When should you make your first sales hire?

Making your first startup sales hire is an exciting step — but in addition to thinking about what kind of person you’ll want to hire, you also need to know when to make this hire.

The general rule of thumb is to start looking for a sales hire once you’ve successfully closed 5 to 10 deals. These 5-10 deals should add up to about $100,000 to $200,000 in annual recurring revenue (give or take, depending on whether you have a high or low ACV). The key here is that you as the founder has some experience with the sales process.

After all, you don’t want to hire someone to run your sales for you right off the bat or make decisions without your input; you need to have some expertise—and sales—of your own first. Then you can work together with your sales hire for the first several months after bringing them on.

Another way to make sure you’re ready to hire is to see if you’re able to answer the following questions. These signal how well you understand your own sales process, and good candidates are likely to ask you about them, too.

  • How long is the sales cycle?
  • What is the typical deal size?
  • How is your product priced?
  • What kind of industries, titles, companies, etc. are you selling to?
  • What are the steps of your sales process?
  • How do you define success in a sales role?
  • How do you get new leads and generate conversations?
  • Do you have a clear understanding of your current ideal customer profile?

If you’re able to answer these questions and you’ve closed several sales on your own, you may be ready to make that first sales hire.

Want more advice on when — and how — to make this crucial hire? Email team@entrepidpartners.com and let’s talk.