Josh Melick is a serial entrepreneur, having helped launch multiple successful companies. His last startup was Broadly, a local small business marketing platform that lets customers communicate with their customers through automated messaging, uncovering new ways to manage customer marketing and effectively measure ROI.
We asked Josh about the key people and positions every new business must have to get off the ground and succeed.
What should a new company do before hiring?
Josh says, “Hire an employment attorney to draft your offer letter and ensure that you protect yourself against future litigation. A typical contract for someone with duties like marketing or sales will be longer than this person’s (and their own attorney’s) attention span. That spell check button is your friend.”
Do you need a CTO? Is it someone in the company, or should this person be brought in from the outside?
Josh says, “Ideally, an early hire would have both skillsets – development and product management. However, you don’t want to burn through three engineers before landing one who can effectively manage the product and business objectives. Early on, I found senior engineers who were still green but had strong work ethics and self-management skills to be more valuable than experienced duds.”
The first hire I made at my first company was an intern from Stanford University. He was an intelligent guy, came very cheap (read: free), and had a strong work ethic. In his first few weeks, he taught himself the product inside out. He recommended small changes that would have been easy for an engineer to implement but also ended up being critical features of our future product lines. I made him a full-time offer after the internship was over.”
What should be a company’s top priority?
“Proactively vet potential hires. Talk with their previous managers and, if possible, find a reference that is not related to them directly. Make this person’s phone number available, and you’ll often get very detailed feedback.”
What should go into creating an effective job description?
Josh says, “I think it depends on who you want to hire. For an early-stage startup, you’re not going to attract candidates with years of experience in your space. So be honest about the challenges and opportunities that come with being part of a new company, but emphasize the opportunity for growth.”
What are some common pitfalls companies often face when hiring?
Josh says, “The worst thing a company can do is to hire someone and then never check upon them. If you’re not going to talk to your hires regularly, your company’s culture will die a slow death.”
What should companies work on when hiring salespeople?
Josh says, “In the B2B world, sales teams are typically broken into three buckets: inside sales, mid-funnel salespeople, and account executives.
Inside sales are focused on closing small deals (i.e., less than $10k) with scalable assets like email lists or access to CRMs. The advantage of inside sales is they can close more deals over time (making the economics work), but the disadvantage is that it’s tough to track success. The best inside sales reps can close $100k+ in ARR for a SaaS company, but they’re also the hardest to find.”
The mid-funnel salesperson is focused on closing larger deals that are not self-serve, using phone calls and email. The report into mid-funnel sales management. Their goal is to get prospects to the next step, whether that is a trial or a meeting with an account executive.”
“Account executives are focused on closing deals that require more human touchpoints, usually over phone calls and in person. The report into account executive management and their job is to deploy mid-funnel salespeople and close the deal. Most account executives manage $1m+ in ARR.”