This is the summary of a fictional tale that has been circulating in China’s WeChat content ecosystem, since first publication by Tedahao:

How to build a sales team that ruins your startup: 

Step 1: Poach people from famous MNCs

“My B2B product is ready, and I just need a star sales leader.”
“Ideally someone from IBM, Oracle, CISCO, HP or EMC.”
“Ideally sales VP or regional sales director.”

The founder starts visiting a good potential hire who has:
– 20 years B2B sales experience
– Sales management experience
– led a few 100m deals

The Sales Leader is convinced and decided to join the startup.

Step 2: Give full authority to the new Sales Leader 

“Can you bring your entire sales team from your previous company?”
“You have the full autonomy over personnel – hire hire hire!”

The sales team is now working under their old boss, and very motivated:
“Let’s work hard and get to IPO soon!”

Step 3: After building the team, the Sales Leader ask the team to go through list of old clients

Sales Leader:
“Everyone please send the team a list of old clients you still have contact with.”

And then use the same method, visiting old clients with new company and product line.

Sales Leader (to a client):
“Mr Li, I have just moved company, here is my new business card”

Step 4: Ask Marketing Department to hold a big “Industry Summit” 

And invite all the potential clients…

Sales Team (Calling clients):
“Hi we are having a new release, look forward to having you there to guide us.”

However, they discovered that all these supportive clients … are not available…

Client A: Sorry!
Client B: Sorry really busy!
Client C: My apologies!

Step 5: Improve sales management, using data for everything

Daily reports, weekly reports, reviews, applications, analyses … PPT for everything

And challenge all the numbers on the PPT…

The sales team has not sold anything, but become really good at PPT

Step 6: Roll out a new sales methodology, broken down to a ten step process

Sales Leader (with a cup of Starbucks at hand):
“From today onwards, all the sales process will be managed in this pipeline.”

Anything that is not in the process will not get approval for inventory or technical resources…

Step 7: Ruthless execution of daily, weekly and monthly reports

Sales Leader (with a gun at the head of a team member):
“Where is your daily report!!!???”

The team members spend the day visiting clients, and night writing reports

Step 8: Mandatory review meeting every Saturday 

Every project has to be analysed with great detail, even the ones with US$200 profit.

The meeting last for the whole day of Saturday, every Saturday.


Some team members could not take it anymore, and resigned.

Soon the Sales Leader resigned too…

The Founder poached another Sales leader from another reputable MNC, and restarts the process…

Many B2B startups died this way


Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].