Use This Tool to Accelerate New SaaS Salesperson Ramp Time By 20-50%

I talk about SaaS sales rep onboarding a lot for one simple reason. It’s insanely important. 

Research has found that effective onboarding can increase your win rate by 15% and quota achievement by 14%. Further, leading SaaS companies with A+ onboarding practices experience 39% higher employee engagement, which not only translates into much better performance but a dramatically lower turnover rate. 

But there’s a problem.

Most SaaS Companies Have a Sluggish Ramp Time

One aspect of SaaS onboarding where many companies struggle is with speed. According to data involving 384 SaaS companies, ramp time takes an average of 4.5 months. However, that time is even longer for nearly 20% of companies, where it takes longer than seven months to get their salespeople completely dialed in. 

So, while reps are still learning the ropes, they’re not hitting their full potential, and deals are likely being lost. Fortunately, there’s a tool that can help you accelerate new SaaS salesperson ramp time by 20-50%. Here it is. 

Use Cutting-Edge Sales Onboarding Software

Like nearly every aspect of sales, there’s software available that’s specifically geared toward SaaS salesperson onboarding. Simply put, “sales onboarding software is a tool that helps sales managers onboard team members smoothly, develop courses and programs to train sales reps, and build their product knowledge.” 

By adding it to the mix, you can establish an extremely efficient process and structure that turns even the greenest salesperson into one that knows the ins and outs of your products and can confidently close deals. 

Common Features You’ll Find in Sales Onboarding Software

For starters, these platforms offer real-time access to interactive, personalized learning content. You can, for example, create learning videos, product demo examples, and quizzes that new hires can access 24/7 from anywhere in the world.

Whether they’re working in-house from your office or remotely on the other side of the planet, salespeople can get up-to-speed quickly, soaking up information in a structured, uniform way. 

Most platforms also offer guided selling systems that teach new salespeople how to close more deals faster, along with tips and tricks to maximize their potential. Saleshood is a sales onboarding software that includes sales playbooks, presentations, knowledge sharing, and win stories that show new reps firsthand how to thrive within your company and rapidly evolve their skills. 

And just like learning hubs, guided selling systems can be fully customized and modified over time to evolve along with your salesforce. 

Role-playing practices are another critical part of sales onboarding software and give new reps a framework for practicing their skills for calls, demos, and negotiations. This is huge for helping salespeople feel more comfortable and confident once they’re actually in the thick of things, and they should be ready for whatever is thrown at them. To quantify, reps that properly practice these skills increase their sales by more than 75%, says sales onboarding platform, Lessonly

Finally, you’ll usually find some type of analytics built into this type of software. Sales enablement and readiness platform, Brainshark, for instance, allows you to gauge the effectiveness of your training program as reps enter the field. With their software, you can “visualize the impact of training programs by tracking course data alongside sales KPIs.”

This is super helpful because it offers objective insights on which specific elements of your onboarding program are working well and which need to be tweaked. So, over time, you can get it down to a science.

Offer Ongoing Reinforcement

In an ideal world, you would give new SaaS reps initial training, and they’d be off to the races never needing a second of further instruction. But it just doesn’t work that way. 

“Research shows that most new reps get overwhelmed with information in the first 30 days, and they can forget as much as 80% of sales boot camp training if they do not receive ongoing reinforcement.” That’s why it’s critical to provide ongoing reinforcement until a new salesperson is firmly rooted and firing on all cylinders. 

Fortunately, most sales onboarding software offers continuous learning where salespeople receive consistent updates and assessments to ensure they retain the information and keep evolving. MindTickle is a good example and places a heavy emphasis on reinforced sales skills so the knowledge reps gain sticks. 

Also, note that some platforms feature additional learning, such as micro courses and certifications that are designed to take salespeople from being good to great. So, when you have a new rep that quickly works their way up the ranks and shows a lot of promise, you can help them elevate their skill set even more through this type of training. 

I’ve featured a handful of different sales onboarding software in this post, but for a full rundown, comparison, and information on pricing, I suggest reading this resource from G2

Reducing Your Ramp Time By as Much as Half

There’s no denying how vital proper onboarding is to the success of new SaaS sales reps. Research has found that it significantly increases win rate, boosts quota achievement, creates higher employee engagement, and lowers turnover. The problem, however, is that many SaaS companies are inefficient at the process.

But this is something that can easily be remedied through sales onboarding software. In fact, brands that use it are able to accelerate new SaaS salesperson ramp time by 20-50% on average. That combined with ongoing reinforcement is incredibly potent and can help you get the absolute most from your sales team. 

Speaking of sales teams, are you looking to hire top-tier sales talent, faster? See how HireDNA can help you find the best of the best in your industry using intelligent matching and science-based assessments.

6 Red Flags to Look Out for When Screening Sales Reps

Screening sales reps isn’t easy, and 74% of SaaS companies have said they’ve made a wrong hire at some point. While there’s no magic bullet that ensures you’ll pick the right sales rep every single time, there are some concrete steps you can take to get close. 

One of those is simply knowing which red flags to look out for when screening reps. Here are six of the biggest according to experts. 

1. They Blank When You Ask Company Research-Related Questions

Let’s start from the top. Any candidate worth your attention will take the time to thoroughly research your company. And I’m not talking about the basics on your homepage or LinkedIn profile. A quality salesperson will make the effort to learn about your:

  • Industry
  • Company history
  • Products
  • UVP
  • Mission
  • Philosophy

If they blank when you ask questions relating to company research or can only spout off a few superficial points, it’s a major red flag as this shows that A) they’re just looking for any job they can land, B) they’re lazy, or C) both. 

That’s why I recommend asking a question like, “What can you tell me about my company?,” to gauge their response. 

2. They Have a History of Job Hopping

Job hopping, which is defined as “a pattern of changing companies every year or two on one’s own volition,” is on the rise. While it shouldn’t automatically disqualify a candidate completely, most sales hiring experts suggest avoiding these reps for the simple fact that they pose a turnover risk. 

To quantify what’s considered a normal amount of time to spend at one job, recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found the average tenure of US employees is 4.3 years as a whole and 2.3 years for younger workers aged 25-34. If a candidate’s resume clearly shows they’re rapidly bouncing from one job to another, they’re probably not someone you want to bring on board.

3. They Don’t Listen

Sales has evolved a lot in recent years, with one of the biggest changes being the way reps go about interacting with leads. In the past, those that were most successful often engaged in aggressive, “salesly” tactics that pushed products on leads. But now, those that thrive tend to assume the role of a trusted advisor. In fact, 88% of leads are only willing to buy when they consider the salesperson to be a trusted advisor — not merely a rep. 

And one of the main ways a salesperson assumes this role is by listening. In fact, there’s a really interesting study by Gong that found the ideal talk-to-listen ratio is 43% to 57%

So, if you’re interviewing a candidate who’s constantly budding in and it physically pains them to listen, it’s probably going to create problems if they’re hired. 

4. They Bash Their Ex-Employers

In my opinion, this is one of the biggest red flags for two main reasons. First, it shows an inherent lack of professionalism and is a poor reflection of character. Even if a candidate suffered some grave injustice at the hands of a previous employer in the past, it’s not something that should be discussed in detail during an interview with another company. 

Second, it can potentially put your brand reputation in peril if you hire a “loose cannon” type of personality. If they’re a person that’s quick to badmouth others, they’re practically guaranteed to create friction at some point down the line. 

So, if you ask something along the lines of “What did you dislike about a previous sales job?,” and a candidate launches into a smear campaign, they’re likely someone to avoid. 

5. They’re Low Energy

Every salesperson has their own style, with some naturally being more outgoing than others. And while being introverted as opposed to extroverted hasn’t been found to lower a rep’s potential (some research actually suggests introverts make better reps), having low energy can definitely be an issue. 

This, after all, can translate into less passion and a general lethargy that can reduce their performance. Just think of a rep who seems perpetually bored trying to convince a lead why they should buy your SaaS product or explain how it will positively impact their business. It’s going to create a roadblock for sure.  

This isn’t to say that a candidate needs to be bouncing off the walls with excitement to succeed. But if they’re obviously low energy, they’re probably not going to be an asset to your sales team. 

6. They Don’t Ask You Any Questions

I recently wrote a blog post that talked about how top performing sales reps ask more questions than their underperforming counterparts. To be exact, top performers ask 11-14 questions per call, while underperformers only ask 1-6. 

Given that asking questions is such an integral part of building rapport with leads and matching them with the right SaaS products, most sales recruiting experts consider a candidate not asking you any questions to be a major red flag. It’s not so much the specific questions they ask. It’s more of simply demonstrating an innate curiosity, which suggests they’ll go further when interacting with leads and close more deals. 

Ensuring You Find the Best of the Best Sales Reps

Sometimes it’s just as important to know what not to look for in a sales candidate as it is to know what to look for. The six points I’ve mentioned here are some of the biggest red flags according to sales recruiting experts and can go a long way in improving the overall quality of your talent pool. 

Find out how HireDNA can help you eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes using the #1 sales candidate assessment.  92% of candidates recommended through HireDNA reach the top of the sales force within one year, and companies that use it lower their turnover by an average of 33%. 

How to Manage a SaaS Sales Team That’s 100% Remote

Prior to COVID, 17% of US SaaS sales reps worked from home five or more days per week. After COVID that number more than doubled to 44%

While a portion of salespeople are transitioning back into the physical workplace, managing reps remotely has become the new norm for many SaaS companies. In fact, many now have teams that are 100% remote. 

If this is the position you’re in, here’s how to manage reps successfully, improve communication, and maximize productivity

Start By Choosing the Right Mix of SaaS Sales Software

The number one thing people struggle with when working remotely (along with loneliness) is collaboration/communication at 20%.

And this is understandable. At the end of the day, it’s hard to achieve the same level of collaboration and communication when your team never meets physically. Besides sharing project details and passing along general info, there are a lot of subtleties with tone and body language that you miss out on when managing a remote team. 

But that’s okay. Assembling the right mix of SaaS sales software can cover all aspects of communication and ensure your team stays on the same page. Here are some suggestions:

  • A sales management system – This helps keep teams of all sizes organized and allows you to assign leads, automate workflows, track KPIs, and more. I recommend reading this post from Nutshell for advice on choosing a sales management system. 
  • A video conferencing platform – Products like Zoom and Microsoft Teams offer robust features like one-one-one conversations, group meetings, chat, and webinars and have an incredibly high audio visual quality. 
  • A business communication platform – Slack is the gold standard and lets you interact with your team through both private and public channels.
  • A project management software – Apps like Asana, Trello, and Toggl Plan are perfect for breaking large projects down into manageable chunks and ensuring tasks are consistently completed on time. 

Build a Communication Framework

Another vital aspect of fluid communication is nailing the timing. It’s important to establish some ground rules so there’s a basic schedule and structure in place — one that allows you to stay in close contact with your SaaS sales team but without creating distractions. 

“Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for their teams,” explains The Harvard Business Review. If, for instance, it’s a daily check-in where you’re exchanging notes and debriefing a rep, you might communicate through Zoom at the end of the day. But if it’s something urgent, you could ping a salesperson through Slack to get in touch with them right away. 

“Also, if you can, let your employees know the best way and time to reach you during the workday (e.g., ‘I tend to be more available late in the day for ad hoc phone or video conversations, but if there’s an emergency earlier in the day, send me a text.” This should help keep everyone on the same page and minimize distractions so your team can focus more intently on selling. 

Have an Activity Documentation System in Place

Whenever you’re dealing with a team that’s spread out across different states and even different countries, it’s easy to lose track of who’s done what and when they did it. As a result, critical deadlines may be missed, or multiple salespeople may accidentally complete the same task twice. In short, things can get messy in a hurry. 

To prevent miscommunications, you need to have a detailed activity documentation system that automatically logs when:

  • New leads enter your sales funnel
  • Contact is made
  • Tasks are completed
  • There are changes or updates
  • And so on

Sales CRM and pipeline management software, Pipedrive, for example, tracks lead progress from the moment they first enter a sales funnel to when they ultimately make a purchase. 

Not only does an activity documentation system like this provide a single point of reference, it spares everyone from a lot of manual data entry, allowing them to focus on more pressing tasks. 

Create an On-Demand Training Hub

The Harvard Business Review also mentions that “newly remote workers are often surprised by the added time and effort needed to locate information from coworkers (and sales leaders). Even getting answers to what seem like simple questions can feel like a large obstacle to a worker based at home.” 

That’s the last issue to address, and something that can often be remedied by having an on-demand training hub. 

Say you need to get new hires up-to-speed, have them fill out documents, and learn your product. Or, maybe you need a place for existing SaaS salespeople to brush up on their skills. An on-demand training hub creates a single digital resource where you can provide your entire team with 24/7 access to training to position them for success and ongoing development. 

Here are some examples of content you could include on your training hub:

  • Information on your sales process
  • Software tutorials
  • Buyer personas
  • Webinars and videos
  • Helpful blog posts
  • Sales demo examples 
  • Answers to FAQs

You could even create a forum where your SaaS sales team can hold active discussions and veteran reps can share advice with those who are just learning the ropes. 

Thriving in a New Era

Whether it’s due to COVID or simply because you want to take advantage of the benefits a digital sales team provides, many SaaS companies are making the shift to 100% remote. And while there’s certainly a learning curve when it comes to managing this type of team, it’s something that can be done with the right approach. 

Mainly it boils down to leveraging helpful software, establishing clear rules for communication, diligently documenting activities, and providing reps with adequate training resources. 

Want to find elite SaaS sales talent in your industry? See how HireDNA can help you build a stronger sales team, while eliminating 96% of hiring mistakes. 

Average SaaS Salespeople Ask Leads 6 or Less Questions. Top Performers Ask 11-14: Why Discovery Call Questions Are Essential

In a previous post, I mentioned that 88% of today’s leads are only willing to buy when they see the salesperson as a trusted advisor. I also pointed out that hyper-aggressive sales tactics often turn leads off and can be potential deal-breakers. 

One of the best ways to assume the role of trusted advisor is for SaaS salespeople to ask plenty of questions during the discovery call. And this number is higher than you may think. 

Here’s what you need to know to equip your reps for success. 

Top Performers Ask 11-14 Discovery Call Questions

Revenue intelligence software,, has built an amazing reputation for their original research. They’ve conducted a ton of in-depth studies to pinpoint the exact reasons why salespeople succeed or fail. 

One particular study I found fascinating was this one on discovery calls

“We analyzed 519,000 recorded discovery calls with AI to understand what drives successful outcomes,” explains Chris Orlob, director of sales at “These discovery calls were recorded on web conferencing platforms with, transcribed, and analyzed with unsupervised machine learning to identify the discovery call questions and techniques that drive revenue.”

In this study, they examined the number of target questions SaaS salespeople aimed for per discovery call and found:

  • Reps that only asked 1-6 discovery call questions had a 46% success rate (the lowest by far)
  • Reps that asked 7-10 questions had a 66% success rate
  • Reps that asked 15-18 questions had a 67% success rate

But here’s the kicker. Reps that asked 11-14 discovery call questions had a 74% success rate — considerably higher than the other reps that asked fewer or more questions. This graph illustrates this trend perfectly. 

Finding the Sweet Spot

According to this study, the trick is to ask enough questions so SaaS salespeople can figure out a lead’s precise pain points, needs, goals, and so on. This is what allows reps to not only optimize their offerings so they’re perfectly tailored to each lead, but also helps them build trust and rapport along the way. But at the same time, SaaS salespeople don’t want to ask too many questions because that can create friction as well. 

Looking at this data, it’s clear that 11-14 questions is the sweet spot. 

“Less than that and your discovery call may not be robust enough,” writes Orlob. “More than that, and it will likely start to feel like an interrogation, rather than a natural conversation.”

Asking the Right Discovery Call Questions

But there’s something very important I need to point out. Having successful discovery calls isn’t just about asking 11-14 questions. It’s about SaaS salespeople asking the right questions. 

Or as Orlob puts it, “Asking a generic line of questioning is likely to get you kicked in the teeth. Your best bet for discovery call success is asking questions about key business problems or goals the customer is trying to solve.”

Specificity is critical here. And as I mentioned earlier, the questions a rep asks need to focus on a lead’s unique needs, pain points, challenges, and goals. 

