Sales Team Required

I love reading about Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and sales ideas, so when I saw Peter Levine’s latest post titled SaaS Manifesto: Part Two – It’s Time to Build a Real Sales Team, I jumped right in. After going through the article, one stat really stood out to me:

LinkedIn has a 1,200 person sales team.

Yes, you read that correctly. LinkedIn has well over 1,000 people as part of their sales force — that’s enormous! As an entrepreneur, the standard tendency is to get so focused on the product that the concept of having to invest significant resources into selling doesn’t enter the mind. In reality, even with an amazing business like LinkedIn, and all the valuable services they have, they still have a massive sales team. Occasionally, some startups succeed without a sales team, but 99% of the successful ones have a sales team.

Great technology still requires a sales team.

What else? What are your thoughts on the need for a sales team?

5 thoughts on “Sales Team Required

  1. Sales or No Sales is dependant on who is paying the bills. If you are targeting the consumer then sales people will never touch enough people to drive volume sales. If you are expecting corporations to pick up the check then you need a sales team to crease the cogs of of the corporate machine, from IT, to Marketing & procurements. The sales professional needs to support their internal customer gain and and maintain executive support for writing the check.

  2. I could not agree more. However, when I was running my company VBxtras in the late 90’s I tried everything I could be build a sales team but was never successful; they best we could do it hire and staff order takers.

    Have any wisdom to share about *how* to build a sales team for today’s startups?

  3. David I believe strongly in hiring a sales force too but only after the SaaS product as passed the Product Market fit stage and has built a predictable marketing machine. Do you agree with my reasoning? If not why not?

  4. I try never to write a line of code that I haven’t already sold. Most software developers I meet want to build the product first and worry about selling it later, but I don’t think that you really have a product unless someone wants to buy it. It’s a lot easier to adjust a proposed solution than it is to adjust code you’ve already written.

    Lean Startup:
    1. solve a problem
    2. try sell your solution to people with that problem
    3. if it sells proceed to 4, if not adjust your solution and repeat step 2
    4. build the product

    Sales is a tough job and scary for people that haven’t done it before, but it’s crucial for success with a b2b product, not just software.

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