How to build up credibility from the get go

Today's job candidates are no longer thankful just to have a job. Instead, the best candidates look at a company and ask themselves, ‘Is this a company I can win the race with?' 

The problem is that most tech start-ups and fast-growing tech companies like to assume that they are the best company with the best brand and product and that this will be enough to attract and keep great talent. Unfortunately, it's not. Even if you really do have the best bit of tech on the market, you need to have some seriously robust processes and sales functionality in place to appeal to the really successful sales people.

Having great processes may not sound particularly sexy, but without them any credibility you have (or believe you have) will go out the window.

Top sales people are looking for well-oiled vehicles that will allow them to achieve what they need to, to realise their own financial goals. And their expectations of the business will be high right from the start.

This means that, as a business, you will need highly efficient hiring, offering, and onboarding processes. You'll need to ask yourself whether, from an HR perspective, you are big enough to offer a robust onboarding process. If not, it's worth doing something about it. You'll need to know who will manage this process and exactly what it will entail. If you don't have these key early day decisions locked down, no amount of innovation or great products are going to matter.

Without great sales functions, credibility won't last

And this need for well-organised processes continues up through the business. You need to think about how you are going to execute the sales process. What's marketing going to do to support sales and vice versa, for example? You can't get away with having one person doing it all. You need a dedicated marketing professional sourcing the leads and someone else to qualify them before they can go to the sales team or seasoned sales person to action. Sales is a process-led profession. If you have this process in place and execute it efficiently, you will attract and hold onto the kind of sales people who will be instrumental in growing your business.

A person's track record can of course instantly give a company credibility. If someone who has launched and successfully exited several start-ups comes into a new start-up, people will feel very much that they're in safe hands. There's little doubt that leadership and credibility comes from being able to show that you have done a good job before.

Similarly, if you really do have a great bit of tech and a reputation for being ahead of the game, this too can create a sense of credibility. People will want to work for you, sales people will want to jump right in. But tech and innovation will only get you so far on the credibility front. You still have to have the right processes in place, otherwise the sales people will walk straight back out the door, damaging your reputation and eroding any credibility you had.