Evaluating Cultural Fit in SaaS Sales Recruiting: Beyond the Resume

Skillset, industry experience, a proven track record, communication. These are some of the main factors SaaS sales recruiters look at when assessing candidates. And they’re all incredibly important. But there’s another vital factor that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves — cultural fit.

What is Cultural Fit?

This refers to how well a SaaS sales candidate fits in with your team from a cultural standpoint and can include sharing the same goals, values, attitudes, and working style. When someone is a good cultural fit it increases the chances of them meshing well with your existing team for better collaboration and overall harmony within your organization.

Conversely, if someone isn’t a good cultural fit it’s like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. If their goals, values, attitudes, etc., don’t align with the rest of your teams, there’s almost guaranteed to be friction right from the start.

Here are a few stats that shed light on the importance of cultural fit.

While choosing someone who’s a good cultural fit doesn’t guarantee success, it’s extremely important for retention and profitability. In fact, “The result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50-60% of the person’s annual salary,” Forbes reports. When this happens at scale it can quickly erode your overall foundation.

With that said, here’s a straightforward way to evaluate cultural fit in SaaS sales recruiting to drastically increase your odds of making the right hire.

Write a Job Description That Reflects Your Company’s Culture

Technically, the first step is to define your company culture. But assuming you already know that, the first thing to do is ensure any job description you write clearly reflects what you’re looking for in a salesperson in terms of culture.

For instance, you may want to mention what your specific values are, what your day-to-day work environment is like, and what’s important for being successful in a role. Here’s a real-life example from Google where they mention their ideal salespeople have experience working and learning in a fast-moving, dynamic environment and have a passion for using Google products.

Making it clear what your culture is from the start should reduce the number of poor-fitting candidates who apply and save you time when narrowing down your candidate pool.

Create Cultural Fit Interview Questions

Perhaps the most crucial step in the process is asking SaaS sales candidates the right questions that specifically target cultural fit. Generally, this should consist of around five or so questions that allow you to gauge this with a reasonable amount of objectivity.

Here are some examples of basic questions to ask:

  • What’s your ideal working environment?
  • What are your core goals and values?
  • What’s your preferred management style?
  • Do you work better independently or as part of a team?
  • What motivates you to make sales?
  • What do you feel you need to succeed in a SaaS sales position?

And here’s a more detailed list that focuses on behaviors, attitudes, values, beliefs, and assumptions.

To ensure consistency, you’ll want to ask the same questions to every candidate you interview.

Compare a Candidate’s Answers with Your Culture

With each response, pay close attention to how well it fits in with your company’s culture. For instance, if being able to work well collaboratively as part of a group is critical to succeeding in your SaaS sales role, you would likely want a candidate who works better as part of a team rather than independently.

Or if some of your core values are passion, teamwork, and continual improvement, you would want a candidate’s responses to be similar. Just be sure that whoever handles recruiting understands what you’re looking for and listens for cues during their interactions.

Pay Attention to Personality and Character

Another part of the process is a bit trickier to analyze and isn’t something that can be done quantitatively. But paying attention to personality and character during interactions, from initial outreach, to interview scheduling, to the interview itself, is a great opportunity to assess cultural fit as well.

For example, during the first few moments when you’re meeting with a candidate and having a casual conversation, use it to get a feel for what their natural demeanor is like and if they seem like someone who would get along with your existing team.

Are they polite and courteous? Do they conduct themselves professionally? Are they a smooth conversationalist?

These are just a few things to consider during casual conversation and can add to the rest of the input you get from previous steps to determine overall cultural fit.

Be Careful of Bias

One last thing to note is that you should always be aware of the potential for bias and not let that cloud your judgment. While it’s impossible to eliminate bias 100%, it’s something that can be largely reduced by simply being aware of it.

Also, it’s helpful to get feedback from multiple team members when making the final hiring decision. I find that this tends to provide a clearer perspective on how good of a cultural fit a candidate is, and you’re less likely to fall into the bias trap when you get the opinions of multiple people.

Let’s Recap

One area of SaaS sales recruiting that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves is cultural fit. While it may not be quite as important as skillset and experience, it plays a significant role in how likely someone is to mesh with your team. To avoid premature turnover and other complications, it’s worthwhile to make assessing cultural fit part of your hiring process.

That way, whoever you hire should truly check all the boxes, and it greatly increases the odds of things working out for both parties.

If you’re looking to make your SaaS sales recruiting more accurate and predictive to find the best of the best talent, check out the Objective Management Group sales assessment. It can be fully customized to your unique selling environment, and 92% of candidates recommended by it go on to reach the top half of the sales force.

7 Sales Sales Recruitment Mistakes and How to Fix Them

In the cutthroat world of sales, hiring the right people can mean the difference between skyrocketing success and abysmal failure. Yet, time and time again, companies find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle of hiring the wrong candidates. If you’ve been scratching your head wondering why your recruitment efforts keep falling short, fear not. You are not alone. Here are seven common mistakes you may be making, along with solutions:

Mistake 1: Not Defining Your Ideal Candidate

Research from LinkedIn reveals that companies with clearly defined candidate profiles are 28% more likely to attract top talent. However, many companies still struggle with vague job descriptions and unclear candidate criteria. Without a precise idea of who you are seeking, you are essentially taking shots in the dark, hoping to chance upon a suitable match. Take the time to pinpoint the essential traits, skills, and experiences your ideal sales candidate should possess. This will not only streamline your sales recruitment process but also enhance the chances of finding the right person for the job.

Mistake 2: Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen:

A study by Harvard Business Review indicates that involving too many individuals in the hiring process can significantly prolong the time it takes to fill a position, resulting in missed opportunities and increased expenses. When numerous decision-makers with conflicting agendas and criteria are involved, things can easily go awry. To prevent this, simplify your sales hiring process and ensure everyone is on the same page. Clearly define roles and responsibilities, establish transparent communication channels, and set expectations from the outset.

