Everybody wants a software sales candidate with 10 – 15 years of experience, a track record of overachievement, and in-depth understanding of their target vertical. However, there are a lot of roles that don’t strictly require all of the above and setting your sights a little lower can yield strong, motivated sales candidates for a less than the cost of a veteran software sales professional.
Consider the following before you lock yourself into a search for a senior sales candidate you don’t actually need.
Assessing exactly how much—and what type—of experience your role requires is critical. Examine the market your new hire will be working in. Ask yourself the questions your prospects are asking. If you have a complicated product, a sophisticated audience, and a competitive industry, the skills of an industry veteran may be worth the extra up-front costs. If not, you can likely afford to have someone with less experience or more general sales skills in the role.
This is both an immediate and a long-term question. Will this role have direct reports immediately? Will they be expected to hire and build a team? Do you expect the candidate to grow into a leadership role?
An immediate leadership requirement obviously calls for a candidate with that experience. However, if that need is longer term, letting a candidate with potential grow into that role can actually produce a more effective organizational fit than transplanting outside talent. If there’s no leadership potential, there’s a real possibility that you’ll lose senior sales candidates to opportunities that offer a clear next step.
Large clients and complex solutions require patience, industry insight, and a consultative approach. Your sales team will need to navigate long sales cycles and work across internal and external departments. This calls for solution sales experience and can be difficult for younger and less experienced sales professionals.
Simpler products, smaller clients and shorter sales cycles require a much more transactional strategy. Software sales will always be about relationships and needs assessment but these roles have a focus on activity and volume. This typically allows you to work with less experienced sales professionals and won’t gain much traction with experienced candidates.
Ready to build your team? Working with sales recruitment agencies in Toronto can help you to identify, attract, and hire the top talent you need.