My web company has been in business for close to ten years. We sell a digital product. I bootstrapped the business and for the longest time we saw steady growth. I had experience in web advertising and that is what I pursued. Bringing people in to us from the web.... One thing I never did is hire sales people to go out and try to bring in bigger clients who would purchase larger amounts of our product. (And our business model is the type that would sustain this.) At this point, we have gone through some tough stages and money is tighter than usual. We are down to only a few necessary employees. I am wondering if there is a process for a company at my stage to find and hire salespeople. I honestly don't even know where to start. I do believe that if I had someone who could regularly hit up various companies, etc. that we could grow, but right now we don't have the budget to just hire a full time sales person out of the door. I know I can do this job as well and have been doing it as my time allows, but I only have so much time to devote to it. Thanks for any help or advice!
Sales people, especially senior sales people, are expensive for a small company. It's also a hiring area where a lot of hires don't work out -- the people who look good on paper often have massive-company experience and startups are totally foreign to them -- which makes it even more expensive. Without naming names, there are dozens of small companies in Silicon Valley, including those coming out of prestigious accelerators, that have had to shut down because overinvesting in sales made them run out of money.
I suggest you take a look at what Upshift Partners' founder has to say about this; he trains technical- and product-oriented startup founding teams to scale their sales without bankrupting their companies. I've worked with him as a consultant but he's better in his own words: http://firstround.com/article/Looking-to-Scale-Your-Sales-Seven-Bullets-to-Dodge