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Founder Led Sales Onboarding

Founder-led onboarding of new salespeople.

No one sells a solution like a founder.

Unfortunately, having a single point of sales excellence is a sure fire way to inhibit growth. If we want to scale and reach our full market potential, we need to hire great people, develop them and enable their success.

Analyse the elements of early success for founders and start-ups. This will give us a window into how we can train and onboard new hires for the future.

Good news! The knowledge that makes founders successful in the beginning is fairly standard across the industry. We can capture this and distil it down to help accelerate the onboarding process of new team members.


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The Passion & Knowledge of a Founder

Founders come from a unique position. When they start a business they are usually subject matter experts in their field:

  • they have spotted an opportunity or gap in the market
  • developed a specific product set in this area
  • market-tested the solution and made their first customer sales
  • validated the above points and, ultimately, market fit.


Essentially their expertise can be categorised as follows:


Each of these categories is a Pandora's box of industry and customer stories which illustrate the market fit and the successes experienced to date.

The trick is how to capture these stories and ensure knowledge transfer.


Start With Recordings to Capture The Story

If you are planning to hire any go to market people over the next 6 months, the easiest way to start the knowledge transfer is simply ask some customers if you can record your calls - today - for training purposes.

No expensive video production needed.

Just having a selection of different calls with prospects and existing customers will help with knowledge transfer from the founder. You can create and develop a library of calls over time as your onboarding matures.

Remember, stories are the best way for teams to learn any solution. To ensure the best window into your world, for each of the categories above think about the scenarios where you, the founder, are really in story telling mode. Capture those stories. 


The Importance of an Onboarding Plan

When thinking about onboarding, it is important to put together a structured onboarding plan to achieve ongoing knowledge-transfer-success.

Note: This should be a documented plan - which is agreed on both sides.

As mentioned, we have 4 areas of founder expertise where we need onboard team members, on top of company and systems onboarding:


1. Industry Knowledge


> What are the key knowledge points needed to understand the industry?

> What are the key sources of information needed to stay ahead of industry developments?

> Who are key people to follow in the industry?

> How can you impart industry knowledge on your sales teams and build their awareness?


2. Customer Challenge


> What are your target audiences or sweet spot? (TAM/ICP)

> What is the challenge (Identified Pain) that customers are facing?

> How does challenge this impact revenue, cost, risk or shareholders? (Identified Pain)

> What are great discovery questions? How do you quantify this pain? (Metrics)

> Who are the Personas who are most affected by the pain? (Champion)


 3. Solutions Available & Your Differentiators


> What solutions are available today? (Competitors)

> Why you vs the competition? (Differentiators)

> What is the business value (revenue, cost, risk) of you vs competitors?


4. Customer Stories / Case Studies


> What are your best customer stories?

> What is the customer pain and associated metrics you can share?

> Who are your referenceable customers to validate these stories?


Teach, Practice & Learn First Hand

When we are creating onboarding plans and assets we mustn’t just shower our new hires with 100s of hours of video and see them in a few weeks.

Learning and hearing first hand from the founder, other team members and customers will help embed the stories and information much faster than any one-way broadcast.

In addition, time and money is lost when we don’t check that learning. You don't want to find out that your new hires are not yet self sufficient 6-months down the line. 

Therefore, build onboarding plans which have set dates / times to playback or perform roleplays to check learning.


Remember a Salesperson isn’t a Founder

We must set realistic expectations for our hires. Our salespeople will never be a clone of our founders.

Scaling doesn't mean replacing the founder completely. Nor does it mean salespeople will be as successful as the founder in closed revenue terms.

Founders are incredibly passionate, committed (in cash and values), and as we have mentioned, uniquely positioned to navigate the sales process.

Salespeople within the start-up will be committed and want to be successful, no doubt. But they are not copies of the Founder.

To set teams up for success in the onboarding process, set expectations right from the start. 

We can make salespeople hugely productive by getting them to 50-75% of the founder capability. We are not seeking perfection, we are seeking growth, and this will grow the business. 

Remember, onboarding also takes time - on average 6-9 months. Be realistic with expectations so you don’t get disappointed - on either side.



First hires for founders are so important.

Unfortunately, as founders often run so fast, it’s hard to slow down to onboard new team members. This slowing down is what is needed to speed up sales. Don't miss the opportunity!

Take the time with these critical first hires to really consider what is the minimum information they need to succeed. Then create a plan to ensure this knowledge is imparted, absorbed and replayed/tested - on regular occasions.

A great onboarding experience will ensure your pay back.



If you are interested in new ideas, inspir’em sales meeting exercises and lesson plans are available to continue the development journey of your teams.

Contact us today to further boost your sales and see your revenue grow.

For more tips on applying MEDDIC in the real world - join our community at inspir’em today.