Negotiating Comp - Well funded startup hiring for important role

Sales pros: I need your help.


I'm interviewing for Sales Director at a very well funded blockchain startup (raised over $50m with only ~20 employees) and am unsure how aggressive to get with comp negotiations.


The responsibilities for the role are essentially: "here, you figure it out". No one on the team really has sales experience (bunch of consultants and engineers) and I'm quite confident I could do great there. I would need to move to NYC from LA since they aren't the biggest fans of fully remote. Not a huge issue for me but definitely something to consider.


Base is healthy at $200k but I'm struggling on how aggressive to make my own comp plan for a market that is basically untouched. Important factors I've used to previously build comp models like length of sales cycle and avg deal size are unknown... because no one has sold it yet.


I'm sure I'm leaving important factors out but curious what you all think.

โ˜๏ธ Software Tech
๐Ÿ’ฐ Compensation
๐Ÿ’Ž Cryptocurrency
6
braintank
Politicker
6
Enterprise Account Executive
Do you have a good job now? I would be very wary of joining a early stage blockchain startup in this climate.

Do they have customers and revenue?
UrAssIsSaaS
Arsonist
3
SaaS Eater
This x1,000,000

Do they have any semblance of growth goals that are remotely realistic that you can derive into a comp plan?ย 

I would go with option #2 of what @TennisandSalesย outlined but I would really just avoid this whole situation like the plague.ย 

Do you have experience selling in this industry? Or knowledge/contacts relevant to this role? You're being asked to be the first sales person at a company that has very little GTM knowledge from what you have provided. In an industry and market that is insanely volatile.ย 

I would tread very carefully here if I were you.ย 
braintank
Politicker
1
Enterprise Account Executive
Sounds like a money laundering operation ๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿ’ธ๐Ÿ“‰
jefe
Arsonist
3
Head of Sales
I'ma add a few 000000's to what @UrAssIsSaaSย is saying.

Volatile as hell, and complex enough that most people don't really understand it.ย 
braintank
Politicker
3
Enterprise Account Executive
And you're gonna relocate across the country. Hell no!!!

Also isn't Blockchain just a distributed database, which is basically open source? What would you even be selling?
jefe
Arsonist
3
Head of Sales
Totally missed the relocation part. JEEZ

Just gets worse
larufina
Fire Starter
0
Sales Director
I was recently laid off. Customers and rev would be on me to find, which I don't think will be hard. Company is climate-tech focused.
braintank
Politicker
2
Enterprise Account Executive
Is this Adam Neumann's new company (Flowcarbon)?

I'm a self professed crypto skeptic, but this sounds like a recipe for disaster.

How much do you know about Blockchain? Are you connected in the climate space? Have you built a company from scratch before?

Please, this ain't it!!!
UrAssIsSaaS
Arsonist
3
SaaS Eater
What makes you say that finding customers and rev wont be hard? Asking genuinely, because there is no playbook, and unless you are well connected and HIGHLY knowledgeable in the blockchain/climate tech space (is that a real sentence I just typed?) its going to take time to ramp and get a playbook in place.
larufina
Fire Starter
0
Sales Director
Not Flowcarbon but similar.ย Built and led my last startupโ€™s sales team and know the carbon market well.

Curious why you think this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen?ย 
larufina
Fire Starter
0
Sales Director
Agreed that ramp and playbook need to be taken into account. Voluntary net zero pledges are climbing year on year and I believe they have something special to offer. Ive worked in climate tech before and blockchain solves for a lot of the persistent problems with carbon markets.ย 

Appreciate your input so far, but weโ€™ve deviated a bit from my initial question of how aggressive can I get with my own comp structure.ย 

Not aggressive enough and Iโ€™m leaving money on the table. Too aggressive and they look at someone else.ย 
braintank
Politicker
2
Enterprise Account Executive
That's becuase the situation you're describing has more red flags than CCP parade.

Hell, the premise of your question is a red flag.
UrAssIsSaaS
Arsonist
2
SaaS Eater
I get that you probably have your decision made and arent going to listen to some random people on an internet forum.

So in that case I would go with the #2 option outlined by tennisandsales. Just get like 7.5% of closed rev
larufina
Fire Starter
1
Sales Director
Haha I'm here to listen to internet randos, so appreciate your insight.ย 
TennisandSales
Politicker
2
Enterprise Account Executive
i would say 2 options -ย 
1. go no commission in the first year.ย 
Take the next 12 months to start to figure out some of these details like avg potential deal size and get a feel for what a sales cycle could look like.ย 
Whether that is to just stay at the $200K or determine what a quarterly bonus could look like thats not tied to revenue numbers for the first year.ย 

(Ive been on a comp plan like this before in a new market where my OTE was guaranteed and i got commission like i was hitting quota even though I didnt close anything for that year. but there was an established OTE and quota for that to happen haha)ย 

2. just suggest a % of closed revenue with no quota. idk how you could even have a quota in this situation so if you just throw out a percentage to start that could be an option. with the understanding that this will be evaluated next year.ย 
Gyro25
Notorious Answer
2
Account Manager
After reading the news about Coinbase today, I'd be wary...
AnchorPoint
Politicker
2
Business Coach
If you are confident in your ability to produce results, put emphasis on the a strong upside for the results.ย  Set levels of comp based on achievement.ย  Wish you the best brother - go make it happen.
saaskicker
Celebrated Contributor
1
Enterprise AE
More aggressive you are, bigger the target on your back is.
5

I should be receiving an offer from a big Corp for an AE role. What's your experience in negotiating during this early stage?

Question
9
9

Best Comp Structure for First Startup Sales Hire?

Question
11
20

[Advice] What is my market value? Asking for a raise, what salary to expect. Compensation tables inside (SDR, AE, CSM, Managers).

Advice
19