This is the second post in a series about 10 ways expansion-stage technology companies can differentiate their business and make themselves more appealing to A-level sales talent. Click here to read the intro post to this series.
Finally, after months of searching, you’ve found the perfect sales hire. She’s got all of the requisite skills and experience to make a big impact on your sales team, her personality and management style gel with your company’s culture, and her pedigree is impressive.
All that’s left to do now is extend a competitive offer and wait.
After all, your business is on an incredible trajectory. The company just secured a fresh round of investment capital, your brand is relatively well known in the marketplace, and, in your mind, the sky’s the limit going forward. Why wouldn’t she want to join your team?
Here’s the problem with that approach: Your dream candidate is likely being contacted by several businesses just like yours — maybe even a few sexier companies with even better known brands. As I wrote in the intro to this series, you can’t afford to sit back and wait for that person to realize the value of the opportunity you’re offering, you’ve got to proactively sell it to her.
3 Ways to Make Better Job Offers for Sales Reps
1) Sell your hiring process and timeline
When you’re trying to hire the absolute best sales talent — the kind of people who really move the needle as you scale — you need to move swiftly. The last thing you want is for candidates to question your interest or wonder if they’re really a top priority.
So, as you go into a search and identify the person you want, make sure they know you’re willing to move quickly to bring them aboard, and be crystal clear about the next steps in the process. The longer your search drags on, the more likely it is that you’ll lose candidates to sales hiring behemoths like Google, HubSpot, and others.
2) Pitch candidates on the strategic direction of the company
Most expansion-stage companies can craft compelling arguments for why candidates should want to join their organization. Unfortunately, too often hubris gets in the way of a business’ ability to make those arguments. They assume that because their organization is so innovative, forward thinking, and high-growth, that candidates will see that strategic vision for themselves.
Not so. The best sales candidates want companies to show them — in the most specific terms possible — where the company is headed. Which markets are you targeting? What new products are you working on? Are there any new features you’re planning to introduce into the ecosystem that no other business is offering? Be detailed and transparent. Ultimately, the goal should be to get top candidates so excited about your company’s future that they virtually beg to start tomorrow.
3) Share your investors’ points of view
If your company has raised (or is in the process of raising) capital from VCs or other investors, don’t hesitate to share why those investors were interested in partnering with your company. What did the investor see in your business that prompted them to invest millions of dollars into it? Why did they choose your business over the several other companies they likely considered issuing term sheets to?
That insight can translate to powerful selling points. After all, investors — particularly high-profile VCs — do a lot of homework before they write checks, and much of the diligence they perform will be of particular interest to sales candidates (i.e., growth rate, competitive landscape, economic model, market size, etc.).
If your VC is open to it, you might even consider involving the firm’s partners in the hiring process (particularly for senior-level sales hires). That can be a huge differentiator and have a significant impact on sales candidates who are choosing between several great opportunities. At OpenView, our founding partner, Scott Maxwell, has done this several times — and it’s almost always led to the company landing the candidate they really wanted.
So, What’s Your Hiring Differentiator?
While the three things above might not seem as compelling as culture, perks, and compensation, they can actually play a significant role in keeping top sales candidates engaged. And the longer you keep their attention, the more likely it is that your company will find itself in the running for truly game-changing talent.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, which will focus on the roles that sales training and mentorship, culture/unique benefits, and management style play in attracting the top sales talent.
What do you highlight to make your company stand out in competitive hiring situations?