Mistake 3: Interview Process Taking Too Long

Time is of the essence, particularly when hiring top sales talent. Despite this, research by Glassdoor shows that the average interview process in the United States lasts 23.7 days. This extended timeline not only frustrates sales candidates but also raises the risk of losing them to competitors. Streamline your interview process by focusing on the most relevant criteria and eliminating unnecessary steps. Remember, quality outweighs quantity.

Mistake 4: Lack of Transparency

Transparency fosters trust, which is vital in any successful relationship, including the employer-employee dynamic. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 61% of candidates stated that a lack of transparency regarding salary and benefits would make them less inclined to accept a job offer. Be forthright and upfront about critical aspects of the job, such as expectations, salary, benefits, and opportunities for career advancement. This not only establishes clear expectations but also attracts candidates genuinely interested and aligned with your company values.

Mistake 5: Poor New-Hire Onboarding

The sales hiring process does not conclude once the offer letter is signed; in reality, that is just the beginning. Nevertheless, a report by Aberdeen Group reveals that 86% of new hires determine whether to stay or leave a company within the first six months. Without a structured onboarding process, new salespeople are left to navigate on their own, resulting in confusion, frustration, and ultimately, high turnover. Develop a comprehensive onboarding program that equips new hires with the training, resources, and support they need to hit the ground running.

Mistake 6: Unrealistic Expectations and Metrics

While metrics are crucial for evaluating sales performance, relying on unrealistic expectations and arbitrary metrics can be detrimental. According to research by CSO Insights, only 54.6% of sales reps meet or exceed their quotas. Instead of relying on guesswork and outdated metrics, take the time to define meaningful KPIs that accurately reflect success in your organization. Set realistic targets based on historical data and industry benchmarks, and adjust them as needed to ensure they remain relevant and attainable.

Mistake 7: Not Using a Sales Skills Assessment:

One of the biggest mistakes companies make in their sales hiring process is failing to assess candidates’ actual sales skills. According to a study by Objective Management Group, 92% of salespeople do not have the consultative selling skills to succeed in today’s market. Without a proper assessment, you’re essentially rolling the dice and hoping for the best.

Incorporating a sales skills assessment into your hiring process allows you to objectively evaluate candidates’ abilities in areas such as prospecting, presenting, closing deals, and handling objections. This not only ensures that you’re hiring candidates with the right skills for the job but also provides valuable insights for coaching and development once they’re onboard. By leveraging sales assessments, you can make more informed hiring decisions and build a high-performing sales team that drives results.

In conclusion, recruiting and hiring top sales talent is undoubtedly challenging, but it is achievable. By avoiding these common mistakes and embracing a more strategic and systematic approach to hiring, you can attract, retain, and empower the salespeople essential for your company’s success in today’s competitive landscape.

Looking for help recruiting top sales talent? HireDNA can create a digital profile of your ideal rep and sourced candidates who are the perfect match with 91% accuracy. Schedule a demo to learn more.

Image Source: Edmond Dantès (https://www.pexels.com/)

Building a Sales Talent Pipeline: Long-Term Strategies for Recruitment

Finding and retaining quality sales talent is a constant challenge. Even with all of your ducks in a row, you’ll inevitably encounter issues at some point. Therefore, it’s not enough to be reactive with your recruiting, where you find yourself scrambling to fill a position. You need to be proactive and build a sales talent pipeline to ensure you have a steady stream of qualified candidates at all times.

In this post, I’ll highlight what I’ve found to be the most effective and practical strategies for developing a sales talent pipeline so that you don’t find yourself in a bind.

Show Sales Candidates Why They Should Choose You

Before doing anything else, it’s important to show sales candidates that your company is the one they want to work for.

  • What makes your company stand out above your competitors?
  • What makes it special?
  • Why should sales professionals want to develop their careers with you?

These are just a few questions you should answer for candidates so that when you pique their interest they’ll want to take the next step and apply with you. There’s a lot that goes into this, but it starts by striving to improve your company culture and focusing on reputation management.

Create a Dedicated Careers Page

In the past, very few companies had a dedicated careers page, and it was typically reserved for larger enterprises with deep pockets. But I’ve noticed a significant increase in recent years, where a growing number of small and mid-sized companies are now using this strategy as well.

I like a dedicated careers page for two main reasons. First, it actively recruits for you. Through search engine queries, sales candidates can find your company, learn more about you, and apply. It basically acts as an automated recruiting funnel.

Rather than having to post on multiple job boards every time you need to fill a position, sales candidates can come to you. Take SaaS productivity and note-taking company Notion for example. Their careers page is set up so candidates can find them through search engines, social media, and other digital outlets.

And after landing on that page, candidates can get a basic overview,…

…learn about Notion’s story,…

…and check out open sales positions.

So if you haven’t gotten around to creating a dedicated careers page yet, I highly suggest doing so. Here’s a basic guide for getting started.

Improve Your Social Media Presence

Another way to build brand equity while simultaneously funneling candidates into your sales talent pipeline is by going all in on your social media. By this, I don’t mean simply slapping up an occasional post on Facebook. I’m talking about putting together a full-scale campaign that targets consumers, as well as sales candidates.

Let’s look at Notion again for an example. They have an impressive social media presence, with 324k followers on Instagram, 267k subscribers on YouTube, and 551k followers on LinkedIn.

On their LinkedIn page, users can learn about their company, check out their LinkedIn posts (something that establishes thought leadership), see what employee life is like at Notion, and look at recent job openings.

From there, users can learn more about job opportunities and apply directly from LinkedIn.

Through this social media campaign, Notion can build their reputation while seamlessly connecting with professional sales candidates. It’s baked right into their campaign.

