Building the Sales Team

After COMDEX 1983 I had generated enough business that I could begin staffing the company properly. One of the first areas I addressed was sales. Without sales, no matter how good your product is, your company will not survive, prosper and grow. I decided to use the sales model I had instituted successfully at Hilevel technology. That model consisted of signing Sales Reps across the major markets and a sales manager whose primary focus was to train, motivate, and monitor the sales reps. Sales Reps were independent local sales organizations that represented many manufactures, usually in the same industry. They specialized in calling on OEM customers in their assigned territory. The Sales Manager reported to me and was responsible for bringing qualified sales leads to my attention. As CEO of a small company I was the closer.

So at this time I hired our first Sales Manager, Jim Stedt. At the same time I began contracting sales reps. Along with Jim we visited the Reps and trained them. We developed our first marketing materials they could use. The Rep network identified leads, Jim vetted them, and then he and I would travel to the customer with the Rep and try to close the sale. Jim was with us for about a year but decided to move on. I then hired Dean Barnes who worked for me until we were well into becoming a product company and Tom Miller became VP of sales and replaced him.

By 1985 we had about a dozen employees and were doing about $1 million in consulting revenue. I liked consulting but in that business you were only as successful as your last project. If you developed a hit product your customer reaped the benefit, not you. I wanted to be in manufacturing again. My opportunity to bootstrap into manufacturing came later that year.