a VP of Sales for a seed stage startup. Consultative inside sales and consultative field sales are very different.

There’s a lack of experienced inside sales management talent for startups.

Here are a few thoughts around inside sales management for startups:

  • Look to develop a leadership pipeline internally on the sales team through training, mentoring, and coaching
  • Remember that the top sales person isn’t usually the person you want to be a sales manager since selling and sales management are different skills (and the best sales people should make more money than sales managers)
  • Consider two different types of sales managers: inspirational/motivators vs analytical/quantitative (not mutually exclusive, but often different types)
  • Find managers who aren’t from a sales background, but are excited about coaching people, and consider them for sales management

Inside sales management isn’t easy to find but the right talent makes all the difference in a startup. Work hard to find the right person and don’t settle.

What else? What are some other thoughts on inside sales management in startups?

2 thoughts on “Inside Sales Management in Startups

  1. I really appreciate your content. I always read it directly as it arrives in my inbox. I’m not sure I agree with you on your final point, as a sales professional I think I speak for many when I say that having a sales manager who has sold before is a great asset. They can help you through tough times, rejection, and personal growth.

    Another point I would add for sales managers or prospective ones, much like the company itself, seek to build a team with similar values to you. Advice is always received better from someone whom you’re in agreement with ethically and morally.


  2. Thanks so much for your fresh content. I am always eager to read it when it arrives in my inbox. I am not sure I agree with you on your final point. As a sales professional I think I speak for many when I say that it is a great asset to have a sales manager with sales experience. A good sales manager will not only motivate, but will also help sales people deal with the daily grind, rejection, tough times and personal growth.

    Also, I would like to add this; for new sales managers and prospective ones, build a sales team like you would a company. By that I mean, seek to build a team with similar values to you. People work harder and take advice better from people they relate to and trust.

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