One of the mistakes I’ve made in the past is thinking we had product/market fit and starting to scale the sales team in an effort to find a repeatable customer acquisition process. Only, by prematurely scaling sales, it created more issues than just increasing the burn. Here are a few reasons why:
- Product – With a sales team and no product/market fit, when prospects ask for features, the tendency is to add whatever feature request is made to win the deal, but that can create bad habits and a Frankenstein of a product. The key is to be opinionated about the product functionality even when there’s a chance to close an early customer.
- Customer Happiness – Without product/market fit, the chance of early customers being happy is much lower unless the product is a must-have and solves a real problem. As the product gets closer to product/market fit, customer happiness goes up.
- Morale – Sales people love to sell. Only, when the product isn’t ready, trying to sell something that doesn’t have product/market fit rarely results in success, and that hurts morale. Teams want to win, and trying to sell something people don’t want makes things worse.
Prematurely scaling sales affects much more than just the burn rate. It slows the organization down and creates unintended challenges.
What else? What are some more ways hiring sales people when the product isn’t ready causes problems?