How do you get the first few hires right when you haven’t recruited for this type of role before? How do you stand out against the 10,000 + SaaS start-ups competing for candidates?
Here are 5 suggestions:
Use recruiters & don’t be cheap.
Don’t cheap out and try to avoid paying a recruiter fee and/or other paid channels. If you had a good network here yourself, you’d already have used it. Use a recruiter that specialises in your market. Pay them and be very responsive to them. They’re on a contingent basis, so don’t leave them hanging. Pay well for good quality as you’ll end up paying more in the long run if they don’t work out.
Use a video recruiting platform.
Post a video telling them about how great your product is and pitching your company. A sales person can pitch you back telling you how great they are and why they would be great at selling your product. This can be a highly effective filter if you are sourcing directly and don’t want to commit time to face to face meetings.
Remember, this is a two-way pitch because it’s such a competitive market. Most salaries will be similar so you need to make sure you stand out and offer compelling reasons to join your business.
Look for a track-record of success at your deal size.
Aim for two years plus experience selling SaaS solutions that match-up on price and sale cycle and process. If they have sold into similar business lines, even better! This experience could be split between time as an SDR, prior to progressing into a quote carrying role.
Once you get a VP of Sales on board you’ll have more options open to you as there will be systems and processes in place to support a broader range of skills.
Don’t worry about specific domain expertise.
Don’t try to hire someone out of your vertical or niche. Try to find someone great who can sell at your price point and type of sale (transactional vs. solution).
If your product is truly a technical sale, you may need reps that have more technical sales expertise, but even then, products don’t have to be similar. Only the contract values do.
References do matter & get them from customers too if possible.
Sometimes, references are just a “check the box” exercise, but they shouldn’t be. If you don’t get great references, I’d suggest you pass. Getting references from a current employer is unlikely, so consider talking to a customer.