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Hiring – Selecting the Great from the Good

Differentiating the good and great is all-important when you’re hiring. But how do you do it? Let’s find out more.

The cost of a bad hire in your sales team can be devastating in terms of time wasted, revenue lost and momentum squandered. It’s essential that you do everything you can to hire the right salesperson, as well as onboard them correctly and invest in the right tech to help them succeed.

In this article, we’ll look at what makes a great salesperson, rather than merely a good one. Follow our guide for hiring success.

Hiring in SaaS sales is different

What I’ve seen as I help companies achieve success in sales is that the ideal sales hire is different in every company. A rep that may have been successful at a massive company with a salesforce of 800 people may not achieve the same results in a pre-seed stage startup. 

In addition, SaaS sales is very different from other areas of sales. SaaS sales is not about just getting the deal and it’s job done. SaaS is about retention, maximising LTV and building a long-term relationship.

As a result, hiring someone on their track record alone is not advisable. However, there are several traits that I always look for when hiring.

Ideal SaaS sales attributes

Here are the traits I look for when sitting down with a potential new sales hire:

  • Intelligence – Can they master a subject?
  • Work ethic and professionalism – Are they going to put the time and energy in to succeed?
  • Curiosity – This one is non-negotiable. If you’re not curious, you’re not going to be interested in your prospects and be willing to ask probing questions in discovery and throughout the process
  • Coachable – Can they take on feedback and apply it in order to improve?
  • Track record – While previous sales success isn’t essential, I want to see evidence of success in something, like education

How to find them

To find the salesperson who has all of these qualities, I always recommend having a task, assessment or roleplay as part of your hiring process. How you set it up depends on the kind of role you’re hiring for. However, it allows you to see a lot more than you do with competency-based questions only. Textbook questions only get you textbook answers.

Here are some ideas you can try when you’re hiring SDRs:

  • Get them to send you a video talking about something they’re passionate about. This allows you to see their communication and their excitement. If you’re not going to get this from them talking about something they love, you’re highly unlikely to get it from them when they’re calling and talking to prospects
  • If they’re more experienced, ask them to find a company on LinkedIn that fits your ICP, find five names of people you would target (name and job title), then draft an email to one of those people

If you’re hiring AEs, discovery roleplay is an effective way to sort the great from the good. Watch for how they ask questions, active listening, picking up on pain points and how they close the conversation.


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