Never Build a SaaS Sales Team with Just One Rep

If business leaders want to generate the growth that rockets their software as a service (SaaS) business to the next level, then at some point they will need to build a sales organisation. This is true whether they’re a new startup, have recently closed a Series A round or are about to go public.

While some companies have famously generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue without a sales team, those companies are the exception, rather than the rule. They’re the outliers and in truth, many of them now have a sales process that is far from “touchless.” To increase revenue and accelerate growth, businesses need to build a sales team and when the time comes, never hire just one sales rep.

Here’s five compelling reasons why hiring two sales reps is always better than one:

1. More data to benchmark performance
Having one sales rep gives you no meaningful data in which to benchmark performance. If you hire someone and they fail to hit quota you don’t know if this is because they’re not up to the job or if there’s a lack of product/market fit. Similarly, if your one sales hire succeeds, you still don’t know how much better they could be doing. With two (or more) sales reps you will learn more about your business, product and positioning in less time.

2. A/B test to optimise your sales process
With additional sales headcount you can run A/B tests to target new segments and markets or trial different versions of your product. These tests will help you understand what does and does not work more quickly, and armed with this insight you can optimise your qualifying and sales process. Speed is important - refining your ideal customer and sales process quickly will help you get and stay ahead of your competitors.

3. Increase sales revenue
All things being equal, hiring more sales reps will lead to increased revenue for your organisation. While not all revenue is created equal (you don’t want to acquire customers that are a poor fit and likely to churn), getting revenue on the board does help to grow your business, validate your product and understand your best fit customers.

4. Your sales reps can buddy up
Having two sales reps join at the same time means they can buddy up and share best practice. Regular knowledge sharing should be actively encouraged so sales reps can discuss challenges and how they overcame them, training requirements and success stories. As long as sales rep territories and segments are carved up clearly and intelligently you can create an environment where a buddy systems thrives.

5. Foster friendly competition
Ideally, when you hire two sales reps you will also ignite friendly competition between them. Sales attracts people with a competitive nature that want to win, and as long as the competition remains friendly and to the benefit of the organisation, then it can and should be fostered. The best ways to develop friendly competition is via sales reps’ compensation plan and by creating opportunities for public recognition within the business.

Hiring two sales reps to build out your sales organisation may seem expensive, but it will more quickly help you understand your Product/Market fit, positioning and best fit customers. With this information you can double down on what works and build repeatable processes to achieve consistent sales at your startup.

In short, more sales reps helps you more quickly understand what works for your business. Gaining this insight truly is a wise investment that will pay you back quickly and for a long time.