Building a Sales Team with Doug Freeman of The Muse

Hiring a Director of Sales is a huge step for any startup, but with the recent success and consistent growth of The Muse, a career site offering job opportunities at top startups and global brands, as well as career advice & free classes, the time was right for Doug Freeman to join the team.

Freeman looks at his new position as a chance to master Version One of the sales playbook for The Muse, and continue to improve upon it.

The Muse sales team is growing, and Freeman will drive that growth. I asked him about hiring for salespeople — something we frequently coach startups on.

Finding quality salespeople can be an elusive search. But Freeman knows what to look for, and shares his hiring requirements with Skaled…

Work Ethic

“Work ethic means working hard and working smart.  Practice and learn from mistakes.  The more activity you have, the more connections you make, the more appointments you land. You’ll fall on your face multiple times along the way but the higher the activity, the more you’ll accelerate the learning curve.”

Freeman knows the power of persistence in salespeople. The ability to experience failure and keep pushing forward with focus and a drive for success, is a key quality in a successful salesperson.

Competitiveness

As The Muse prepares to onboard their first sales team, they’ll be hiring 3-4 new salespeople. The ability to compare your sales people is critical in judging performance. When a startup begins with one sales person, there is no way to discern whether their success or lack thereof, is due to the product, the market fit, or their own capabilities.

Hiring multiple people with an inherent sense of competitiveness will ensure that your team will work their hardest, and constantly strive to improve.

Coachability

Regardless of your product or service, the sales approach you’ll train your salespeople in is going to be different than processes they’ve previously deployed. And they MUST be willing to learn if they’re going to become part of a replicable system that can be passed along to future sales hires. “We want our team to be in a constant state of improvement, always having an eagerness to learn.”

A Desire for a Career in Sales

Sales is often seen as an entry point to industries, including startups. “It’s tough to be in a sales role if you’re not passionate about sales,” says Freeman, “especially for early stage hires.”

Sales is ultimately a challenging role with many ups and downs (and often more of the latter). To survive in such a tumultuous environment, particularly for early stage companies that are constantly changing and working out the kinks, a salesperson must have a passion for the art of sales, as well as the commitment and desire to see your company succeed.

“Watch out for people who want to be in sales without truly understanding the role” he warns.

Freeman understands the challenge of leading the charge for a new sales team, but he’s excited to fulfill it.

“We have the opportunity to make a huge impact on all parts of the business. We get to define our future.”

As the Muse continues to grow, he’s prepared for the continuing challenges that will present a young sales team.

“There’s always going to be some kind of change. You’ve got to prepare properly, you’ve got to be able to react appropriately after using data to help guide your decisions.

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