And while you can’t necessarily expect to build a following quite this size, it shows how social media kills two birds with one stone and can send a steady stream of sales candidates coming your way.

Encourage Referrals

You may already know that salesperson referrals can have a big impact. To quantify:

  • “Referred employees are 18% more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.”
  • “Referral hires are 40% more likely to be retained after one year than non-referral hires.”
  • “$7,500 is the amount of money saved in productivity and sourcing costs when hiring a referral.”

Besides massively increasing salesperson satisfaction and retention and decreasing costs, referrals are also an excellent way to build a sales talent pipeline.

So at the very least, I suggest encouraging your existing salespeople to send vetted candidates your way. Even if you don’t need to make a hire right away, this will provide you with a list of candidate profiles that you’ll have at your fingertips whenever a position does open.

And if you want to go all in, you can create an employee referral program, which you can learn about here.

Offer Career Development Opportunities

Finally, hiring from within can ensure you always have a short list of top-tier candidates at the ready for mid and upper-level positions. While this won’t necessarily help with hiring entry-level sales reps, it’s perfect when hiring for more advanced positions and gives you access to salespeople you know and trust.

And here’s the kicker. Salespeople who are hired from within stay an average of 41% longer than those who are hired from outside. Further, 69% of companies who hire internally say they’re able to bring those team members to a positive state more quickly.

Not to mention, salespeople who have a legitimate opportunity to climb the ranks tend to work harder and be more invested in their jobs than those who don’t. By taking a hiring-from-within approach to recruiting, you not only have immediate access to high-quality salespeople, it also helps strengthen your overall culture at the same time, for the ultimate win-win.

Building a Strong Sales Talent Pipeline From the Ground Up

While it’s impossible to never feel hiring stress, constructing a sales talent pipeline in the way we discussed here can dramatically lower your chances of running into issues. Instead of waiting until someone leaves or you need to scale up, having processes in place should ensure you always have access to a pool of amazing candidates.

Speaking of amazing candidates, register with HireDNA today to use our all-in-solution to attract, recruit, and retain the best of the best.

Competency-Based SaaS Sales Interviews: How to Assess Skills Effectively

Once you’ve narrowed your SaaS sales candidate pool down to a select group of individuals, it’s time to find the best of the best. Remember that it’s not just about choosing the top candidate during SaaS sales interviews. You need to find the top candidate for your sales team.

To truly understand how they would perform in your sales environment, it’s helpful to take a competency-based approach, which involves assessing a candidate’s skills and abilities by asking questions that require specific examples that draw from past experiences.

Here’s a streamlined three-step process I suggest doing that.

Define Your Company’s Core SaaS Sales Competencies

Before you do anything else, a necessary first step is to identify what your company’s core competencies are in regard to SaaS sales.

There will likely be some overlap between most SaaS companies. HubSpot, for example, lists the top four competencies as being:

  • Foundational sales knowledge
  • Communication skills
  • Willingness to learn
  • Attention to detail

They also provide a list of other core competencies that are extremely important.

Here at HireDNA, we analyze SaaS sales candidates across 21 selling competencies — some of which include coachability, the ability to hunt, the drive to succeed, and the ability to close deals.

The bottom line is that each sales team will be a little different. So you’ll want to figure out the exact traits and characteristics you want to focus on above all else.

Create a Top 10 List of Core Saas Sales Competencies

After defining your specific core SaaS sales competencies, the next step is to determine which 10 are the most important and rank them in order of importance.

Here’s an example of what that may look like:

  1. Foundational sales/product knowledge
  2. Communication skills
  3. Willingness to learn
  4. Coachability
  5. Ability to hunt
  6. Relationship-building
  7. Negotiating skills
  8. Ability to handle rejection
  9. Drive to succeed
  10. Emotional intelligence

Remember that you can always change your core competencies, as well as their order later on. But having a tangible list like this should help you articulate which competencies hold the most value and will help guide you on the next step.

Create Relevant Interview Questions Based on Core SaaS Sales Competencies

Once you have a definitive list of core SaaS sales competencies, it’s time to use them to develop a series of interview questions that your team can reference.

“Competency-based interviews rely on the assumption that past successful or unsuccessful job scenarios provide evidence of compatibility with a position’s requisites,” explains Job Test Prep.

By asking targeted competency-based questions that require candidates to call upon their work experience, it allows you to better understand their thought process, how they would act if hired on to your SaaS sales team, and generally gauge their overall abilities. This isn’t to say that competency-based interviews tell 100% of the story, but they’re fairly accurate for the most part and should help you forecast how successful a potential candidate would be.

Here are a few examples based on the top 10 list above.

When assessing foundational sales/product knowledge, you could ask:

  • How do you learn and stay informed about the features of a SaaS product you’re selling?
  • Tell me about a specific time when you used your knowledge to close a deal.

When assessing relationship-building, you could ask:

  • Can you tell me about a time when you successfully built a strong relationship with a SaaS customer, and how did you leverage that relationship to instill loyalty?
  • What were the specific steps you took and the challenges you faced along the way?

When assessing a rep’s ability to handle rejection, you could ask:

  • Can you tell me about a particular time when you faced an especially difficult rejection?
  • How did you overcome it?

Repeat this process until you have a fully fleshed-out list of competency-based questions for SaaS sales interviews that look something like this.

Integrate Core Competency Questions into Interviews

At this point, the heavy lifting is over, and you should have a tangible list of questions that zero in on essential SaaS sales competencies. It’s just a matter of providing your recruiting team with a list of those questions and having them use them during interviews.

This offers two main benefits, with the first being that it allows you to efficiently learn about each SaaS sales candidate’s core competencies and determine whether or not they’re a good fit for your company.

The other key benefit is that it allows you to standardize your sales hiring process, which is extremely important to finding elite candidates.

