Ready to hire your first VP Sales for your SaaS business, but haven’t done it before?
Let me give you a partial interview script that may help. You’ll have to vary it for different types of SaaS businesses, but it will work for all SaaS companies from £10m ARR to £200k ARR — a wide range! After that, you’ll be looking for a different profile.
Before you hire a VP Sales, it’s advisable you hire 1-2 BDMs first and make them successful, that way you can practice what you preach and know what works within your business and prove there is market demand for your product. It helps to have a small team in place when looking to attract the right people and understand what your business needs.
Here are 10 good screening questions to see if you have a strong VP, Sales candidate to take your SaaS business forward to the next level.
These questions don’t necessarily have right or wrong answers, but will help you determine the quality and fit of your candidate:
- How big a team do you think we need right now, given what you know?
(If they can’t answer, right or wrong, pass).
- What deal sizes have you sold, on average and range?
(If it’s not a similar fit to you, pass. If they can’t answer fluidly, pass).
- Tell me about the teams you’ve directly managed, and how you built them.
(If they can’t describe how they built a team, pass).
- What sales tools have you used and what works for you? What hasn’t worked well?
(If they don’t understand sales tools, they aren’t a real VP Sales).
- Who do you know right now that would join you on our sales team? Tell me about them, by background if not name.
(All good candidates should have a few in mind).
- How should sales and client success/management work together?
(This will highlight how well they understand the true customer lifecycle).
- Tell me about deals you’ve lost to competitors. What’s going to be key in our space to win business against competitors?
- How do you deal with fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the marketplace?
(This will identify if they know how to compete — or not).
- Do you work with sales engineers and sales support? If so, what role do they need to play at this stage when capital is finite?
(This will determine if they can operate at an early-stage SaaS start-up successfully — and if they know how to help the business scale).
- What will my revenues look like 120 days after I hire you?
(Ask them to explain to you what will happen. There’s no correct answer. But there are many wrong answers).
OK, let’s make it 11 actually:
- How should sales and marketing work together at our phase?
(This will prove they understand lead generation and how to work a lead funnel. Believe it or not, most candidates don’t understand this unless they of they haven’t operated as a VP Sales before).
These questions aren’t magic. None of them are particularly insightful or profound, in fact, hopefully, they are of obvious. The idea is that it creates dialogue so you can determine if the candidate is the real deal, or full of BS!
It should allow you to qualify if this is the person to be a true VP, a leader who can take you to the next level, and if they are a good fit for the space you operate in and your business.
If any of the answers are terrible, pass. If any don’t make sense, pass. And if you know more about any of these questions that the candidate does, pass! Your VP Sales needs to be smarter than you in sales, sales processes, and building and scaling a sales team.
What questions do you ask when interviewing a senior sales professional?