How to find salespeople for a startup?


I have bootstrapped a startup and am at the stage where I need salespeople who can go out and acquire some customers. Online marketing doesn't seem to be helping since my startup is a B2B focusing on brick and mortar stores.

What are some of the places I should look to acquire some sales people who will work off straight commission, if that's even posible?

What are some of the resources initial stage startups use to get sales people on board?

Marketing Sales Customers

asked Jan 28 '12 at 09:02
42 points
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  • Why don't you online market for sales people? – Jeff O 10 years ago

5 Answers


Have you thought about selling yourself? If your startup is your vision, you should be the best person to sell that vision to someone.

answered Jan 28 '12 at 09:48
Ricky Gu
21 points


Think about your pitch right now. If you go to a great salesman and say

I want you to stop selling what you sell now (and is making lots of
money for you) and sell my product instead. and by the way all I offer
is straight commission and so far no one has bought the product

does that sound like a great deal for the salesman? Remember the old adage, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. You are asking him to give up a proven moneymaker to speculate with you.

On the other hand if you approach an unemployed person who has never sold something he might think "What the heck, I may not sell anything but I have nothing better to do", but is that the kind of salesman you want?

If at all possible you should try and get at least one sale before you start hiring outside salesmen. That way you will have established that your product has value to at lest one business and you can use that business as a reference. Having a satisfied customer as a reference will make any salesman's job much easier and your offer to him far more attractive.

answered Jan 29 '12 at 14:04
Jonny Boats
4,848 points


I have used part time college students effectively. It's a good fit, you're just starting out and so are they.

  1. They're usually smart and capable
  2. They will work for commission-only without issue
  3. You can pay them half what a good full-time sales rep commands and that's still 2 - 3X what they would make with their on-campus jobs.
  4. You don't have to worry about a guy with 4 kids having his kids go hungry if you can only get them a few leads a week

I'm obviously being a little hyperbolic there, but you get my point. Reliability and presentation are the only things that tend to suffer, but how much that matters depends what you're selling. You obviously can't send a kid into the CEOs office of a billion dollar company, but you can send him into a hardware store, a restaurant, a salon, etc.; if places like these seem to be at or near your target market try it out.

answered Jan 29 '12 at 18:48
458 points


You can find field sales people on sites like: Elance, Guru, etc.

The first resource you will need to get sales people on up and running is money. Also initially you may have to invest time in hiring, training, and preparing sales material for them(writing things down that you have in your mind).

If you are looking for field sales you should try doing it by yourself to get a overview of what kind of persons are you looking for and what things you need to prepare them. In this way you may also get to know if you can do it yourself or not.

answered Jan 29 '12 at 01:57
Sagar Singh
56 points


You mentioned that you are not getting good mileage from your online marketing. Did you get professional help with this?

Instead of spending for individual salespersons, why not place a direct response ad on the local newspaper or use location-specific adwords instead? This will cost less than having a sales force of ten, and much more effective in communicating your target audience.

answered Feb 6 '12 at 13:08
Jim Syyap
237 points

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