“In non-standardized interviews, there may be a set of questions guiding the conversation, but there is little consistency across the experience for candidates,” writes The Harvard Business School. “Often this is where unconscious bias can manifest itself and candidates don’t have the same opportunity to effectively tell their story and showcase their fit for a role.”

“In a standardized interview, each candidate is asked the same questions in the same order. HBS Professor Francesca Gino notes that this type of interview process helps to reduce bias by focusing on the factors that have a direct impact on performance.'”

Not to mention that it makes your interviewer’s life easier when they have a list of questions for quick reference to guide them through the hiring process. Rather than blindly feeling their way through an interview, having a sense of structure like this should help make things go smoother.

Wrapping Up

Traditional interviewing can tell you a lot about a candidate. But in my opinion, one of the best ways to truly get a sense of how someone would perform in your unique SaaS sales environment is by taking a competency-based approach.

Fortunately, this is pretty straightforward and simply involves a three-step process of 1) identifying which core competencies are most essential to SaaS sales success, 2) creating relevant questions around those competencies, and 3) effectively integrating those questions into your interviewing.

If you’re looking to find truly elite SaaS sales reps, I suggest using the OMG sales candidae assessment. Backed by science and predictive validity, this assessment targets critical sales competencies, and 91% of recommended and hired candidates have positive on the job performance.

Beyond the Job Posting: Innovative Ways to Attract Sales Superstars

For many sales recruiters, the first thing that comes to mind when hiring is slapping up a job posting on a career site. While that can certainly still work, we live in an age where sales recruiters have access to a wide array of innovative new options to attract sales superstars.

Not only is it helpful to leverage innovative recruitment strategies, you could argue that it’s now become necessary for standing out from the competition and accessing a wider talent pool. Further, it can drastically reduce your chances of making the wrong hires, as well as reduce turnover because of the caliber of talent you can attract.

With that said, here are some specific strategies I recommend.

Create an AI-powered Sales Recruiting Chatbot

These days, we’re accustomed to encountering chatbots on websites and apps across nearly all industries. They provide a simple yet effective way to answer visitor questions and direct them to the right resource or rep. We even use one on HireDNA.

As AI technology evolves, so do the applications of AI-powered chatbots. And we’re now at a point where they can be used to not only automate sales recruiting but also improve the candidate experience.

Take, for instance, a platform called HireVue, which provides a “text-powered recruiting assistant that enables you to hire up to 4x faster by engaging your candidates all the way from ‘Hi’ to ‘Hired.'”

It can be used on your website, email, social media, SMS, and other messaging apps — wherever you interact with sales candidates. Whenever someone is interested in applying, the chatbot will engage with them throughout the process, answering questions, pointing them to relevant resources, and ultimately setting them up for an interview.

This creates a frictionless candidate experience and should supply you with a steady stream of qualified leads while saving your sales recruiting team a ton of time in the process. In terms of impact, HireVue states that companies that use it see:

  • 5x faster time-to-interview
  • 32% higher candidate satisfaction
  • A 20% decrease in cost-per-hire

You can learn more here.

Show Sales Candidates What it’s Like to Work for You Firsthand

Every sales hiring team is going to hype up their company and say it’s a great place to work. But that’s only going to take you so far. To really attract sales superstars and motivate them to apply, it’s helpful to show them firsthand why they’d love working for you.

And there’s no better way to do that than to let them hear from members of your current sales team. One company in particular that stands out in this area is Proctor & Gamble, which offers a robust sales page on its website that lets potential candidates view all sales opportunities,…

…get an overview of sales responsibilities,…

…and walks candidates through a day in sales and a year in sales, complete with video testimonials from actual salespeople.

The videos are brief at around 1 1/2 minutes, but they’re excellent at connecting the dots for interested candidates and driving home the key benefits of working as a salesperson for Proctor & Gamble.

The other thing I love about this technique is that Proctor & Gamble’s sales recruiting page acts as a valuable SEO resource. Because it’s loaded with targeted keywords, I would imagine that they receive a significant volume of organic traffic from qualified candidates without having to post traditional job ads. Therefore, I suggest checking it out and using it for inspiration in your own sales recruiting campaign.

Partner with Colleges and Universities

Let me start by saying this strategy won’t be viable if you’re looking for seasoned salespeople with years of experience. However, if you’re interested in acquiring fresh, young talent and sculpting them into professional salespeople, this strategy may definitely be for you.

The idea is to offer internships, sponsorships, or mentorship programs to college students or recent college graduates who show a lot of promise — preferably individuals who are majoring or who have majored in relevant degrees like business or finance.

After identifying a list of schools you’re interested in, “You need to create a compelling value proposition that showcases why your organization is a great place to work for their graduates,” explains HR and recruiting expert Uros Dmitrovic. “You need to highlight your mission, vision, culture, benefits, and opportunities in a way that resonates with your audience and differentiates you from your competitors. You can also use testimonials, stories, and videos from your current employees who graduated from those schools to add credibility and authenticity.

From there, it’s just a matter of building relationships with a few key stakeholders, crystallizing a formal partnership program, and building a talent pipeline. Going this route, admittedly, takes a substantial amount of time to set up. But once you have it in place, you should have access to some of the best and brightest sales talent in your area.

Thinking Outside the Box to Attract Sales Superstars

Don’t get me wrong. Posting job ads on career sites is still a viable way to find sales talent. But in today’s increasingly competitive business world, it feels that it’s having less and less of an impact.

Getting creative and thinking outside the box using strategies like the ones mentioned above can provide your sales recruiting team with exciting alternatives that can help you tap into A+ talent in a way that your competitors are not.

