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SXSW Interactive 2014

Why, How, and When to Build a SaaS Sales Team

Distribution is at the core of every business no matter what size. Do you build an inside sales team? develop a big brand partner? develop a channel? These are hard questions and have long-term implications once the decision is made.

The reality is that many SaaS products require a sales person to complete the sale. Companies that can grow virally with little touch exist, but they are the exception, not the norm. So how do you grow?

Starting an inside or field sales team is one way to do it. This panel session will draw on sales leaders and experts that have built both inside and field sales teams. It will dig into the vagaries of building and running a sales team including lessons from recruiting, hiring, commission structures, and more.

Basically everything you need to know about building and maintaining an SaaS inside and field sales team.

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  1. How do I know if an inside or field sales team is the right way to go for my SaaS company? There are many ways to grow a business and deciding when and if to build a sales team is a big decision. The panel experts will shed light on their experiences with timing of sales team development as opposed to strategic partners or other distribution channels
  2. “If you hire clowns you’ll end up with a circus” -> What is the optimal profile of a salesperson? This is a fantastic question and one that all startups / early stage companies will be asking. What is the best way to recruit your sales team? Panelists will discuss their methods of profiling and ongoing hiring strategies to ensure they continued to bring in the right people. We'll also discuss the optimal organizational structure to support a sales team.
  3. So how much do a I pay a salesperson and what is the optimal compensation structure? Panelist will dive into the lessons learned with commission / compensation structures including base pay + commission + equity.
  4. How do you decide between and inside sales team vs a field sales team? Panelist with draw on their experience with inside, web, channel, and field sales teams to what worked and what didn't work.
  5. So you've decided to go ahead with a sales team...what now? We'll discuss key metrics to track when setting up a sales team including CAC and LTV (Cost of Acquisition, and lifetime value of a customer).



Jamie Sutherland, President, Xero

Meta Information:

  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Entrepreneurialism and Business
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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