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How to do Mornings like a Champion

Mornings can be a hectic time when you have a busy household, lots of moving parts, a long commute and a busy day ahead. From the time you wake up to the time you lock the front door provides a valuable window that can help set the stage for success – or if mishandled, lead to stress.

While it might seem like common sense, doesn’t always appear to be all that common in most of our mornings. Here are four essential areas to focus on to kick off a positive and productive day.

Eat a Good, Hearty Breakfast

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day – and with good reason too. Eating breakfast was associated with a lower incidence of heart disease in men between the ages of 45 and 82 as well as to improve cognitive function related to memory.

Try incorporating bananas, strawberries, grapefruit, scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, granola, muesli, ground flaxseeds and whole-wheat toast into your morning routine. (Check out: What 11 successful people eat for breakfast) 

Meditate + Be Grateful  

Close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes, whether it’s listening to soothing music and visualizing your day, reflecting over coffee, in between the commercials during SportsCentre – take time and focus on your breathing and concentrate on what you’ll accomplish today, rather than what you have sitting on your to-do list. 

Tim Ferriss suggests taking it one step further and writing down what you’re grateful for.

“The five-minute journal is a therapeutic intervention, for me at least, because I am that person. Ferriss goes on to explain that doing this exercise for five minutes every morning allows him to be a happier and more content person.

Shower + Dress Well  

Showering puts us in a Zen-like state with the soothing warm water distracting us from everything around us. It has been proven that showers will release dopamine, and boost creativity when our minds are put at ease.

And when you take it one step further – how we dress has a huge effect on how people see us. Dressing well helps communicate the image you want to project – not to mention gives a surge in self-confidence.

“Studies have shown that people speak differently when they’re dressed up compared to when they’re dressed casually.” – Entrepreneur

Plan the Night Before

A lot of the stress accumulated every morning is caused by a lack of preparation the night before. People running around scrambling to get themselves together, what to eat, what to wear, hustling to get the kids ready for their days – when all of this can be rectified by creating a game plan the night before.

Mornings help set the stage for the day – and it’s easy to let a bad start manifest itself and morph into a negative undertone for the rest of the day. Get it right the first time.

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The Blueprint for Hiring Sales Development Representatives

One of the key roles when you scale out a SaaS company for success is the Sales Development Representative (SDR), otherwise known as a Lead Generation Representative or Business Development Representative (BDR). They play the critical role of qualifying the leads generated by marketing activities and then handing them off to the Account Executives who run the sales cycle to a close.

Throughout my discussions with a number of VPs of Sales, I was surprised when everyone agreed NOT to use recruiters when building out a BDR team! Why? Because the success rate is the same as or worse than if they did it themselves, so don’t waste your money. Typically the candidates you are looking for to build out these roles are early on in their career, so instead of blowing through your burn rate for a 3rd party recruiting firm to search for them – why not own the process internally or better yet have your Head of Sales run with it.

I based this article on interviews with a number of VP’s of Sales that have spent decades building out sales teams, coupled with my experience recruiting for these teams. Many thanks to Jay Hedges at Uberflip, Milos Krsmanovic at Leonardo and Aly Saleh at Canopy Labs for sharing their insight.

This article will cover how to attract, identify, train, manage and ultimately increase your success rate in bringing on this most critical talent for your company to its grow revenues.

1. How Do You Attract Them?

Short answer: any way you can. You might need a bit of a blanket approach here, but you should flood social media, put some budget behind advertising these posts, promote on university job sites and popular job boards. You’re looking for candidates with potential over work experience, so it’s wise to cast a net to pull in as many prospects as possible. And because there is no guarantee that they will stay in the job after they start, you need to be constantly recruiting prospects so you have a pool of qualified candidates to tap into to add or replace on your team.

2. Qualifying and Selecting for Interviews

There are different opinions on who you should meet. Some make the argument that you need a college or university degree because it demonstrates the necessary discipline to be successful, along with the notion that they will have strong communication skills and a desire to achieve.

Now while it doesn’t entirely matter which program they stem from, having a business degree is desirable, but philosophy and psychology majors also bring with them a very transferrable set of skills. It’s a bit of an interesting line to finesse here, because some candidates might come in overqualified for the role and find themselves struggling with the grind of it and won’t tough it out – which brings me to our next point.

3. The Anatomy of a Quality Candidate

This has many varied approaches, but the common theme is identifying character. Are they driven, motivated, curious, engaging, responsible and intelligent? These are the most predictive characteristics of a successful candidate.

Some of the approaches that sales leaders employ to determine if they embody these traits are to look at the entire approach the candidate took from initial communication through to acceptance of an offer. Did they exhibit professionalism, urgency and a sense of purpose?

They also looked at:

  • What kind of part time jobs they had in high school and university?
  • Did they actually contribute to expenses or did they have both hands dug deep into their parents’ pocket?
  • Are they quick on their feet?
  • Are they goal oriented and driven to learn?
  • Do they have their eye on the next role?
  • Are they looking at the SDR role as a short stepping stone in their career?

The leaders I spoke to found a big correlation between the length of time spent in an SDR role and their subsequent success as an Account Executive.

One of the most important parts of the evaluation was having prospects do a presentation. In addition to the obvious level of comfort in speaking in front of others, they were looking to see how prepared they were – and did they care?

4. On-Boarding and Training

As the role is primarily to send an email and follow up with a phone call, the training shouldn’t run more than three days. During this time they will get product training, shadow senior team members and practice their pitch until they have it mastered and feel confident in the process.