On a final note, one of the best ways to gauge a candidate’s ability, skillset, and overall “sales DNA” is with a sales assessment. The Original Sales Assessment is one of the most accurate and predictive in the industry, with 92% of candidates reaching the top of their sales force.

You can learn more about The Original Sales Assessment here.

Screening Sales Resumes: Key Indicators of High-Performing Candidates

Countless factors determine a salesperson’s likelihood to succeed. For perspective, the screening process we use at HireDNA analyzes 21 selling competencies, including the will to sell, hunting, and relationship-building just to name a few. So it’s no surprise that HR/talent leaders can feel slightly overwhelmed when screening sales resumes.

For this post, my goal is to provide you with a streamlined, ultra-concise methodology for efficiently screening sales resumes to find high-performing candidates. Let’s jump right in.

Quantifiable Achievements

While achievements don’t always tell the whole story, they usually serve as a good starting point for assessing a salesperson’s general abilities. They also allow you to objectively measure someone’s past performance so you can determine how likely they would be to thrive in your sales environment.

Therefore, achievements — specifically quantifiable achievements that are measured in numbers or percentages — are one of the first things I suggest looking for in salesperson resumes. Some examples can include sales revenue generated, percentage of quotas met or exceeded, and number of leads converted.

Sustained Sales Growth

Everyone has to start somewhere in the sales industry. And even the best of the best may struggle initially as they’re cutting their teeth. That’s why you can’t necessarily judge someone’s capabilities by their first couple of years in sales.

However, looking at larger patterns like sustained sales growth over time (assuming they have at least three or so years of experience under the belt) should lend accurate insight into their performance. After all, if someone has proven they’ve consistently improved over time, this typically indicates an ability to learn from mistakes, implement feedback, and persevere through challenges.

Again, it’s helpful to have quantifiable data because concrete numbers paint a clear picture.

Motivation

You could argue that half of the battle of successful selling is simply staying motivated. By nature, the sales industry comes with a lot of ups and downs. When the chips are down, reps may find it difficult to find the will to keep pressing forward. And when things are going well, reps may be inclined to become complacent.

An essential part of building an elite sales team is finding a group of reps that continually stay motivated regardless of the situation. So how do you identify motivated candidates by screening sales resumes?

One way is to look for individuals who have shown an eagerness to take on new projects and learn new skills. Say, for instance, someone voluntarily participated in multiple sales training courses to enhance their skill set. That would likely indicate a high level of motivation.

Resilience

To say that sales can be challenging would be an understatement. It’s incredibly competitive, and dealing with rejection on a constant basis is part of the job description. Therefore, it takes a certain personality type where someone can handle frequent rejection and get right back on the horse.

It takes resilience.

Like motivation, resilience isn’t something that’s easy to quantify. But there are ways to find candidates that demonstrate resilience if you know what to look for.

What I suggest is looking for candidates who highlight their ability to overcome rejection, handle objections, and adapt to changes. Ideally, this is something they’ll specifically address on their resume.

Sales Tool Knowledge

Whether you’re looking to hire someone for an onsite position, remote, or hybrid, it doesn’t make a difference. To thrive in today’s tech-centric world, almost everyone needs to have an intimate knowledge of sales tools like CRM software, lead outreach apps, and lead scoring software.

While you shouldn’t necessarily disqualify someone just because they don’t have direct experience using the exact tools your team uses, it’s extremely important that they know the ins and outs of general sales tools. That’s why this is something else to look out for when screening sales resumes.

Take this sample resume, for instance. Here the candidate specifically references using Zoom to maintain a 91% closing rate. On top of that, they mention that they used Hootsuite to develop and schedule social media content, which shows they have experience using software for other purposes outside of direct sales, for an added plus.

Strong Communication Skills

This is a no-brainer, but I wanted to include communication skills because 1) they’re such an integral part of sales success and 2) you can assess communication skills directly by reading a candidate’s resume.

While you can’t necessarily measure the full spectrum of a person’s ability to communicate from a resume, you can get a solid idea of how well they articulate their ideas by simply reading their writing. For instance, if they provide a concise overview of their skills, qualifications, education, and so on, that should be a good indicator that they can communicate clearly with leads and customers.

On the other hand, if they’re writing is inarticulate and lacks brevity, their communication skills may be lacking. This isn’t to say that you should expect every salesperson to be a wordsmith, but they should be able to clearly present the information on their resume to you.

Finding Elite Reps By Effectively Screening Sales Resumes

As I said before, a resume won’t always tell the whole story of a candidate’s full abilities. But it can tell you a lot.

While I recommend leveraging other tools like a data-driven sales recruiting platform to find the best of the best, effectively screening sales resumes should still provide you with a shortlist of high performers. You just need to know the key indicators to look for and how to measure them.

For help building an all-star sales team, register with HireDNA today. We offer cutting-edge technology that can help you find top candidates and eliminate 96% of wrong hires.

The 4 Best Places to Find Elite Passive Sales Candidates

We’ve talked a lot about passive sales candidates on this blog. And for good reason. Over three-quarters of sales candidates can be classified as passive, and they’re often some of the most talented individuals you’ll find in your industry. That said, not all are created equal. So how do you find elite passive sales candidates? The best of the best?

In this post, I’ll share four of the top resources I recommend that can be potential goldmines for sourcing passive talent to take your sales force to the next level.

1. An Employee Referral Program

For most companies, the best place to start is by establishing an employee referral program because this gives you access to a steady supply of potentially amazing salespeople.

There are two main reasons why this can be a smart move. First, rather than having to constantly seek out elite passive sales candidates yourself, they come to you instead. Second, the overall caliber of talent companies find with an employee referral program tends to be high quality.

For perspective, Forbes states that “referrals are the leading source of superior candidates for 88% of employers,” and “referred candidates are a better culture fit than those hired through other sources.”

