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It’s never easy to find the right leader. What complicates it even more is where companies are at in their revenue journey. Different types of leaders excel at different times. Sometimes you need tactical leaders other times you need leaders who can close big deals or operationally get things in order. In this episode, Doug Landis, Growth Partner at Emergence Capital shares his secrets of hiring and discusses how start-ups must find the right leader at the right time in order to succeed.

Doug started his career as an account executive at Oracle, and after a few stints at Google and Salesforce, decided to join the exciting world of venture capital.

He spoke to us about the top two reasons why startups fail, and also gave some tips on how to hire for success, at the right time in your stage of development.

The Top Two Reasons Why Startups Fail

As Q4 is starting and we are preparing for the end of the year, we know many companies are planning their hiring strategies for next year and looking for sales leaders, among other roles. We asked Doug what would be the advice he gives to any startup executive, when planning their hiring strategy.

  1. Expanding a Startup Too Soon – Losing Focus

“The reason why startups fail is two-fold. Number one: focus. A lot of early stage companies, they get distracted by the shiny penny, and they lose focus on executing on what they’re really, really good at. If you’ve got product market fit, and you know your ideal customer profile, just focus and hone in on that, until you get your $20 million, $30 million in revenue,” said Doug, on the Playmakers podcast.

  1. Hiring For Your Stage of Development

“You must hire for the stage of the company that you’re in. Don’t necessarily hire for the stage of the company that you’d like to become. Hiring is so important in the early days, because it helps to build culture, it helps to build the process, and the infrastructure. If you get either one of those things wrong early on, you’re really going to struggle,” he added.

How to Hire Sales Leaders

There are four major types of sales leaders, and each will bring with them a specific skill set, told us Doug. It’s imperative that in the hiring process, you are aware of what type of intelligence you need, and what are the strengths of each leader will bring to the team.

“If you don’t get the right leadership in place, it’s super costly. And of course, the right leader has to be the right leader for the company at that stage. If you’re zero to $10 million in revenue, you need to hire a builder. You need to hire someone that can actually build the process and the foundation,” said Doug.

“You don’t need to hire that hot-shot executive, if you will, that has a great brand name. They may not be in the position to roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work that needs to get done in the zero to $10 million stage,” added Doug.

Listen to the Playmakers Podcast

Listen to the podcast with Doug Landis to learn more about hiring sales leaders. You’ll learn about:

  • How different types of leaders perform well for companies at different stages of growth
  • When do you need a tactical leader, versus an operational leader
  • The four types of qualities you should look for in a sales leader

Resouces and Links Related to This Episode:

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Inbound to ABM w/Fes Askari @Strategic IC

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