Here are some examples of questions one of our reps might ask at HireDNA when attempting to identify the needs of a lead who needs help with their technology sales recruiting:

  • What are some areas you’re currently struggling at with your recruiting?
  • What are some of the core competencies you look at when hiring reps?
  • What percentage of reps currently hit their sales quota? What number would you like to be at?
  • What’s your current salesperson retention rate? How much higher would you like that to be?

Notice how all of these questions are designed to instantly get the ball rolling so we can identify key business problems/goals and gain a solid understanding of the lead. This brings me to my final point. 

Getting Leads Talking

There’s one final piece of the puzzle I need to mention. You want your reps to get leads talking and encourage them to give long responses — not merely yes or no answers. Why?

Getting leads to talk interrupted for a long period correlates to a thorough response. That way SaaS salespeople can really wrap their head around the situation, which ultimately means they can optimize their offerings and increase their chances of closing the deal. 

Orlob mentions some specific ways to phrase questions to encourage a long response:

  • “Can you help me understand…”
  • “Can you walk me through…”
  • “Talk to me about…”

Let’s Recap

These days leads aren’t receptive to pushy, aggressive sales tactics. Rather, they prefer dealing with reps that take the role of a trusted advisor and base their offerings on the lead’s unique needs, pain points, and goals. 

In other words, SaaS salespeople need to be adept at creating meaningful dialogue, which is illustrated by this graph that highlights the question frequency used by top performers versus average ones. 

One of the best ways to do this is by asking the right number of questions during discovery calls — 11-14 to be exact, as this is considered the sweet spot and what yields the highest success rate. 

Besides hitting the right number of questions, reps also need to ask the right questions involving key business problems or goals the lead is trying to solve and using phrases to get leads talking. By following this formula, it helps reps fire on cylinders, allowing them to quickly establish trust, figure out what solutions to offer, and ultimately convert. 

Looking to assemble a team of ultra talented SaaS salespeople? Find out how HireDNA can help you do this by using cutting-edge technology to source top talent using intelligent matching and science-based assessments. HireDNA can cut your hiring time in half and eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes. 

Track the Most Important Aspects of Your SaaS Sales Team’s Performance with These Essential KPIs

Data is power in the SaaS sales world. It’s really that simple. 

“High performing sales teams (the top 24% of more than 2,900 sales professionals surveyed) are 1.5x more likely to base forecasts on data-driven insights,” explains Tiffani Bova of Salesforce. On the other hand, low performing sales teams are 1.7x more likely to base their decisions on intuition. 

To extract your SaaS sales team’s full potential and truly fire on all cylinders, you’ll want to be meticulous about tracking their performance. Here are the most essential KPIs to pay attention to. 

Average Lead Response Time

I think one of the most overlooked, yet vitally important metrics, is average lead response time. 

Here’s why.

78% of customers buy from the first SaaS company that reaches out to them. 

It’s not rocket science. The first vendor that initiates contact is the first company a lead seriously considers. They learn about the brand’s products, offerings, UVP, and so on, giving the company a chance to create valuable trust and rapport with the lead before anyone else does. 

Look at how lead conversion rates increase with the less amount of time that elapses before the first outreach attempt. 

Calling within an hour improves conversions by 36%, which is okay. 

But look what happens when you call within 30 minutes. It jumps to 62%. Call within 3 minutes, it climbs to 98%. Call within 2 minutes, and it’s 160%. 

And here’s the kicker. Call within 1 minute, and it’s a face melting 391%! 

This straight up shows the importance of A) knowing your sales team’s average lead response time and B) doing everything you can to increase it. For advice on how to do this, check out this previous post I wrote on how you can easily beat 55% of your competitors by improving your lead response time. 

Lead to Customer Conversion Rate

The SaaS customer journey can be broken down into two main phases. There’s the visitor to lead phase, which your marketing team is primarily responsible for. And there’s the lead to customer phase, which falls into the hands of your sales team. 

It’s the latter that we’re interested in here. One of the absolute most important metrics is what percentage of leads your SaaS sales team converts into customers. 

This is a reflection of:

  • How good they are at qualifying leads
  • The quality level of core sales activities like follow-up emails and phone calls
  • How well they give demos
  • Their ability to build trust and rapport
  • How good they are at moving leads efficiently through the sales funnel

To calculate lead to customer conversion rate, divide your number of conversions by your total number of leads and multiply that number by 100. If, for example, you had 100 leads and 5 ended up buying, your lead to customer conversion rate would be 5%. 

By the way, if you’re wondering, the typical SaaS conversion rate for most companies ranges from 3-5%, while top performing teams reach around 8%. 

Average Sales Cycle Length

Next, there’s how long it takes your SaaS sales team to close a deal. Needless to say, the quicker they’re able to move someone from being a lead to a paying customer, the better. Not only does this positively impact overall revenue, it means your reps can move onto other leads, and in turn, make ever more sales. 

So, you’ll want to monitor how long it takes, on average, for someone to go from being a lead to buying your product — a KPI known as average sales cycle length. 

Note that the average sales cycle length gets longer with the pricier a SaaS product is. According to SaaS Metrics, benchmarks break down like this:

  • Deals ~$2,000 typically close within 14 days
  • Deals ~$5,000 close within 30 days
  • Deals ~$25,000 close within 90 days

Monthly Recurring Revenue

At first glance, monthly recurring revenue (MRR) may not seem all that relevant to a SaaS sales team’s performance. After all, MRR doesn’t kick in until after customers hang around a while. 

But it’s an extremely vital metric for the simple fact that it shows what your sales team’s long-term progress looks like. If there’s a noticeable increase in your MRR, for example, it shows your reps are nailing it and reaching or exceeding their quotas. Otherwise, if your MRR flatlines or declines, it’s tangible proof that adjustments need to be made. 