And it makes sense when you think about it. If you already have a team of bright, capable salespeople, odds are they’re in contact with other potential salespeople that are equally as talented.

By launching an employee referral program and encouraging existing team members to source other rockstars, there’s a great chance you can make some A+ acquisitions.

To learn the basics of how to get one set up, check out this guide from SHRM.

2. LinkedIn

Social media in general can be a great place to source elite passive sales candidates. But, in my opinion, LinkedIn is still number one because 1) it focuses specifically on professional networking and 2) it’s a simple, intuitive platform that lets you quickly search for top talent.

Say, for example, you were looking for a SaaS salesperson in the tech industry. You can simply type what you’re looking for in the search bar here.

Then, you can browse through LinkedIn’s comprehensive results to learn more about each LinkedIn member.

At a glance, you can see what each person specializes in. And some LinkedIn users even openly state that they’re looking for job opportunities.

From there, you can learn more about a prospective candidate’s experience, qualifications, current job status, and more.

If have LinkedIn Premium, you can instantly message them without having to connect first. Or, if you don’t have the premium version, you can connect and then message them.

3. AI Tools

In recent years, AI has spread its tentacles to nearly every aspect of business, and passive recruiting is no exception. Now there are a variety of AI tools that allow you to streamline and automate much of the passive recruiting process.

Not only does this save you valuable time and eliminate a ton of tedious manual tasks, it dramatically increases your odds of landing elite talent. That’s because AI can leverage sophisticated technology to match you with highly qualified passive sales candidates with the skills, experience, and personality needed to thrive in your sales team.

There are countless AI tools on the market, but a good example of one that specializes in the outbound recruiting of passive candidates is HireEZ.

With it, you can search from over 800 million candidate profiles and use over 30 advanced AI filters to pinpoint the exact type of candidates you’re looking for. From there, HireEZ helps you engage with the best of the best to facilitate friction-free communication.

And that’s just one example. You can find a list of 9 of the best AI tools for sourcing elite passive sales candidates here.

4. Industry Conferences and Local Events

In our modern era, the majority of sales recruiting is done digitally. But it’s important to remember that in-person networking is still very much alive and well. And in the right circumstances, it can be the perfect way to meet talented passive sales candidates that could be tremendous assets to your company.

One of the main reasons why I still like in-person networking is that it lets you interact with prospective candidates face-to-face and get a feel for their style and personality. If, for example, someone is particularly charismatic and has a high social IQ, there’s a good chance they would thrive on your sales team.

Also, the people you meet at these events often have a strong commitment to sales. After all, why would someone go to the trouble of attending an event if they didn’t have a genuine passion?

Besides that, these events allow you to quickly meet a high volume of people so you can make a ton of connections and exchange contact information. So within the course of a few hours, you could potentially have several quality contacts that you can reach out to later.

When it comes to finding events, a quick Google search of “[your industry] conferences” should turn up plenty of information.

Besides that, websites such as Meetup.comEventbrite, and CitySocializer can help you find local events. Note that many of the events on these sites aren’t specifically sales-centric, but events in general, which can nonetheless help you connect with talented individuals.

Building a Successful Team with Elite Passive Sales Candidates

With more than 75% of sales candidates being passive and these candidates often being some of the most qualified, it’s important to have a passive recruiting strategy in place. And this starts with tapping into the right resources for finding passive sales candidates.

While there are numerous resources you can leverage, these four are my absolute favorites and should allow you to cast a wide net for finding the cream of the crop.

If you’re looking to build an all-star team, be sure to register with HireDNA today. We offer cutting-edge technology that helps sales companies attract, recruit, and retain the best talent.

Don’t Make Passive Sales Candidates Jump Through Hoops: Tips for Creating a Streamlined Recruiting Process

When most people think of sales recruiting, they likely envision scouting for active candidates who come to them and apply for a job. But according to a recent survey, 73% of candidates are passive, meaning they’re not actively looking for a sales position, but would be open to it if the right opportunity came along. Given passive candidates are often the most talented, it’s vital to develop a streamlined recruiting process where they don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops.

And that’s what I’m going to tackle in this post. Here’s a formula for swiftly moving A+ passive candidates through your hiring process without unnecessary friction.

Put Yourself in a Passive Candidate’s Shoes

First, I think it’s helpful to look at the situation from the perspective of a passive sales candidate. Most are already employed, and because they’re in demand, have plenty of leverage. Therefore, they’re not going to jump at just any offer that comes their way.

To seriously consider switching companies, it has to be a truly enticing offer that goes beyond what they have at their current job. So if you realistically expect to land elite talent like this, you need two main things — an amazing offer that surpasses what they have in their current position and a straightforward system that seamlessly moves them through the hiring process.

This brings me to my next point.

Clearly Define Why Passive Sales Candidates Should Choose You

Before you ever reach out to a passive candidate, you need to be able to quickly articulate what makes your company a better choice than their current employer — an elevator pitch if you will. While every brand’s selling points will differ, here are some specific things most passive sales candidates want across the board.

Based on this and the unique selling points your offer, I suggest creating a recruitment pitch that you can reference at any time. And if you have multiple sales recruiters interacting with passive candidates, this should ensure a consistent experience.

Use Technology to Ensure a Passive Candidate is a Good Fit

If someone has stood out enough for you to have your sights on them, odds are they can sell. But there are other factors to take into account, such as working style, cultural fit, personality traits, and so on that will ultimately determine their likelihood of success.

Before you officially reach out to a passive candidate, it’s smart to use technology like an AI tool or a SaaS sales recruiting platform to analyze passive candidates based on the specific criteria you’re looking for. This will allow you to narrow the talent pool down and find the best of the best.

That way you don’t waste the candidate’s time or yours.

Make the Application Process Dead Simple

Research has found that “60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity.” And for passive candidates that aren’t actively seeking employment, they’re even less likely to complete a long-winded application.

