The 4 competencies you need to get hired

Want to join one of the UK’s Best SaaS Companies To Work For? Here are 4 things you have to be able to do.

In June we staged our first Sales Confidence conference at HereEast, in London’s Olympic Park. We called it SaaSGrowth2018. We had over 200 SaaS professionals in the audience, watching more than 30 of London’s foremost SaaS experts share their knowledge. Even if you couldn’t make it, we want to share the inspiration and education with you through our SaaSGrowth2018 articles.

Jennifer Bers

‘How to hire, onboard, coach and develop successful sales teams’ was the title of one of the afternoon sessions. We were excited to welcome 6 hiring experts to the SaaSGrowth stage to talk about how they mould teams for success.

Our first speaker was Jennifer Bers. Jennifer is VP of Sales at Onfido, who featured high on our Top 50 UK SaaS Companies To Work For list. Jennifer is a long-time friend of Sales Confidence. She spoke at one of our earlier events at Salesforce Tower.

Jennifer’s view is that while hiring is not an exact science, if you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, you’re more likely to make the right hire. As part of Jennifer’s hiring framework, she looks for 4 specific competencies. Here they are.

1 — You can prospect and build a pipeline

‘Sales reps can’t sit back and wait for someone to tee everything up for you. We have awesome SDRs, but if you can’t build a pipeline yourself, it’s not going to work.’

A sales team is just that, a team. If you’re truly hungry and invested in the success of your team, you’ll want to build your own pipeline. Then, when it’s up and running, share the success with your team. It’s essential when creating a pipeline to focus on benefits versus features.

2 — You can close deals

‘Obviously. You’re hiring sales reps. You need someone who can close.’

OK, that’s fair enough. How does Jennifer know that someone can close?

‘I ask them, for the last 4 quarters. What was your number? A really good rep will know to the cent what their numbers were. They will know to the exact per cent. I can tell you mine for the last 8 years!’

Then, it’s all about whether you can solve problems for your customer.

‘I ask them to tell me a time they solved a problem. If they can’t tell you how they solve problems, they won’t be able to close deals. They’re just talking about features and functionality.’

3 — You can impact the business proactively

‘We’re a fast-growing company. We don’t have time for people to sit back and be told what to do. You have to be proactive.’

Sure, there will be an extensive onboarding process when you join a SaaS company, but once you’re up and running, it’s down to you to build your pipeline, to turn up and sell.

‘Can you take a calculated risk? I ask them to tell me about the biggest risk they took in their career. Sometimes someone who you think is a bit tentative turns out to have a spine of steel.’

4 — You have a track record of success

To get hired by Jennifer, you need to demonstrate a history of success. However, success isn’t just numbers.

‘Do they have the foundations? Will they be a great addition to the company? Are they curious? Are you ambitious? Resilient? I ask them to tell me how they turned a customer round when they initially said no. It shows they can reframe the problem and change the customer’s mind. Those deals usually turn out to be the best deals.’

What about you?

Over to you now. When you’re looking to hire people to your sales team, what are the competencies that you’re looking for? How do you get them to demonstrate their expertise? Let us know in the comments.

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