In terms of factors that contribute to MRR, some of the biggest are your number of new customers and how adept your reps are at upselling and cross-selling. Along with that, it can provide insight on how strong their relationship-building skills are because the churn rate and number of referrals contribute to MRR as well. 

And this metric is super easy to calculate. Just multiply your total number of active customers by the average amount billed. 

Note that most experts consider 10% month-over-month MRR to be strong. But if you can hit 15-20% for six months or longer, then you can pretty much bet that you’ve got a winning sales process on your hands. 

Taking Your SaaS Sales Team’s Performance to the Next Level

Like I said earlier, top tier SaaS sales teams rely on data-driven insights to continually improve and refine their strategies. Low performing sales teams rely on a hunch. 

With a wealth of data available, it’s possible to track virtually every aspect of your team’s performance. The specific KPIs I suggest focusing on are:

  • Average lead response time
  • Lead to customer conversion rate
  • Average sales cycle length
  • Monthly recurring revenue

This should give you a bird’s eye view of what their current performance is like and help you identify precise areas for improvement so everyone can collectively level up. 

Looking to recruit the best of the best SaaS salespeople in your industry? Learn how HireDNA can help you build a stronger sales team using a verified network of sales recruitment experts, along with science-based assessments and intelligent matching. 

How to Build a Winning Saas Sales Team Step-By-Step

Seldom does a winning SaaS sales team come together on its own. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that half of high-performing companies had sales processes that were “closely monitored, strictly enforced, or automated.” On other hand, 48% of underperforming companies had sales structures that were either nonexistent or informal. 

One of, if not the most important aspects of organizing sales processes is having a system in place for building your sales team. Not only does this increase your chances of hiring top tier talent that aligns with your company’s mission, it provides a framework that maximizes their productivity and ultimately boosts profitability. And in many cases, this can also contribute to less turnover so you can keep your true rockstars around for longer. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to build a winning SaaS sales team.

Step 1 – Prioritize SaaS Sales Roles

In most cases, SaaS companies gradually scale up over time. If you’re a newer startup, you may not have the resources (or the current demand) for a massive team of inside sales reps, sales development reps, account executives, and so on. Therefore, you need to be selective about the specific positions you hire for initially and focus on only the most essential. 

Say, for example, you’re just getting the ball rolling. You’d probably want to hire a single account executive and a handful of sales development reps and inside sales reps. Then, as you grow, you could expand as needed.

Step 2 – Pinpoint Critical Skills and Characteristics 

It’s vital that you’re hyper-specific with what you’re looking for in your SaaS sales team members. Simply taking the “we’re looking for a great sales rep” approach is only going to lead to ambiguity that marginalizes your impact. That’s why you’ll want to pinpoint a distinct set of hard and soft skills to accurately predict each team member’s aptitude to ensure they’re an ideal fit for your company. 

For instance, Sales Hacker compiled a list of over 30 sales skills that must be mastered to become a top performer, which is a good starting point. Here are the top nine from their list. 

And you can use a technology sales recruiting platform like HireDNA to screen and assess candidates based on core selling skills and capabilities to find the best of the best. 

This is an excellent way to quantify traits like having the will to sell and being coachable that would otherwise be difficult. And 92% of recommended candidates become top performers on their sales team within a year. 

Step 3 – Use Proven Recruiting Strategies

Many SaaS recruiters look in the wrong places to find salespeople. Traditional job boards and staffing agencies, for example, may seem like safe bets.  But they often lead to underwhelming results for the simple reason that top performers aren’t actively looking for jobs. However, many are open to offers as long as they check off the right boxes. 

So, how do you find these heavy hitters? It’s actually quite simple. Use recruiting software. 

A recent study found that more than 98% of Fortune 500 companies currently use it, and 68% of recruiting professionals say it’s the number one way “to improve recruiting performance over the next five years.”

You can get full details on why recruiting software is such a game changer in this post I wrote

Step 4 – Onboard with Ruthless Efficiency

The quicker you get new SaaS sales team members acclimated and up-to-speed, the quicker you can extract their full potential. But here’s what’s crazy. 

88% of organizations don’t onboard well.”

So, if you take measures to onboard efficiently, this essentially puts your company in the top 12%, enabling you to get the absolute most from your SaaS sales team. This is another topic I’ve covered in detail in a recent blog post that you can read about here

And here are the key steps involved with great onboarding:

  • Create a single orientation resource to give new hires a bird’s eye view of their position
  • Provide comprehensive training on the software they’ll be selling
  • Offer training on the software they’ll be using (e.g. your CRM and lead scoring platform)
  • Break down buyer personas
  • Pinpoint your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses

When it comes specifically to SaaS sales reps, I also suggest having them run through a mock demo so you can critique it, as this helps work out the kinks in a hurry. 

Step 5 – Develop a Legit Retention Plan

“The average turnover cost per sales rep is $97,690 when you add up recruiting costs, training costs, and lost sales,” according to a DePaul University study. Not to mention, high turnover is incredibly disruptive to everyday operations and diminishes synergy within your sales team. 