For that reason, it’s critical to boil it down to the absolute essentials when gathering information. Better yet, allow passive candidates to apply through platforms like LinkedIn or Google so they can use their existing profiles rather than filling out a new one from scratch.

Offer Seamless Interview Scheduling

Another common source of frustration for candidates during sales recruiting is interviewing. The last thing you want is for a dream candidate to sour on a position because of complications during interview scheduling.

A simple way to prevent this is to use a tool like Calendly that allows candidates to conveniently schedule an interview at a time that’s best for them.

Simply send an invite with several time slots that are available, and a candidate can have their pick.

An added plus is that this also saves your recruiting team time from having to back-and-forth with candidates.

Keep Interview Rounds to a Minimum

Many sales recruiters require candidates to have two, three, or even four rounds of interviews before officially giving them a job offer. And while you want to be sure you’ve found the right person, going overboard on interviewing can be a major turnoff, especially for passive candidates that are already employed.

That’s why I suggest keeping your interviewing to a maximum of two rounds to prevent any conflicts. However, if you can just have one comprehensive interview, that’s even better.

As long as you’ve done your research and used technology like a sales recruiting platform or AI tool as I mentioned earlier, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Offer Job Status Updates

After you’ve conducted an interview(s), it’s extremely important to keep candidates in the loop as you’re making your final decision. Ideally, you’ll provide real-time updates via email, text, or messenger so candidates instantly know what’s happening.

And needless to say, don’t drag on your decision-making any longer than necessary.

Optimizing the Passive Candidate Experience with a Streamlined Recruiting Process

Because of their skills, talent, and proven success, passive candidates are often the best candidates. And while effective recruiting is important for filling all positions, it’s especially critical when recruiting passive candidates.

By following the formula outlined above, you should be able to create a more streamlined recruiting process that results in a better candidate experience and more A+ passive candidates accepting your job offers.

If you’re looking for technology to accurately and efficiently assess sales candidates, check out The Original Sales Assessment. 92% of individuals recommended by it go on to reach the top half of their sales force within one year.

How to Find Great Talent in Tough Economic Times

Finding talented salespeople can be difficult in even the best of circumstances. But it can be especially challenging to find great talent in tough economic times.

And that’s precisely what sales recruiters are up against today. Although the recruiting climate has stabilized somewhat in the wake of COVID, there are still some major challenges that must be overcome to secure elite talent.  

In this post, I’ll offer some background on the current rocky economic state and specific strategies and tools you can use to find rockstar salespeople in your industry.

Some Statistics for Perspective

By definition, the US is not currently in a recession as of the time of this writing in May 2023. However, many financial experts believe there could be one on the horizon.

“Slowing in GDP could be due to negative US inventory accumulations and trade deficits,” writes Bill Adams, chief economist for Comerica Bank. “Whether these factors will continue dragging on the economy throughout 2023 remains to be seen, but steadily slowing GDP growth could be an advance warning of recession ahead.”

Besides that, there are also the issues of inflation, stock market volatility, sluggish retail sales, and other factors that are contributing to our current economic woes.

And from a recruiting standpoint, today’s businesses must contend with what McKinsey calls “the Great Attrition” or “Great Resignation,” where a staggering 40% of American workers say they may leave their job in the near future.

By these numbers, two out of every five salespeople are theoretically ready to look elsewhere, which is no doubt alarming to many recruiters.

Capitalizing on Opportunities

This isn’t to say that everything is all doom and gloom. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for sales recruiters to find great talent in tough economic times.

For instance, this often translates into a larger candidate pool that wasn’t available a few years ago. You may also be able to find elite-level talent from other organizations that wouldn’t have previously been possible.

It’s just a matter of adjusting your sales recruiting strategy, which is what I’ll discuss for the rest of this post.

Start with Your UVP

I love what Cassie Pike, managing director at Cielo Talent has to say about the importance of strengthening your UVP in tough economic times.

“When slowdowns occur and candidates are in the market, it’s prime time for companies to campaign for who they want and show why their offerings stand out amongst the rest. It’s important to help candidates understand why you’re hiring and why you’re a safe bet for them when it comes to a job change. It’s about more than the money; it’s about the full value proposition, including stability of your organization, growth for the organization, and what it provides for your employees, as well as other non-monetary benefits like flexibility.”

Refining your UVP is a critical precursor to anything else, especially in our current economic climate, because it affects everything else. This is a topic I’ve covered in detail before, and you can learn how to create a winning UVP here.

Use a SaaS Sales Recruiting Platform

Perhaps the best way to streamline recruiting is to use a data-driven tool like HireDNA.

With it, you can tap into a robust national network of qualified sales talent and access top performers — both active and passive candidates — that have the exact skills and qualifications needed to thrive at your company.

Here’s how it works.

First, you’ll be assigned a dedicated recruiting manager who will work alongside you to create an ideal candidate profile.

Based on that, we’ll come up with a list of verified candidates that match what you’re looking for using 26 profile data points and 21 core selling competencies. Note that this goes beyond just traditional hard skills and is extremely granular with traits like motivation, desire to sell, the ability to handle rejection, and much more.

From there, we’ll provide you with a short list of handpicked, verified candidates that are most likely to succeed.

And finally, you choose the candidates you’re most interested in and can schedule interviews.

Sales recruiters that use HireDNA are able to eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes, speed up their time to hire by 50%, and have 50% less turnover. So if you’re looking to streamline your sales recruiting and find the best of the best, this type of platform can be very helpful.

Hire for Skills Over Industry Experience

The other main strategy I recommend to find great talent in tough economic times is being flexible with your job requirements.

In a previous blog, I explained why selling skills are often more important than industry/product experience. Although this post is over two years old, I think it’s just as relevant as ever.

