How to Hire Sales and Business Development Reps for Your Startup


Your startup is growing rapidly and managing the various tasks that the business requires – from marketing to operations to accounting – is becoming too much for you to handle. It’s time to make your first hire, and the decision is sales. Hiring a sales and business development representative for your startup can seem impossible, especially if you’ve only just started to produce revenue. However, the right sales and business development rep can supercharge your startup’s growth.

This is particularly true in B2B, where adding someone to your team who can close five, ten or fifteen new deals – each worth hundreds or thousands of dollars – every month gives your startup the revenue it needs to keep growing and developing.

In this guide, we’ll share five tips that you can use to hire the right sales or business development representative for your B2B startup to fuel growth, bring new clients and customers into the business and turn your company into a major success story.

Ask your suppliers for recommendations. 

Does your startup depend on suppliers for its operations? From web hosting and technical support to commodities, most of the suppliers your business works with will have their own sales departments and, in many cases, lots of sales contacts.

Reach out to your suppliers and let them know you’re looking for someone new to add to your team. Since they already work with your business, they may be able to find a sales representative that matches your company’s goals, vision and culture.

Tap into your personal network to find people. 

If your startup is only beginning to grow, you might not be able to offer the type of salary that top-performing B2B salespeople will ask for. By tapping into your own network, you could find a great sales or business development rep you can afford.

Reach out to friends, professional acquaintances, business communities and other people who could be able to point you in the right direction. Many people might be interested in working for you – you won’t know until you discover them.

Offer equity in the company as an incentive. 

If your startup is very young and only has a few existing employees, you could offer equity in the company to create an incentive for salespeople. Equity is often just as much as a source of motivation as a high commission – in some cases, even more so.

This is a particularly powerful tool in new, rapidly-growing startups. By making the newest member of your team a part-owner of the company rather than just a sales or business development rep, you give them an additional reason to succeed.

Consider hiring several reps at once. 

Is your business ready to build its own sales department? Instead of just hiring one salesperson, consider hiring two and building a miniature division with your startup to fuel growth.

Hiring two sales or business development representatives allows your team to work together to find and research leads, close deals and source data. It also means a level of friendly competition that can help your business achieve its growth targets.

Screen for an entrepreneurial drive. 

Being a sales representative for a small startup is a lot like being an entrepreneur – without the prestige or resources of a “big brand” behind you, you’re forced to think on your feet and come up with creative solutions to everyday problems.

Screen for entrepreneurial candidates in your hiring process. One way to do this is by offering a low base salary and high commissions. Another is to provide a flexible work arrangement that appeals to entrepreneurial, self-motivated people.