Attract Top SaaS Sales Talent

Getting top sales talent to join your company in this market is like eating a pile of raw nails for breakfast.

Don’t worry, it’s like this for everyone. Even large well-branded SaaS companies are indulging in the breakfast of champions! Let’s say you’ve finally got the headcount approved to hire more salespeople. So, you’re eager to get top sales talent on the team immediately. After all, how else are you going to meet this quarter’s increasing targets? 

Looking for Top 25% Sales Performers

Finally, with the extra headcount, you can see your team hitting their numbers! 

Fast-forward several weeks, and all that’s transpired is you’ve interviewed a handful of mediocre salespeople. So how do you attract Top SaaS sales talent so you can meet your goals and hit your targets?

small and large dogs fighting

It’s a Dog Fight for Top SaaS Sales Talent

Older generations remember when it was hard to get a job.

It could take months to drum up an offer. The shortage of roles lead to an environment where the employers were able to maintain the upper hand. Today’s HR teams and sales leaders know things have drastically changed.

In fact, in 2021 47.4M people voluntarily quit their jobs.

The Start of Resignation Fridays

In 2021, our phones started blowing up with calls from panicked sales leaders.

Many told us they went from 100 decent resumes a week to 2 resumes a week for their sales openings. Internal recruiting teams watched in amazement when LinkedIn reply rates plummeted and employees started resigning with regularity on Resignation Fridays. The old job market was officially dead. 

While more roles opened up with growth hires and back-fills, the tactics of posting jobs and waiting for applicants to attract even middle-of-the-pack sales talent became ineffective seemingly overnight. 

Ghosting Entered the Recruiting Lexicon

Ghosted – a word borrowed from the online dating arena because part of the mainstream recruiting vernacular. 

Companies were getting regularly ghosted by candidates halfway through the interview process. Getting rejected in every part of the recruiting process, and not realizing it’s time to adapt, leaves most companies beyond frustrated. Spinning your wheels with top sales talent that is ultimately not joining your firm is exhausting, inefficient, and a waste of time. 

Top salespeople are needed by every SaaS company out there –and everyone needed them yesterday.

Recruiting Metrics Fall off a Cliff

Are your company’s offer acceptance rates dropping?

Time to fill rates skyrocketing? If this is your situation, you are not alone. One candidate we heard about was shopping so many opportunities he asked the recruiter he was interested in meeting with to fill out a Google Form sheet so he could keep track!

Questions included candidate-job fit, even though an initial conversation had never begun.

Never Ending Competition

In today’s market, middle of the road SaaS reps can easily generate five or more initial interviews for new opportunities.

In most markets, top sales talent goes where they want when they decide it’s time. A-players don’t typically shop a market, they don’t have the time. But it’s no secret that recruiting sales talent in this market is ultra-competitive. 

And no doubt about it, sales recruiting mistakes are costly. 

Cooling off? It’s Still Hot Here 

 

re, there are a few SaaS companies laying off here and there, but job numbers and interview activity suggest the job market isn’t cooling off anytime soon.

So, how can you compete, how do you attract top SaaS sales talent so you can smash your quota goals and get that next promotion? If you’re tired of interviewing the bottom 50% of sales talent because you know they won’t get you where you want to go, it’s time to reflect, plan, and adapt. It’s time to take a proactive approach to recruiting so you can land the sales talent your company deserves. 

It’s time to stop losing candidates to the competition and start building your dream sales team.

What Salespeople Want

Here are some areas to evaluate that truly matter to strong salespeople.

But first, let’s review some basics. After all, everything executed well comes down to the fundamentals. Let’s review the four fundamentals of relationship building and be intentional about their execution.


Relationship Building 

#1 –What’s important to your audience? 

HINT–It’s not all about the product.

If you don’t take the time to learn why the person you’re interviewing is on the call with you, how will you know if this is a good fit for them? You may think you know, or it could be that you’re simply rushed for time, so you don’t ask. But if you want to get the relationship off to a good start, find out why they are meeting with you. What are they envisioning for their next move?

#2–Stay curious, listen, and keep it 50-50. 

HINT–One person should not be doing all the talking in any conversation.

If you’re driving the conversation, explaining the role, and going into grill mode–this old-school style of interviewing isn’t going to give you outstanding results. One of the best ways to find out more about someone is to stay curious, ask questions, and do the hard work of listening. One of our strongest candidates turned down a pre-sales role because the other company knew the name of her dog. Now, I know there is more to it than that, but it was a sticking point. Ultimately, this candidate didn’t feel seen as a 360-degree person by our client, and it cost us all in the end. If you can– learn from our mistakes.

#3–How can you help? 

HINT–What is the pain you’re solving for?

Salespeople leave companies for a predictable set of common reasons. Make sure you are not just providing more of the same. Find out what could be better. Learn more about the catalyst that sparked the desire to explore new roles.

#4–What can you give?

HINT–There is more to attracting A-players than straight money talk during the offer phase.

As a leader, you have a big role in the talent attraction process. Will your styles mesh? Will this person leave a better rep under your coaching? Are you able to provide better resources?

Now let’s dive into the details.

Attracting Top SaaS Sales Talent Starts with Awareness

Awareness in recruiting covers a lot of ground.

It starts with who are you as a leader. It encompasses how your products fit into the market. What is the sales culture your organization is creating?

What are the values your organization rewards?

Awareness Leads to Recruiting Success

Awareness is a must-have starting point in order to build a high-performance sales team.

And today, we’re going to focus on the TEAM aspect of awareness. If you think selling great product capabilities is the main answer to all your recruiting and sales problems, consider the rise of Zoom, HubSpot, and Workday.  I’d argue that the number one seller of cars in the United States, the late Joe Girard, broke every record that still stands in Guinness World Records.

