Hiring sales people: experiences on startup journey

Hiring Sales people for a start-up (us!)

Over the last 6-8 months, ever since the sales position in the company fell vacant, we are trying to hire sales people. We need different profiles- we need some to do tele-calling, some to actually knock on doors.

And, we want them to sell enterprise crm software products.

It’s incredibly difficult.

There’s no shortage of people. We interview a lot every day- walk-ins, call-ins, call outs in response to applications. We advertise in all the websites. We even tried a couple of “internship” websites. Posted our ad and got responses; but, the process did not “close”.

Here’s my observation about the whole process of sales recruitment.

Young folks do not want to be in Sales.

It is a pity really. I see graduates in different disciplines and even MCAs walk in the door- looking for a Telecaller position. They have two deep aversions:

  • they will not work for a job that will take them out of the office. So, no- they will not work in a role that will require them to beat the pavement.
  • they will work in tele-calling but they do not want a target- they want jobs where it involves them calling 150- 200 people a day- communicating insurance plans, housing schemes and so on. Ask them to call only 15 -20 people clearly targeted people a day with a well articulated value proposition- which is what we need them to do- and they get scared and run away.

Let me illustrate this with a classic example from two recruitment ads we ran in Naukri.


Hiring sales people

Notice the response rate difference? The Senior exec, corporate sales position had 1/4th the rate of response than the Senior BDE role. By the way, in case you were wondering, Business Development is a desk-job.

Any job will do?

Folks at junior or middle levels apply “in bulk”. Every single candidate I have called or emailed and introduced myself have responded with- “oh, I applied, did I?” kind of scepticism.

I modified my process- learnt to attach the job posting with my email response. Still the same result. I tried calling, most people did not even pick up the phone.

When you actually get a candidate to the office- you start dealing with another set of issues.

  1. Fake degrees, fake experience claims- some are difficult to catch but some, like the candidate who walked in claiming a degree from NIT Patna in computer science, are blindingly obvious.
  2. Aggressive with no reason- guys walk in with swagger and have a comment on everything. They sometimes have funny answers though- someone told me, “I was preparing myself” – (for this interview??)- when I asked to explain what he was doing for 4 years after graduation.
  3. And, then, if you end up hiring someone- horror! No one joins. Not just that, the go offline- no email, no phone calls- no accessibility.

Our experience with Intern hiring

Friends told me to hire interns. They told me Interns are young, dynamic, energetic and looking for real world experience. So, I advertised in two of the leading websites and, we got a few responses and … I ended up hiring one.

She never turned up! So, what else is new?

We do not compromise on hiring quality

We do not, repeat, do not compromise on hiring quality. See, I hate firing. So, I would rather wait than hire someone who is not a proper fit.

For those who read this far, guys we still have vacancies and we are still looking. So, if you think you fancy a career in sales and marketing, the world of Technology marketing excites you, you like understanding customer business processes with a view to fitting your solutions to them- give us a call or send a mail to work AT anwesha DOT in.

We are actually nice guys. Driven, yes. But, nice!

We pay well and treat out folks well and since we are a startup, we let you have a lot of freedom with how you want to approach your task.


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