So, the final step is to create an actionable game plan to keep your team members around for as long as possible. Here are some ideas:

  • Start by offering a competitive salary (89% of salespeople leave due to insufficient compensation)
  • Help sales leaders be their best (you can find leadership building tips here)
  • Provide your team with modern sales tools like CRM and lead scoring software to make their lives easier
  • Give top performers advancement opportunities 
  • Consider large retention bonuses at strategic inteverals (e.g. after 1, 2, 4, and 5 years)
  • Promote from within whenever possible
  • Be quick to celebrate team wins 

Putting the Pieces Together

At the end of the day, your SaaS company is only as good as your sales team. Without the right combination of professionals that are cohesive, collaborative, and “all in,” it’s hard to make any real progress. And as I pointed out earlier, there’s a clear correlation between organizing and systemizing this process and high performance. 

See how HireDNA can dramatically improve the recruiting aspect of your SaaS sales team building and eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes. Get your demo today

HireDNA Named as Washington, DC’s Top SaaS Sales Recruiting Firm

As easy as it may seem on paper, recruitment isn’t an easy process. Here at HireDNA, we understand the importance of recruiting the right SaaS sales talent for your needs. Our team provides a done-for-you talent sourcing and recruiting that uses science to deliver high-quality, pre-vetted sales candidates.

It is a great honor for us to announce that we are a back-to-back Clutch award recipient. Last year, we were hailed as one of the top-performing recruiters. Now, we have the honor to hold that title once again. This award was based on the client testimonials published on our Clutch profile as well as our market presence.

“We are thrilled to have been chosen as one of the leading sales recruiting and training companies in Washington, DC by Clutch!” 

— Anwar Allen, CEO of

Clutch is a rapidly growing startup agency also based here in Washington, DC. Their platform publishes verified reviews and in-depth market research relating to B2B companies from the IT, marketing, developer, production, and financial services industries. Every year, Clutch holds a highly-coveted awards cycle to celebrate the top-performing agencies from the aforementioned industries.

This award is dedicated to our clients who have instilled their trust in us. We genuinely appreciate their support and collaboration; we are proud that our engagements are blossoming into such amazing relationships.

Our team is incredibly elated to be a five-star agency on Clutch. We treasure the feedback given by our clients to Clutch.

“The behavioral surveys were unique and demonstrated a strong understanding of our requirements. Their grasp of the technical sales industry was extremely useful. They were great at listening to our needs and setting up strategies that aligned with our goals.” 

— President, Custom Software Development Company

“They ask a tremendous amount of questions about the business, its leadership, and the role so that they have a clear and concise message with which to bring in candidates. The end result of that is that I don’t receive nearly as many candidates who are not a waste of our time and resources.” 

— Director of Sales & Marketing, Environmental Systems Corp.

Interested in working with a world-class recruiting team? Send us a message and we’ll get back to you immediately.

4 Ways to Recruit SaaS Sales Talent with Less Effort

Sales recruiting is an essential practice — one that’s vital to procuring the right talent to grow your Saas business. It’s also extremely time-consuming. 

On average, it takes 23.7 days to fill a position. And most recruiters lose roughly 14 hours per week on tedious, manual tasks like placing job ads, reviewing resumes, candidate outreach, and sourcing. 

But we’re at a point where this process can be dramatically simplified and streamlined through automation. 

What Exactly is SaaS Sales Recruiting Automation?

Simply put, it’s any strategy that automates repetitive, manual tasks, which in turn, allows your team to focus on other key aspects of the recruiting process. It offers several benefits, including:

  • More productivity
  • Less stress
  • A shorter average time to hire
  • A more qualified talent pool

Besides that, it gives you access to powerful analytics which provide insights on which techniques are working and why. So, not only does it allow you to find high-level SaaS salespeople quicker and easier, it can also be instrumental in refining your recruiting process over time. 

And with technology like AI and machine learning becoming more and more sophisticated every day, sales recruiting automation is only going to improve. Here are four specific ways you can automate software sales recruiting. 

1. Create Automated Job Board Ads

Online job boards continue to be one of the main channels candidates frequent to search for new jobs, with 60% of people using them. Rather than manually writing ads for job boards like you had to do in the past, you can now use software to do this quickly and at scale. 

With a platform like Propellum, for instance, you can select delivery times where you choose exactly when a job is placed and how long it will run for. It also has built-in quality checks to ensure your job ads always meet your standards before they’re placed. So, if job boards are your bread and butter, this can be a huge time-saver. 

2. Effortlessly Find Pre-Screened, Qualified Candidates

One of the main areas where many sales recruiters struggle is simply finding legit talent. “55% of the people making their living in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful.” And even experienced sales reps fail to hit their mark 80% of the time

It’s a real challenge. 

But sales recruiting software like HireDNA automates much of the process and effectively filters through the candidate pool to find the best of the best. It connects with a verified network of sales recruitment experts, with each having in-depth knowledge of the local talent pool to generate top tier candidates. 

Then, it uses intelligent matches to analyze candidates based on 20 key data points to narrow it down to those that perfectly meet the criteria you’re looking for. It also assesses candidates based on 21 core selling competencies, such as desire, motivation, and coachability.

So when it’s all said and done, you’re left a small list of top notch salespeople, with 92% of recommended candidates reaching the top of their sales team within a year. 

3. Automatically Verify Candidate Information 

Having to manually comb through information to verify a candidate can be incredibly meticulous. Without an efficient framework in place, you can easily waste hours. Fortunately, there are cutting-edge solutions that can dramatically streamline this process. 

An applicant tracking system (ATS), for example, can “help recruiters reduce the time spent reading resumes and screening potential applicants by collecting, sorting, and organizing applicant resumes,” explains business software review site G2. “They store applicant information in a centralized system of record so candidate information can be retained and talent pools developed.”