Joe sold the humble yet pragmatic Chevrolet.

solid gold saas sales teams

Your Team is Solid Gold

So, let’s focus on your company’s team.

After meeting with hundreds of employers, it becomes apparent that the hiring managers who can define and highlight their company’s strengths win far more A-players than those who can’t. Think beyond the product and examine what your organization has to offer that your competitors don’t. So let’s take a deeper look at the teams salespeople collaborate with and depend on to get those big commission checks.

After all, those commission checks are part of what drives top salespeople more than anything else.

Start with Your Marketing Powerhouse

Revenue generating teams with powerful marketing support thrive. Come to find out, large marketing budgets help too.

  • Does your marketing team have a large budget?
  • Are they exceptional at driving MQLs?
  • Is your marketing team cranking out attention-grabbing whitepapers and inspiring prospects to consider your solutions?
  • Does your marketing team partner well with sales?

Talk about what your marketing team is doing to drive demand and be more vocal about this with new recruits. 

Most salespeople understand the value of working with solid marketing teams. So, if your marketing team is crushing it, don’t keep it a secret during the recruiting process. Engage top SaaS sales talent by highlighting your marketing team’s success. 

A while back, one of our clients had a MM marketing budget. 

Marketing Budgets are Power Selling Points

This budget was 5X the size of most companies of similar size.

 But we didn’t find this out from the Head of Sales during a sales search we were engaged in. In fact, we didn’t find out at all until we helped them with a high-level marketing search and spoke directly with the CMO. If your marketing team is a powerhouse, don’t hide it!

Now let’s look at your solution consultants

Technically Savvy Demos by Sharp Technical Allies

If you have an exceptional pre-sales team, that’s a competitive advantage worth bragging about.

Technical salespeople who can communicate well and keep up with technical details are not average. If you have impressive pre-sales team members, get them involved in your recruiting process. Invite them to meet with new recruits if possible. Salespeople feel less pressure and more confidence when partnering with Sales Engineers that have command of the sales process and the products.

Think about your own recruiting use cases when a sales engineer and sales rep closed a remarkable deal by working in concert to land the account.

man with laptop attract top SaaS sales talent

CEOs with Sales Power

If you’re looking to attract top SaaS sales talent, it’s important to remember that CEOs matter to new sales recruits.

Of course, there are as many kinds of CEOs as salespeople. But one thing is for sure, CEOs who are too busy to help secure new clients and new business will not win the hearts of new sales recruits. CEOs willing to make calls to other CEOs and get involved in deals when necessary are highly valued leaders for salespeople.

 When CEOs are active in select deals, magic follows

Executive Leadership Intrigue 

No matter what kind of CEO you have at your company, there is an element of allure and intrigue when discussing executive leadership. 

New recruits are curious to know more about the people who run your company, so tell them. How many reps get a call from the finance department with good news? Usually, commissions were somehow miscalculated and intense money conversations ensue. 

But what about your accounting team. 

Happy Checks

Does your CFO write commission checks with a smile? 

Or does a call from finance send your salespeople running? One of our SaaS clients loved paying commissions, and they weren’t shy about letting new SaaS sales recruits know. They understood when salespeople got paid, they got paid.

They were happy to pay salespeople more than senior-level executives.

Contribution is Compensation

This company respected sales and successfully recruited top sales talent even with average to slightly below average base salaries. 

They found paying out large commissions didn’t hurt their profitability either and only helped inspire more success. Today they are a well-known public company worth $MMMs and one of the top 100 largest SaaS companies headquartered in the United States. Top sales talent wants to work for companies that pay out substantial commissions.

If you don’t think about your HR team often, it might be because they are doing a great job.
 
Hi-Touch Human Resources

Strong HR teams make employees’ lives easier.

  • When was the last time your paycheck showed up late? 
  • How about this year’s upgraded benefits?
  • Where did they come from? 
  • Who got the answers for you when your rep needed maternity leave details?  

From first days to company events, to training, HR plays a big role in keeping employees engaged. If you’ve ever onboarded with a new employer and the process was dismal, you know it made you rethink your decision to join the organization. Imagine being greeted on your first day by, well, almost no one? Organized, efficient, and knowledgeable HR teams make all employees happier.

If your company has an organized, and efficient HR team, be sure to bring it up in the recruiting process!

Winning Sales Enablement Team

Without a doubt, sales enablement is like Ben and Jerry’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink flavored ice cream.

It has a constant flavor with endless variety. Ask five people what’s in that flavor of ice cream and you’ll get 20 different answers. So, no matter what your sales enablement department provides, their ultimate goal will be to help your sales team win more deals. 

Does your sales enablement team provide robust sales training programs to help your reps develop new skills? 

Collaborative Teams Close More Deals

Maybe they help reps with high-impact content to support and drive the sales process. 

A high-performance sales enablement team can help your new hires get ramped up faster, support the sales process, and make commissions all the faster. Every top rep loves the idea of those results! It’s easy to focus on products, quotas, and base pay when recruiting sales talent, but it won’t help your role stand out.

Hundreds of thousands of sales jobs are open in the United States. 

Products, Pay, People

Touting your “greatness” without moving beyond the product-pay conversation is as ineffective as a voice-over PowerPoint presentation. 

New recruits need something to be excited about. In this job market, it’s important to be aware of your company’s strengths so you can put your best foot forward. Look inside your organization for ways to separate your company from the middle of the pack. Finally, and most importantly, look at your people. 

Winning new clients is not a solo sport; it takes a team to win amazing clients. 

Who’s on your team worth bragging about?

 

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