How to Hire a Salesperson for a Startup Company

by Staffer Team

If you own a startup that is growing quickly, it may be time for you to hire some new employees to take on some of your tasks. One of the most important employees you can hire is a salesperson.

Many small businesses fail in the first five years due to a lack of sales and your new business may be at risk as well, if you do not choose driven salespeople who are capable of consistently bringing in new customers.

So.... How can I find the best possible salesperson and convince them to work for me? Use the following best practices to find and attract the right salesperson.

  • Consider referrals from family, friends and colleagues
  • Search LinkedIn - be mindful that experience alone will not determine if the salesperson will sell successfully for you
  • Make a job posting

Keep in mind that relevant experience is secondary to drive and natural talent in the sales field.

Oftentimes, a candidate who looks great on paper will produce disappointing results. On the other hand, an inexperienced salesperson with a less-than-ideal resume may be able to skyrocket your sales and push your startup toward long-term success.

Ideally, you will be able to find someone who is both experienced and naturally cut out to achieve top sales results. If that is not the case, you should hire for drive, talent and potential, rather than relying on a person’s experience alone.

After all, you cannot teach self-motivation and sales skills, but you can teach the ins and outs of your industry so they can sell your product.

Consider hiring a remote salesperson

If you have a tight budget, as most startups do, you may not want to take on the additional expense of an office space. If that is the case, consider expanding the geographical reach of your candidate search by allowing your salesperson to work remotely.

A recent study showed that remote salespeople close 30% more sales than traditional salespeople – a percentage that could make a huge difference in the success of your new business.

If you choose this route, make sure you have rules in place and communicate with the salesperson regularly. That way, you can keep track of their progress and help them achieve the best sales results possible.

Use a sales personality test

This assessment will help you uncover a candidate’s true potential by checking for Drive, which is made up of these three non-teachable traits:

  • Need for Achievement
  • Competitiveness
  • Optimism

When you know you have a driven candidate with high potential to succeed at sales, you can feel much more confident in your hiring decision and avoid costly turnover.

Ask the right questions during the interview

  • Where do you not want to be in 5 years? By putting a new spin on a common interview question (“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”), you will force the candidate to think outside to box and uncover what he wants to avoid in his career.
  • What’s the toughest goal you’ve ever set for yourself? How do you plan to top it? A Driven candidate will have a specific challenging goal that he accomplished and will be able to explain exactly how he plans to top it.
  • Which parts of your job as a salesperson excite you? Which parts bore you? A candidate born to sell will enjoy the difficult elements of the job such as the competition to win the customer over and the resiliency needed in the face of rejection. He will also relish in the achievement of closing a deal. A Driven sales candidate is rarely or never bored unless he is limited and not able to perform at his highest potential.

Implement a successful onboarding process

Before you hire a salesperson, you should have a plan in place for their first several weeks on the job. Outline what you want them to learn and accomplish in their first 90 days and provide them with the resources necessary to meet or exceed your expectations.

Push the salesperson to achieve his maximum potential, but do not make him feel like your expectations are impossible to meet.


Hiring a salesperson for a startup can be tough, but you should be well-equipped to execute the hiring process successfully using the tips here. Take your time and make sure you find the best sales candidate possible – the longevity and success of your company may very well depend on it!