Sales Teams

The cost, complexity, and degree of explanation and customization required to make a sale determines whether you need a sales team. Whether you run the team yourself or leverage the salespeople working for your distributors and dealers, the message is the same: sales require careful managing and monitoring.

As anyone who has run sales teams will tell you, sales teams are a mixed blessing. For sophisticated software they are often the sole mechanism by which to sell the product, but salespeople by their very nature are variable. Successful, long-established operations get around this by having evolved highly selective screening processes for salespeople and then training them in exceptional detail on how to sell a particular product. Startups that don't understand the process often chuck people in the deep end expecting them to be telepathic and inspired. Such people do actually exist, but not very often. Large sales teams, like large programming teams, don't deliver the obvious economies of scale. It's better to keep them small. Four to seven salespeople per sales leader is generally considered best.

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