Three Critical Hires for a Software Testing Startup

Madigan Johnson

At some point a tech startup will start to face the inevitable question of team expansion. It can be difficult to navigate who to hire during this critical  process, but we believe that there are three positions that stand out and will make great additions to the team. By hiring people to fill these roles,  the advancement and the well-being of the company will be in good hands.

Sales Manager

In order for a company to be successful, they have to be creating revenue either through their services or product. In order to do so, there needs to be emphasis placed on sales. In the beginning, the sales responsibilities fall on the shoulders of the CEO. They are the ones that know the product best, can pitch the companies to potential clients, and have a thorough knowledge of what the clients are looking for which can mean higher success rates. So when is the time to bring on a sales manager?

There is no exact answer, but a general rule of thumb is when the CEO is becoming overwhelmed with only sales related work and does not have time to focus on other aspects of the company. By hiring a sales manager, this means that the CEO’s valuable time is being freed up to pursue other goals. When considering this position, it is imperative that the sales manager is not a negative hire, the company should still be making a profit even after the hire. Another thing to consider is that the sales manager has six months of leeway time before they start paying for themselves. What is meant by this is that the sales manager will be adjusting to new systems and structures in the beginning and in general, be fishing for clients. However, it is the hope within six months time that they will be able to close clients and essentially pay for themselves. Hiring a dedicated sales team member can bring in new streams of revenue and free up the CEO’s time which benefits the company overall.

Head of Product

Startups have great products/services and no one knows them better than the CEO. CEO's know the product or service inside out and love to talk about it with anyone that will listen because they believe in it so strongly.

Hiring a head of product can be seen as relinquishing control over what the entire company is based on, but through the initial product charge and later, CEOs will have to give up some of the control to focus on other matters. When the CEO can no longer effectively delegate time between the product and sales, it is time to hire a head of product so the CEO can have sustained focus on being the revenue generator. 

"A good head of product is the CEO of the product or service the company is selling. They need to be on the ground, listening to customers, talking with the development team and advising the senior team members." -Ben Fellows, Loop CEO

By hiring a dedicated head of product, that role can now take on the responsibilities of extending the vision of the product. Heads of product are there to speak with all of the operational teams, understand the clients needs and wants, communicate with the CEO, and provide leadership and concentration on the company's goals. A head of product should be able to spend time in the field, watching the product being used so that they can report back on how it is performing and issues that they saw. They are now the touchpoint within the organization on anything to do with a product and their depth of knowledge and expertise on the product helps companies push to be better and more competitive.

Software Tester

Software tester is a specific role, yet this could be reimagined to fit other tech hires in different technological pursuits that are focused on quality. Organizations with fantastic products can fail because of the quality produced, hence the need to hire a software tester. Never hiring for quality is a massive mistake and one that could see the company going out of business. 

The unwritten rule here is that for every four to five developers within the company, it is vital to hire a software tester. This does depend on the level of risk associated with the industry, but one thing is for certain, never hiring for quality is a major mistake. Far too often quality is not proactive, but rather reactive. By hiring a software tester earlier on, this hire will be able to catch the quality issues upstream saving the company time and money both in the short-term and long-term. 

Last Thoughts...

The internal dilemma of hiring or outsourcing can be a difficult topic to broach in organizations. Expansion and hiring can be worrisome, but knowing the needs of the organization are important. There is the question of whether or not startups should be hiring or outsourcing work which is honestly dependent on the individual startup and the needs that they have. If they have a gap in accounting, but only need a couple hours filled a month then they should probably outsource it. Yet, if they are making one of their employees take on multiple responsibilities in different arenas causing massive overtime, then they should probably separate the roles and hire another person. It is case by case, but as the company grows larger, there is the need for expansion. In the end, decisions need to be made in the best interest and continued growth of the companies. 

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