During the first few months, the role will likely require a lot of handholding, micromanagement, accountability to targets and ensuring proper CRM use. Every company will differ on the metrics, but the benchmarks typically include the number of meetings booked and opportunities qualified. There can be small bonuses for these successes but the larger bonuses should be based on deals, so they are focused on effective needs analysis and qualifying.

5. Promotion to Account Executive

Just about every Sales Development Representative wants to run their own deals and manage an entire sales cycle. So how do you manage their career aspirations?

By the 6-month mark, you will know if they are ready for a promotion to an Account Executive. Some companies will take the approach based on when they hit the mark of qualifying fifty leads, or just their tenure in the role – but you will know when and if they are ready to champion the cycle and start to close business.

I’ve learned about the trials and tribulations of building out SDR/BDR teams when I sat down with the VP’s that have spent years developing their own approaches. The companies they work for made the smart decision to let them build it out, but if you don’t have that luxury, then this will give you insights into their best practices. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Accepting the Worst Parts of Your Resume

“Walk me through your resume.”

It’s the standard question that hiring managers kick things off with as their eyes dance over the bolded words on your resume. In the back of your mind as you start giving a boilerplate answer; you know it’s only a matter of seconds until they zero in on what you deem as glaring red flags standing out to them.

Gaps in employment history. Short job stints. Not getting into leadership positions. It can feel like hiring managers are already reading between the lines and noticing these variables.

Not everyone’s CV is one shining success after another. It goes back to the old adage, “be comfortable with being uncomfortable.” It’s time to be comfortable with the uncomfortable parts in your employment history.

Come to Grips with the Uneasy Parts

When it seems that the spotlight is on you and you’re asked a pointed question about your employment history, you may be trying to dance around it. Hiring managers aren’t dumb, and they can see right through any sidestepping. Which is why it’s so important to come to grips with your work experience to be able to tell it confidently.

If your career path has been playing a bit of ping pong, rather than building a tale on why it hasn’t worked out – discuss the valuable experience you have learned from your journey to date. That’s what hiring managers want to hear. It might not have been the highlight of your career – but what kind of insight did you take from it? If there are gaps in your employment history, show how you used the time constructively. Did you join associations within your field or did you volunteer to enhance your craft?

Take Command of Your Resume

“Selling your experience is a vital skill, whether you’re on a job interview or wooing clients for your solo business.” – Fast Company

Your narrative is your story to own – and you need to be able to tell it confidently. If you were dismissed from a job, frame it as a learning experience. Leverage the positive aspects of it and how you bounced back. If an illness kept you away from work for some time, prospective employers might have a tendency to be wary because in their mind it might mean that you aren’t back to 100%. Keep it succinct as possible, but there’s no need to apologize or fudge the truth with something you’ve battled. The bottom line is that it’s time to come to grips with your career path to date. It might not be where you thought it would have led you early on, but you can’t always be looking back, because you aren’t heading in that direction anymore.

Accepting your story conveys confidence – and confidence is a major career-asset.

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Martyn and his firm are awesome at hiring salespeople and sales leaders. He pretty much staffed up our entire sales team at Eloqua.

We benchmarked him against the best, even local recruiting firms and we found that Martyn could bring on better people, with less yield loss, from Toronto.

Mark Organ
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You can spend weeks, even months, in search of the right candidate. Or you can work with someone that knows where to look and save yourself the headache. I gave Martyn Bassett a job description and watched him repeatedly deliver on that from within the sales talent pool.

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We drew up a very specific wishlist for our Business Development Executive – which included experience in managed and professional services, consistent over-performance and experience as a consultant – before we retained Martyn. We had no guarantee that candidate was on the market but Martyn’s team produced several that ticked all the boxes and one that exceeded our expectations.
Steven Graham
Managing Director, Computer Aid
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Martyn has access to a seemingly limitless number of talented sales leaders and he is sure to understand business needs and present only fully vetted candidates. I wholly recommend him for anyone – candidate or hiring manager – looking to find the right home for talented sales leaders.
Chris French
VP Enterprise – Eastern Region, Globoforce
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Having gone through interviews and job negotiations many times on my own before, I have to say that being presented by a recruiter this time made the process so much smoother. I’m sure that myself and my employer are both happier with the outcome as a result of working with Martyn Bassett Associates through the process.
Eric Bradnam
Solutions Architect –  Channel Sales, Dundas Data Visualization
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Martyn’s ability to bring talent to you is a benefit in and of itself, but what truly impressed me is his understanding of what you need and what you don’t need and having the conversation about it.

I looked at Martyn as more than the guy bringing talent to me – I looked to him for advice throughout the process.

Jamie Schneiderman
CEO, Clearfit
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It’s a tricky thing to find the right people based in Toronto who can go and sell to distant markets and how to sell in a SaaS world with the right language skills – you can imagine it’s like finding a needle in a haystack and Martyn came up with great candidates that we used to fill a number of roles.
Greg Durand
VP, Global Sales, Cority
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Having somebody that understands high-growth SaaS, in the industry that we are in, what we’re trying to achieve and the stage that we’re at was the most critical component for us.
James Novak
Chief Operating Officer, Fiix Software
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This is the world Martyn lives in – it’s not even a debate. And I wanted to tap into that expertise with his team.

Peter Spencer
Director of Sales, iView Systems
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