90% of SaaS Companies Look for Salespeople in the Wrong Places: Here’s Where You Should Be Looking

Published on Mar 5, 2021

What are some of the first places that come to mind for SaaS companies when recruiting sales reps?

For most, it’s conventional resources like job boards, LinkedIn, staffing agencies, and so on. That’s where 90% of SaaS companies look, says Steli Efti, CEO of sales CRM, 

But, as he points out, these are often the wrong places and tend to yield underwhelming results. 

Here’s why. 

A+ Salespeople Seldom Have to Look for Work

“You know who the only salespeople are who are actively looking for sales jobs?,” asks Efti. “Bad salespeople. The good ones are too good at selling to be out of work.”

I think he summarizes it perfectly with this line and illustrates the inherent problem of using conventional resources for recruiting. Although there can certainly be situations where even the best of the best SaaS salespeople find themselves out of work on occasion (the fallout from COVID is a great example), he makes an excellent point. In most cases, the truly elite reps are already employed. So, if you slap up an ad on a job board, you can’t expect miracles. 

It should also be noted that the reps that are hyper-qualified are often headhunted because of their insane selling abilities. Therefore, you’re probably not going to see them applying for a sales position through a job board. And you’re almost certainly not going to see them going through a staffing agency. They simply don’t need to because SaaS companies come to them. 

Are there ever exceptions? Sure. But generally speaking, high caliber salespeople are in enough demand that they don’t need to spend time job hunting. 

Another Area Where Many SaaS Recruiters Go Wrong

Besides taking traditional recruiting approaches like I just mentioned, another common mistake I see many SaaS sales recruiters make is obsessing over industry/product experience rather than actual selling skills. This is something I talked about in-depth in a previous post, but let me give you the highlights. 

There’s a tendency where many saas sales recruiters fixate on finding sales candidates with several years of experience but aren’t necessarily heavy hitters in terms of their sales talent. According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 64.5% of recruiters prefer to hire sales reps with relevant work experience. 

This is a stat that’s understandable, but having this mindset can sometimes end up sabotaging a SaaS sales recruiter’s efforts if they pass up potential rockstars because they’re concentrating so intensely on industry/product experience rather than core selling skills. 

My point here is that you’re almost always better off looking for top-tier salespeople with transferable skills rather than mediocre salespeople with years of industry/product experience. After all, the former can always learn your industry/product, but the latter will likely plateau because they simply don’t possess the intrinsic sales DNA.

So this is something else to keep in mind when determining your hiring approach and filtering through candidates. 

Where You Should Be Looking

If a conventional approach is likely to only have a marginal impact, what exactly is the approach you should be taking with your SaaS sales recruiting?

“The first place to look for these people is always your own network: friends, acquaintances, fellow founders whose startup just failed or is on a path of failure, family members,” explains Efti. “Always ask if they know somebody who might be a good fit.” 

Rather than turning to the usual suspects like job boards, LinkedIn, and staffing agencies, tapping into your own network can often put you in touch with homerun salespeople that could be massive assets to your team. 

That’s a good starting point. 

The other main, and often best route to take is using a technology sales recruiting platform like HireDNA. Designed specifically for SaaS companies, HireDNA sources top talent from a verified national network to generate next-level candidates. 

It uses intelligent matching that analyzes 21 key data points to help you pinpoint the optimal candidates based on the role criteria you’re looking to fill. It also uses science-based assessments built on 21 core selling competencies like motivation, relationship-building, and the ability to handle rejection in order to predict success. 

That way you not only find active candidates who are looking for sales jobs, but also passive candidates that match your criteria. This in turn, can put top talent on your radar that you wouldn’t otherwise know about if you were using conventional resources. And as we just discussed, this tends to make for the best candidate pool. 

Then, HireDNA delivers the most qualified candidates to your inbox for feedback and approval. From there you can browse through the list and pick the ones that are the best fit and start scheduling interviews. It’s very straightforward. 

Finding SaaS Salespeople in the Right Places

There’s no lack of sales reps out there. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are about 14.3 million in the US alone. So, it’s not hard to find them, and putting in a traditional job ad can easily bring in hundreds of applicants. 

Finding high-level performers, however, is another story. As sales expert, Steli Efti, pointed out, your chances of finding these professionals are low if you take a conventional approach. The problem is that this is exactly what 90% of SaaS companies do. 

But that’s good news for you. Switching up your approach and focusing on your network or a technology sales recruiting platform like HireDNA can supply you with all the A+ talent you need to assemble a winning team. This, in turn, can give you a huge advantage over most competitors that are still using stale, outdated SaaS recruiting techniques. 

See firsthand how HireDNA can help you find top sales talent. Request a demo now. 

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