This year at the start Internship, TechCrunch spoke with Ryan Azus, Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Zoom, about building an early stage sales team. Azus may be best known for leading the revenue arm of the video call giant during COVID-19, but his experience in building RingCentral’s North American sales organization from scratch has made him l ideal guest to discuss building an early stage sales team.
We asked him when founders should step down from leading their startup’s sales organization, how to create a functional sales culture, how to recruit in a diverse way, how to choose customer segments, and how to create a guide.
Below TechCrunch has compiled a number of key Azus comments and then we’ve included the full video of the interview along with a transcript. Let’s go!
When should founders let others handle sales?
Almost every startup relies on its CEO as the first salesperson. After all, who else knows the product and can talk about it like the leader of the startup? But having the CEO as a sales contact is not going well. So when is the right time to bring in someone else?
Rather early. First and foremost, CEOs must meet the needs of customers. And so it’s important to be very practical for a while to really understand as you try to figure out the product-to-market fit. And then bring in some of these sellers when you start to see something [good].
Part of that is also knowing what kind of salesperson you need. […] Who is your target audience? Which character are you looking for? And trying to find people who know and understand about selling something that is primarily very transactional to small businesses, [or] Leading in ecommerce or selling something more corporate – these are different animals, different segments that you are looking for. A mistake [startups make] hire the wrong type of salesperson. (Timestamp: 5:29)