The bottom line with this logic is that you can always train someone on a product, but you can’t always teach someone how to sell.

Say, for example, you find a candidate that has a stellar track record and has consistently exceeded their expectations in all previous roles, but they don’t have any experience in your specific industry. Odds are, they could learn it fairly quickly and use their natural talent to reach the top of your sales force.

On the other hand, let’s say there’s another candidate that does have plenty of experience in your industry, but they have a history of underwhelming performance. Although you could probably get them up to speed quicker, they’ll likely hit their plateau and won’t have nearly the same potential as someone who’s a natural winner.

This is a simple example, but I’m sure you can see my point. More often than not, prioritizing raw sales talent over experience and being willing to hire someone you know can sell, even if they lack direct industry/product experience, should lead to positive results and can give you an edge over many competitors.

Finding Great Talent in Tough Economic Times

Although the current economy is far from ideal, it’s still possible to find elite talent. In fact, there are golden opportunities as long as you leverage the right strategies and take advantage of helpful tools.

To see HireDNA in action and learn how it can take your sales recruiting to the next level, schedule a live demo today.

SaaS Sales Hiring for Beginners: How to Build a Winning Team From the Ground Up

Besides having an amazing product, SaaS sales hiring is arguably the most critical part of building a successful business. It’s also one of the most daunting, with Bersin Research, reporting that 75% of companies struggle with SaaS sales hiring.

Even for established companies with deep pockets and a dedicated recruiting team, it can be tricky. But if you’re a new startup just getting your bearings, it can be truly intimidating.

For this post, I’m going to lay down a simple template you can follow to build a winning SaaS sales team from the ground up so you’ll know which specific areas to address and assemble a team of true rockstars. Let’s get right into it.

Figure Out What Type of Culture You Want

It may sound a little cliche, but I believe that building a great SaaS sales team starts with first setting a firm foundation. And perhaps the most integral part of establishing a foundation is deciding what you want your culture to be like.

Why?

Because your culture will set the tone on how you approach sales hiring, what type of salespeople you want, what skills and characteristics you want them to have, and so on. Without a clearly defined culture, you’re almost guaranteed to lack direction, which will throw off every subsequent step in the formula.

So I recommend taking the time to crystallize exactly what type of culture you want. It will likely evolve over time, but having a clear initial snapshot should help you get started out on the right foot. For guidance on this, check out this Forbes article.

Create an Ideal Candidate Profile

Once you have a grasp on the company culture you’re going for, you’ll want to use that to create an ideal candidate profile. This can include industry experience, hard skills, soft skills, talent needs, working style, and so on. The more specific you get, the more likely you’ll be to find winning candidates that will thrive in your sales environment.

A tool you can use to streamline this process is HireDNA, which will help you build an ideal candidate from scratch.

With it, you can pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for in a SaaS salesperson, leaving no stone unturned, which brings us to our next step.

Use Data-Driven Sourcing, Assessments, and Screening

SaaS recruiting has advanced dramatically in recent years. Rather than relying on “old school” tactics for sourcing, assessing, and screening candidates, you can now leverage cutting-edge technology and concrete data that simply wasn’t possible in the past.

With HireDNA, for example, you can tap into a national network of hundreds of thousands of SaaS salespeople — both active and passive candidates — to find relevant professionals based on your ideal candidate profile.

For assessment, HireDNA uses a data-driven evaluation, looking at key factors like the role, your culture, required experiences, and unique selling skills. Each candidate receives a score in each category, and those with a match score of 75% or higher qualify for the position.

And for screening, HireDNA uses a sophisticated science-based skills assessment that tests 21 core selling competencies, such as the will to sell, motivation, and responsibility.

That way, every candidate in your talent pool is thoroughly vetted, and you can narrow it down to the absolute cream of the crop. From there, it’s just a matter of interviewing the list of candidates you’ve shortlisted and choosing those that best match your culture and ideal candidate profile.

Set Your Sales Reps Up for Success

Up until this point, I’ve talked about the steps leading up to the pre-hire moment. But for the rest of the post, I’ll focus on everything post-hire, starting with equipping your salespeople with what they need to succeed.

This typically begins with robust onboarding, which is something I’ve covered extensively in this post. Some essentials of SaaS onboarding include:

  • Offering new reps an end-all-be-all orientation resource to quickly get them up to speed
  • Formally training them on the software they’ll be selling
  • Educating them on buyer personas
  • Educating them on your UVP and competitor strengths and weaknesses

Another big piece of the puzzle is providing salespeople with proper mentorship and coaching, especially during the initial stages. This should ensure they have the built-in support system needed to “get in the groove” with minimal friction. Not to mention, it’s an effective way to reduce turnover.

Also, simply making it a point to consistently check in with SaaS salespeople to see how they’re doing and if they’re comfortable can go a long way.

Objectively Assess Performance with Analytics

Finally, you’ll want to identify a list of core metrics that most essential to success and stay on top of them with analytics. You don’t need to go crazy with it and measure every single metric, per se, but you should analyze those that are critical to your bottom line like maximizing revenue, increasing efficiency, and fueling growth.

Some examples include:

  • The number of qualified prospects a rep reaches out to
  • Conversion rate
  • Length of the sales cycle
  • Gross revenue
  • Long-term sales growth

You can find a list of the best SaaS sales analytics platforms here.

Winning with Your SaaS Sales Hiring

The fact that three-quarters of companies struggle with SaaS sales hiring speaks to the inherent difficulty of the process, especially for beginners. But by following a proven template that checks all the key boxes, you’ll know how to systematically approach the process and assemble a team of professionals that will position your business for success.

To learn more about how HireDNA can help with SaaS candidate sourcing, assessments, screening, and more, schedule a demo today. Companies that use HireDNA are able to cut their hiring time in half and eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes.