The Zero B.S. Method to Recruiting, Compensating and Including Your Sales Force

Our friends at Andreesen Horowitz (@a16z) featured 5 top longreads for 2015, including this three piece on the “Zero B.S. Method to Recruiting, Compensating and Including Your Sales Force” by a16z partner Lars Dalgaad.


Together, these three pieces by Lars Dalgaard offer a data-driven view — whether it’s data from a W-2 or data from customers in the field — on hiring and motivating your sales force…

On how a spreadsheet (vs. descriptive attributes) cuts through the bullshit and leads to a more productiveinterview conversation:

All sales reps can cherry-pick and make their many deals sound very impressive, and you will not be able determine whether the person just got lucky a couple of years. Let the spreadsheet show vs. tell their average and median deal size. You will find it often paints a different picture than the one people highlighted on the outside.

On being careful to ask for just two things, not more, when aligning expected outcomes:

The CEO/leadership team needs to make up its mind about what it is they want most, whether it’s net new sales, bigger deal size, or deals with new products. This is very counterintuitive for many founders since it’s the opposite of the entrepreneurial mindset, where you believe everything is an AND not an OR.

On having a more inclusive — as opposed to a “coin-operated idiots” — mindset about sales:

…it relegates salespeople only to the field or to the phone, when they really should be considered part of the company leadership. Not this decapitated thing you “slot onto” your organization when you need to. Include sales in product management meetings, executive meetings, any meeting where the product roadmap is being discussed. It’s the only way to strike the balance between abstract vision and concrete truth.