Long before we were the go-to search firm for building Product Management teams, we were building North American sales teams for enterprise B2B software companies.
Over these last 20 years, hundreds of clients and thousands of sales candidates later, we’ve learned a thing or two about sales leaders’ motivations for change.
With all this “Great Resignation” talk about money money money, it's time to balance the conversation and point out all of the other reasons why a VP Sales is likely to say yes to joining your tech scale-up.
Here are the top reasons - besides compensation - a VP Sales would want to join an organization:
What attracts leaders to join smaller organizations is the autonomy to make decisions, impact strategy and truly run the sales org. At the VP level, candidates want the ability to create and control both the sales budget (cost of selling) and sales strategy (methodology). What they don’t want is legacy practices/systems or, what is more likely in a startup, to be micromanaged by the Founders.
The goals and values of the company align to that of the leader. The outcome that the business is working towards is also one that the candidate believes they will be able to help achieve.
The office location or hybrid/remote model meets the candidate's needs and lifestyle.
Leaders, especially competitive sales leaders, love a good challenge and tend to prefer moving into growth markets and categories of solutions vs staying in stagnant categories where all the buying decisions have been made.
In the 20 years, we’ve watched the rise of new software categories emerge and become the ones where the top talent moves towards before it’s considered the “gold rush”.
In the early 2000 we watched ERP reps move into selling CRM solutions. In recent years we’ve watched CRM and contact center solution reps move towards Customer Experience solutions.
Anytime a sales leader has the opportunity to sell a new solution to a greenfield set of accounts, the opportunity is significant. Staying ahead of what industries demand and being the salesperson or sales leader who drives that next wave of disruption are the ones who are the most lucrative.
The opportunity to build their own team and organize the team structure (Geo/SAMs/SMEs etc.) can get a possibly wavering candidate very excited about joining. At this stage in their career, a sales leader should have an entire network of top performers they want to work with, and the possibility of assembling their own dream team is hard to pass up.
Sales leaders are more likely to take a role when they already understand the problem space and can leverage past experiences and successes. If they have a Rolodex of accounts, are an SME in the subject, or have been in the partner ecosystem, they are more likely to understand the company's mission and be excited about joining. They will also have the added benefit of a faster ramp time.
A viable product with product-market fit and at least a few onboarded and happy customers are essential decision criteria. Even the best salesperson will flounder with a product that isn’t delivering on its perceived value.
There is an already established marketing practice focused on brand and pipeline. Sales leaders want to partner with a marketing leader focused on the same outcomes as them, revenue. Marketers who can showcase their dem gen process, sales enablement content and pipeline metrics can help to win over a sales leader.
People want to work with great people so don’t forget to sell the team! Always highlight the history of the founding team and/or their rockstar investors. (i.e., multi-exit Founders, big-name investors, etc.)
Struggling to land sales leaders and executives with the right experience for your organization? Book a meeting with our team and learn how our sales recruitment practices can help target and attract the A-players your organization needs to succeed.