Another option is to use a platform like Breezy to auto-verify references. The references a candidate lists receive a series of questions like:

  • How long they’ve known the candidate
  • How long the candidate worked for them
  • What the candidate’s responsibilities were
  • Areas in which they feel the candidate could grow in their career

That way you don’t have to sift through everything manually and can rest assured that whoever you give an offer to has the qualifications they say they do. 

4. Automatically Schedule Interviews

Here’s the scenario. You’ve narrowed your candidates down to just a few of the most promising. Now you need to schedule interviews, which requires its own set of logistics, including finding open slots in your calendar and dealing with back-and-forthing through email or phone. 

Without some type of system in place, this aspect of software sales recruiting can eat away at your workweek. 

But this too is now something you can largely automate with interview scheduling software. One particular platform worth noting is GoodTime, which allows candidates to self-schedule their interviews based on times your hiring team is available. GoodTime automatically syncs up their availability so you can get interviews set up with zero drama. 

It also integrates with your ATS so you have quick access to a live database, which means all of the data you need is right at your fingertips. That way you spend less time juggling calendars and more time focusing on finding the perfect fit for your company. Not only does this minimize your team’s stress and ensure recruiters are never overbooked, it also creates an amazing candidate experience. 

Taking the Friction Out of Recruiting SaaS Sales Talent

AI and machine learning have made great strides in recent years, and it’s now possible to automate most aspects of the software sales recruiting process. Whether it’s creating automated job boards ads, pre-screening candidates, verifying their information, or automatically interview scheduling, there’s usually a platform that can handle it. 

And research has found that using automated sales recruiting software helps companies save about 14 hours per week, which can make a huge impact. 

For more on how to hire better sales talent, faster using data-driven technology, check out HireDNA. It can help you cut your hiring time in half, while eliminating 96% of mistakes. 

Tips to Cut New Sales Rep Ramp Time by 50%

How Long Does it Take the Average Sales Rep to Reach Their Maximum Potential?

Sales rep development can be both costly and time-consuming. Training alone costs an average of nearly $1,900 per salesperson for companies with less than 500 employees. 

And when you factor in the time spent recruiting, onboarding, and ongoing development, it’s clear that getting a new sales rep up to speed can be quite onerous. So, a common question many companies have is, “How long does it take the average sales rep to reach their maximum potential?”

Let’s find out by synthesizing the findings from a few different studies. 

Looking to the Data

One study by independent research firm, CSO Insights, found that it takes a minimum of seven months for salespeople to reach full productivity. Of the businesses surveyed, 61% said it takes at least this long for investments they make in reps to pay off. 

A second study by the Sales Management Association (SMA) found that it takes a bit longer at just over 11 months for a new sales rep to become fully productive. 

And a third study from sales training and consulting firm, RAIN Group, found that it’s even longer and takes more like 15 months. Although it takes around 9 months for a new sales rep to become “competent to perform,” it takes well over a year before they hit their full stride. 

Ask different experts and you’ll get different answers, but after crunching the numbers, we can surmise that it takes around 11 months or so for the average sales rep to reach their maximum potential. 

11 Months? That’s a While!

I was personally a little surprised that it takes this long, and I’m sure many other companies feel the same. But it makes sense when you consider all of the steps a new salesperson has to go through to get in the groove. 

They have to:

  • Not only learn your industry and product but eventually master it
  • Understand the greater context of how your product fits in with the needs of prospects
  • Learn your brand’s core values and philosophy
  • Master the product demo
  • Build initial rapport with your customers
  • Nurture relationships
  • And so on

When you unpack everything, it’s easy to see why it takes nearly a year for the average sales rep to reach their full potential. 

How to Accelerate Sales Rep Development

So, what can you do to hasten the process and get a salesperson firing on all cylinders more quickly? 

Mike Schultz, president of RAIN Group, boils it down to focusing on two main things — strengthening your onboarding and sales enablement. 

“With a strong onboarding and sales enablement process, this timeframe can be shortened considerably,” Schultz writes. “We’ve seen ramp-up time cut by greater than 50% when companies hone in on improving in this area, increasing seller effectiveness, and correlating turnover of sellers for whom getting up to speed was taking too long.”

In terms of specific actions, you’ll want to first identify the skills that are most essential to your sales team’s success and make those focal points during onboarding and continually reinforce them during the subsequent phases of a rep’s development. Schultz also suggests systematically teaching additional skills as a rep becomes more comfortable in their position. This allows you to effectively distill foundational knowledge and gradually build upon it over time. 

Finally, Schultz emphasizes the importance of holding sales reps accountable when using those skills. One of the best ways to do this is to use tangible metrics such as a leaderboard like this that shows performance.

This creates a high level of transparency, while at the same time creating some friendly competition — something many reps thrive on. In fact, research found that 55% of salespeople enjoy a competitive environment. 

“A well-built curriculum not only shortens ramp-up time,” Schultz says, “but also transforms sellers into top performers.”

Besides developing a strong onboarding and sales enablement process, there’s one last thing I’d like to suggest, which I’ve personally had a lot of success with. And that’s hiring sales candidates with amazing selling skills over those who simply possess a wealth of industry knowledge. 

From my experience, I’ve found that most people can be trained on products, but very few people have naturally outstanding sales talent. Unfortunately, many companies hinder the growth of their sales team because they zero in solely on finding candidates with X years of industry knowledge. 

Like I said in a previous post, as long as someone knows how to sell and will sell, their skills are usually transferable, and they’re likely to thrive in less time than it would take if you have to teach someone to sell from scratch. 

So, this is definitely something to keep in mind. 

Building a Framework to Help Sales Reps Succeed

Although the findings vary somewhat from study to study, research suggests that it takes most sales reps somewhere around 11 months to really get going. And that’s longer than what I think most sales leaders would prefer. 

