Focus on these three key criteria to qualify your candidates and minimise your risk.
#1 — Would YOU buy from this sales person?
To you, the founder/ CEO the early leads are precious. If you wouldn’t buy from this sales person it will never work. You will never trust them enough for it to work. You will never be able to completely let those leads go and the business won’t progress.
Working with the world’s best closer that you wouldn’t buy from just won’t work. Look for a good BDM, that you trust, that you’d buy from, with at least 18+ months of SaaS experience. They will do better as they will have your trust.
You’ll just need to support the process, facilitate and let them close at a higher, faster rate than you are capable of on your own. Down the line, when it’s BDM 3 or 300 it’s not important if you like them.
It’s a different story with the first hires and it requires a great deal of trust.
#2 — Do they have at least 18-24 months experience selling SaaS products successfully, carrying a quota?
You simply cannot hire reps that don’t have at least some quota-carrying SaaS experience at this stage. If they don’t know how to sell SaaS products, it’s too high risk. Down the line, when you have a sustainable business and maybe a VP of Sales it’s OK to take some risks on great closers without the SaaS experience, but not at this stage.
Don’t be tempted!
And don’t take a chance on an SDR with SaaS, stepping-up. They must have been responsible for a quota and can demonstrate closing ability.
#3 – Do not hire someone just because they have worked at Salesforce or Facebook in “sales”.
Not to undermine the ability of sales people in large, recognised tech businesses. They will no doubt be highly capable, but there is a huge difference between being able to perform in a big brand with lots of support vs. being a start-up employee.
Yes, it might look and feel great being able to attract someone from a big name, but can they sell without the big name/company behind them?
Avoiding these three steps is high risk. Chances are, they will fail and you’ll find yourself back to square one with a whole lot of time and money wasted.