How To Build A Sales Team For Your Startup: Interview With Jim Connor, Serial Entrepreneur & Silicon Valley Investor

Jim Connor, serial entrepreneur and Silicon Valley angel investor, shares lessons learned from building sales teams.



  1. Figure out sales channels (e.g. direct, online, supply chain).
  2. Determine the minimum set of skills required for sales people; then hire and train them.
  3. Have an adequate compensation model with incentives to compete with bigger companies. Back into total compensation desired by sales people and break it down (e.g. base, commission, bonus) to determine how you can compete.
  4. Sales representatives should bring in revenues 4-5x their compensation
  5. BONUS Tip! Effective prioritization and time management: Break activities into segments (e.g. sales, product). Block out dedicated time for each segment (e.g. Sales on Mon-Wed-Fri,  9-11am).


  • 01:33 Jim: Overview of his company, Learn to Read
  • 05:30 Jim: What is Sales? Solving a customer problem, logically presenting it to customers, minimum requirements for sales representatives to sell effectively, build/train a sales team, and generate leads.
  • 08:44 Jim: Hiring three sales people together in a startup. after creating your selling model. Then find the perfect VP/head of Sales to execute and improve the model.
  • 11:54 Jim: Lessons learned from past mistakes (took long 7-8 years to perfect, consequences of not terminating poor performers, hiring good people, raise the selling bar)
  • 17:25 Anil: Jokes about how sales made him bald because it’s so hard
  • 18:16 Takeaways (see above) and BONUS tips!
  • 22:00: BONUS: Prioritization and work-life balance