That’s why it’s important to consciously look for ways to expedite that process — something that can usually be done through a strong onboarding and sales enablement process. That alone has the potential to cut salesperson development time in half. 

Also, don’t get so fixated on industry knowledge that you pass up A+ salespeople with transferable experience. These types of reps should be able to climb the ranks faster and have a much higher ceiling than their counterparts who simply possess a ton of industry knowledge but are only mediocre at selling. 

sales rep ramp time

A great way to do that and find the best of the best is by using a hiring tool like HireDNA. It uses science-based assessments based on 21 core selling competencies and intelligent matching that analyzes 20 key data points to help you filter through the candidate pool and find high-level salespeople, while saving you a ton of time.

The Dos and Don’ts of Headhunting Next Level Sales Reps

The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, applies to many aspects of business, including sales rep performance. Under this principle, roughly 80% of salespeople will account for 20% of sales, and the other 20% of salespeople will account for 80% of sales. 

And it’s the latter — the elite, top performers — you want to focus on hiring. One of best ways to find these next level sales reps is with “headhunting” where you proactively target a handful of hyper-qualified individuals who you believe would be major assets to your company. 

Here’s an overview of how headhunting works and actionable tips on how to implement it into your hiring process. 

What’s the Difference Between Regular Recruiting and Headhunting?

“Recruiters advertise jobs and wait to be contacted by potential candidates, or approach a wide network of potential candidates,” explains WikiJob. “Headhunters approach a select few candidates, and only the ones that fit the brief.” 

These are highly skilled sales reps, the exclusive candidates that, if hired, could be potential game-changers for your company. As you might imagine, these salespeople are in high demand and often already employed, which means they have a ton of leverage. 

Therefore, you need to go after them, tailoring your approach to capture their attention and effectively differentiating your brand from the competition. 

What to Do When Headhunting Sales Reps

First, you need to be ultra specific when narrowing down the candidates you want to reach out to. By nature, headhunting goes after the best of the best, so it’s essential that you only contact individuals that meet the right criteria. 

This graphic from SOCO Sales Training serves as a good starting point for traits to look for. 

Also, note that possessing amazing selling skills that are transferable to the position is often better than going after reps with a lot of industry/product experience — something I discussed in detail in this blog post

Next, it’s essential to give a salesperson enough incentive to realistically entertain your offer. And if they’re currently employed, it needs to clear that joining your company would be a legitimate “come up.” Better pay, more benefits, clear cut advancement opportunities, and an amazing company culture are all potential areas to focus on. 

To better understand the reasons why elite sales reps are attracted to new companies, check out this graph from PayScale

Finally, find the right balance between persistence and pushiness. Fittingly, headhunting elite sales reps is a lot like selling where you’ll naturally encounter rejection. 

Therefore, you’ll want to follow-up with these candidates to stay on their radar and remind them of the benefits of joining your team. However, you don’t want to be a pest because that’s going to reflect poorly on your company culture. 

What Not to Do When Headhunting Sales Reps

I think one of the biggest mistakes businesses make when headhunting is making their offer all about the money. Is earning a handsome salary — and for sales reps that are already employed a larger salary — important? 

Sure. Increased pay is the third biggest thing that attracts salespeople to a new organization. 

But it’s not the only thing to focus on. Over a quarter of people (27%) seek the opportunity to do more meaningful work, and 16% seek increased responsibilities — both of which are more important than money. So, you never just want to make it a cash grab. 

Rather, you should look at the big picture and articulate the full range of benefits to make the position more desirable. 

Something else to avoid is reaching out to sales candidates prematurely without doing adequate research on their skills and background. Oftentimes, someone looks great initially and seems to check all of the boxes. Maybe, for instance, they’ve worked for a Fortune 500 company and have over 10 years of experience in your industry. 

But when you dig a little deeper, there are chinks in their armor. Perhaps they’re hyper-aggressive and lack listening skills, or they’re so confident in their skills that they’re unwilling to accept feedback. Or maybe, they have a history of jumping ship and lack loyalty. 

The specifics can vary, but you’ll want to take a close-up look at what they’re like before investing the time and resources into acquiring them. Digging through their LinkedIn account is usually a good place to start.

Besides that, you’ll want to avoid approaching any candidates that have non-compete agreements in place with their current employer. “Because no-poaching agreements eliminate competition, the government generally considers them to violate anti-trust laws,” writes Alison Doyle of The Balance Careers

If you violate one of these agreements, even unknowingly, it can potentially lead to costly litigation. While this won’t be an issue if you’re headhunting someone who isn’t currently employed, it’s definitely something to be aware of if you’re going after a sales rep who is. 

Hiring the Best of the Best

You can’t expect A+ salespeople to come to you. Often, you need to go to them. 

That’s why taking a conventional recruiting approach where you simply put up a job ad can lead to subpar results. At the end of the day, the true rockstars don’t usually need to spend time perusing job boards and applying to positions. They’ve got enough talent that they can pick and choose the companies they want to work for. 

Headhunting, when done correctly, creates a framework that allows you to get in touch with the best of the best and provide them with the right incentive to choose your business over your competitors.  

To learn more about sourcing top talent while filling open positions faster, check out HireDNA. It’s a platform that utilizes cutting-edge technology like science-based assessments and intelligent matching to find ultra qualified sales candidates to fill your talent pipeline. 

HireDNA has been proven to lower hiring mistakes by 96%, and 92% of candidates found through it go on to reach the top half of the salesforce within a year.