Entrepreneurs Should Hire a Sales Assistant Sooner than Expected

Early on in the B2B startup adventure, the majority on an entrepreneur’s time is tasked with finding product / market fit through customer discovery and sales. While cold calling and emailing (see Predictable Revenue) isn’t a high priority on most people’s to do list, it works for getting in front of prospects and gathering information. Because it’s so valuable, entrepreneurs should hire a sales assistant sooner than expected as it helps the entrepreneur make better use of his or her time.

Here are a few reasons why hiring a sales assistant makes sense for an entrepreneur:

  • Building lists of companies, names, emails, and phone numbers is time consuming and easily delegated (see the SalesLoft Prospector tools)
  • Coordinating meetings, web demos, and conference calls takes more time than people expect (see Calendly)
  • Staying top-of-mind with personalized, relevant email is a key way to continue dialogue with leads, and a sales assistant can handle most of the heavy lifting

Yes, a sales assistant will cost $15 – $20/hour, but it’s well worth it if the startup can afford it. When budgets and future hires are being discussed, consider a sales assistant.

What else? What are your thoughts on the idea that entrepreneurs should hire a sales assistant sooner than expected?

4 thoughts on “Entrepreneurs Should Hire a Sales Assistant Sooner than Expected

  1. Totally agree. The challenge however is that both parties have to accept and get through the “don’t know what you don’t know” stage and learn together as the business and mastery evolves. Often, for an entrepreneur, they often decide that the effort spent here at an early stage, is probably better spent doing it themselves. Other times the sales assistant gets frustrated and leaves.

    So getting the right balance (delegating in bite size steps )between the mentioned activities (sales administration) and building the right match/fit of skills, personality and passion can be initially a bit hit and miss with lots of learning taking place.The Entrepreneur generally is very passionate and most likely very clear on their offer , often intuitively so. From a sales assistant point of view, the entrepreneur appears not to be available(they tend to be on the run most times (and impatient)) so negotiating and agreeing times and a particular approach to do a webinar, agreeing a written and spoken correspondence with prospects that is consistent (likely to change frequently as experience evolves on both sides) and that the Enterpreneur feels comfortable with is an art.

    So the Entrepreneur has to make a considered active decision to put time aside, expect assistants to make mistakes as part of the process while they learn to work together. Very often the Entrepreneur feels the time is better spent doing and learning it themselves.

  2. Great advice, David, especially in light of your recent post, “5 Steps to Startup Success in 30 Words or Less.” Specifically, I’m referencing Step #2: “Line up customers willing to buy [your idea].” Since customer discovery and sales is such a vital, early step to startup success, what sign(s) are indications that it’s time to hire a sales assistant? Thanks.

    — Brandon

  3. At QGenda we are on our way to creating a customer acquisition machine. Everyday we define new process which drives efficiency within our sales organization. As a result of our quick growth, we now are seriously considering a sales assistant, in addition to an Inside Sales team of 10 and two Account Executives, to help alleviate administrative work from our Account Executives who we would like to keep laser focused on closing business. We are wondering what type of employee makes the “ideal” sales assistant? Should this be a new college graduate who we can train and cultivate? If so, what type of career path could be presented to a sales assistant? Some other employee types that we have considered is a hard working part time employee or a candidate who is looking for a steady, reliable job but has experiencing supporting a sales team?

    Thank you for your feedback.

    • I like the new college graduate route with the career path of do this for a couple years then get promoted to sales rep and have a five year plan to be a senior sales rep.

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