I would like to build an experienced and skilled sales team, however I can't afford the base salary. How do I approach this problem?

A solution might be to hire experienced and senior salespeople who are having a tough time finding a job. Needless to say, these people should be skilled and masters at what they do. I would like to leverage their sales experience. At the same time, I cannot afford to hire somebody since I cannot afford the base salary. Where and how can I find such experienced people willing to work for me?


What do you mean you can't afford a base salary? What has a higher priority in your spend plan than bringing in revenue? If you don't have enough to cover a base salary you are probably not ready to launch your company. In many cases the founders will do the sales themselves. In some cases offering sales people equity might work. But, few will work without a base.

Here's a tip I did with two startups. For the first five deals, do them at cost. This is essentially buying the business. BUT, they need to know that you are severely discounting the price and in return you must get from them an agreement to be a reference for you (assuming, of course, that everything works out).

In the beginning, breaking even is a good thing. And, doing that while building a cadre of reference accounts is even better.


Answered 9 years ago

Create a hefty payment structure based on commission based sales. This gives expert sales force the cnfidence that their hard work could actually be worth they payoff rather than working for a less than desirable work to pay ratio.

Having contractors sales people is always the first step in further validating your proposition as a whole, and it saves you capital. It does mean however that you if you want good efficient sales people you need to provide them with great compensation upon delivery of closed sales.

I structure my force on 2 basis:
1. If you are new or feel for a rough week you have the option to go for a minimum base pay (40% less than closing at least 2 sales a week on commission) this helps them still get some pay even if they don't perform but is not optimal option for many so they avoid this.
2. Commission based only, closed sales gives 30% off project while leads I close only gives them 15%. Win win for part time lead generators as well as for full time sales.

Just some ideas.

Answered 9 years ago

There is a sad reality to answering this question, but you're going to have to do the work yourself. Reason being, you're going to need money (capital) to hire and pay a sales team. This is one of those questions that the phrase "sales fixes all." Meaning, you're going to have to start selling yourself. Once you start making enough money to hire one sales person, you and that sales person can start selling enough revenue to hire another, at that point you can stop selling and have your 2 sales people sell on their own.

The short answer is: you're going to have to start selling on your own.

There is another way to do it, but u don't recommend it because of the high turnover and very shitty results: 100% commission based sales team. You could try to hire 3 or 4 commission based sales people, but they probably won't be any good. If they have any sales experience they'll know they should be making at least a small base salary.

Pick up the phone and start selling on your own. Once you have enough revenue coming in the door you can easily hire a sales team.

Answered 9 years ago

I would tend to agree with Humberto's answer here and will equally disagree with Bob's 'you aren't ready answer.'

Many sales teams or agents operate on a performance only basis, but it really depends on your expectations..

For instance, depending on your product or services, I would suggest your ideal sales team candidates will already be established in your niche and possibly already offering complementary products and services to your target customer. If this is the case, for them to take on a sales/agency role for your product and offer it to their existing network will be much easier than someone who has no experience in your field.

In consideration of this, you may seek ways to split 'territories' between similarly minded or profiled reps, grandfathering existing deep relationships for each respective agent and then providing new 'bluesky' areas for them to continue to prospect and grow your client base if/when the product gains more traction.

Happy to discuss further if you'd like to connect and ask me any other questions.



Answered 9 years ago

Making sure that you focus the conversation on the total earnings expected and paying out more on the commission side might entice someone to give it a shot. Then you will need to realistically look at how much they can make and be able to show them how they can get there.

Answered 9 years ago

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