How to Hire the Right Team from Day One

Adam is Senior Director of Sales at SinglePlatform, a local business listing platform from Constant Contact. 

    My focus is on building teams. I work for SinglePlatform from Constant Contact and I lead a 90 person sales team. Today, I’m going to focus on the do’s and don’ts for building a strong sales team.

Don’t – Hire before you’re ready. You need to know that you have a working business model and that you have a repeatable process before you start hiring.

    For example at SinglePlatform, I started working for the company cold-calling different prospects. I tried out dozens of different pitches and approaches before I figured out what worked well. I tested and tracked my progress to figure out what my sales team could use to sell well in the future.

    Additionally, you need to make sure that you have a repeatable process. Your system should help make your salespeople sell better. You can’t just rely on individual sales people carrying the company.

Do – Hire in Groups. At SinglePlatform, we hire people in groups and keep people together. This creates a great peer-to-peer learning cohort that will give your team the best chance to succeed.

Do – Hire Slow. Don’t just let anyone into the organization. As you begin to scale as a business, you may be tempted to grow your organization as fast as possible. At SinglePlatform, our hiring funnel sets the bar pretty high and we care a lot about referrals. For every 100 resumes, we screen about 25 of these people, interview roughly 10 people in person, and hire approximately 3 people. We have a really high bar – and even then we still make some mistakes.

Don’t – Hang on to dead weight – We have a “no-asshole” policy. A top performer could be a rock star salesperson but may be a jerk. For inside sales teams, jerks can contaminate the entire team and ruin the culture. You have to get rid of these people before they wreck your sales team.

Don’t Think you’ll get it right the first time – It takes time to get things right. We went through 3 different business processes before we found out what works at SinglePlatform. You may have to fail a bunch of times before you find success.

Do – Leave Yourself Room to Be Flexible – You need to provide yourself room to be flexible. We generally underpromise and over deliver when it comes to how we provide incentives for our sales teams. For example, we’ve gone through several iterations on how we provide commissions for our sales persons. Each time, we’ve improved the process and provided higher and better incentives for our sales team to succeed.

Do – Put More Resources Behind Your People – As you move from the “family” stage of a start-up to the “tribe” stage, you need to figure out how to provide resources. One way that you can do that is by providing a clear path for growth and development within the organization. With millennials, we know that the pressure to grow and take on more responsbility is intense. We’ve developed what we think of as short tunnels with bright lights – incentives to increase pay and responsibility and roles quickly. By slowly providing more resources to our salespersons, we provide a great place to work that people want to stick with.

Don’t – Wait to Promote – This is tough. Companies fear promoting their high performers because they’re worried about moving them into a different role. Promote these people sooner rather than later, and get them into roles where they can have an even bigger impact.

Do – Create a Place Where You Would Want to Work – Your company culture is an extension of yourself. You need to make sure that your place matches the positive culture that makes you excited. This also means that you’re going to hire people who have similar wants and needs.

Do – Hire for Leadership – leadership is the art of influencing others to complete a mission. The difference between management and leadership is inspiration, and we seek people who inspire others.

Do – Celebrate the Wins – Find a way to celebrate wins. You need to tee things up so that your team can celebrate even small wins. Don’t wait for a really big goal to be accomplished to celebrate.


Sales Hacker Conference is a meeting of top sales execs sharing the unique sales hacks they’re using to attain nine figure revenues in B2B sales. Sales Hacker Conference was held on April 24th, 2014 at SPiN in New York City.

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