Just read a nice summary from OpenView on hiring your first sales manager. This is, far and away, one of the most daunting things that any technically minded startup CEO faces. If you come from an engineering or science background, it’s easy to think of the sales team as, if not actually an enemy, as something a little bit alien. I know a lot of engineers who simply don’t get on people in sales – they regard them either as ineffective suit-fillers who can’t do “work that matters” or as the latest embodiment of the obnoxious popular kid from high school.
Some companies try to get around this by making sales people out of people who aren’t naturally sales people. In the Healthcare IT space, that’s often former nurses or physicians who want a career change. In software, it’s often software engineers. There’s potential in all three groups, but it takes a certain type.
If all goes well, I’ll be going through this process again in the near future. If so, I’ll post what I learn.