10 Interview Questions Founders Must Ask To Hire Awesome Sales People for a SaaS Company

If you’re the founder of a SaaS company, built an awesome product that’s ready to scale, and struggling to find your first few tech sales stars, you’re not alone. It can be even more challenging if you’ve not done tech sales or recruitment before. You need to make sure you are asking the RIGHT interview questions to identify and hire awesome sales people.

According to the Harvard Business Review, more than 80% of employee turnover is due to bad hiring decisions. You definitely want to avoid making such decisions!

Things To Do Before You To Start Interviewing

Hiring talented tech sales staff is not just important, but absolutely vital to the success of your SaaS product. If you fail to attract the right people to come on board, your company won’t be able to generate the revenue it needs to succeed.

  1. Determining Culture Fit
  2. Testing Their Attitude & Aptitude For The Job
  3. Checking If They Have Established Relationships In Your Industry With Your Target Market
  4. Learning About Their Work Experience
  5. Understanding Their Career Goals

You’ll only need tech sales stars if your sales process is long, and requires in person contact with your target market. This is usually the case for enterprise SaaS tech.

In this post, we’ll cover the 10 most important questions to ask if you’re interested in hiring awesome sales people for your SaaS Company. This is in addition to the usual “tell me about yourself” type questions you may ask. On reading this post, you’ll be more confident as an interviewer, and be much sharper with your tech sales talent hiring decisions. Let’s dig in.

Question 1: What Kind Of Company Culture Do You Believe You’d Fit Best Into?

This is a great question to ascertain what kind of culture the interviewee would fit into. You can delve deeper by asking who their favorite or worst boss was and why, how their coworkers would describe them, what management style they prefer to work with, and what their ideal work environment would be like. Figure out what they don’t like and don’t just stick to the positives to get a full picture of what they’re like.

Question 2: Can You Walk Me Through All The Steps You Follow To Close A Sales Deal?

This question is geared to test the interviewees aptitude. It’s best to know more about their capabilities and what they’ve done, to establish how easily they can do the job. Sales professionals need different competencies these days, and the following graph from HBR might help!


Question 3: How Would You Feel If You Didn’t Make A Single Sale In 6 Months?

With this question, you want to try and suss out the attitude of the interviewee towards rejection and failure. You also want to know if they’re patient to deal with longer sales cycles in the enterprise sales game.

Question 4: Do You Have Established Relationships In The Industry?

As the founder of your business, you’d like to know how soon the tech sales professional you’re hiring can generate revenue. Ideally, you’d like to hire sales professionals who can hit the ground running from day one, to prevent any delays to profitability and cut losses.

Question 5: What Were Your KPIs In Your Previous Tech Sales Role & How Did You Perform Against Them?

You want to find out how good sales reps are at dealing with pressure and meeting their KPIs. Past performance can be a great indicator of future results, which will set your expectations around what results your new hires are likely to generate.

Question 6: What’s My Biggest Risk In Hiring You?

This is a great question, because it will reveal if the sales rep is capable of putting himself/herself in your shoes, to understand your goals, and is genuinely wanting to help you succeed. You want to know what they think is your biggest risk, so you have an idea about what your loss could be if they turned out to be a bad hiring decision.

Question 7: What Do You Know About Our Product & How Would You Sell It To Prospects?

The answer the interview gives will show the extent to which the sales rep has gone to research your product, and understand the value you’re bringing to the market. Ideally, the interviewee would’ve even signed up for a demo of your product via your website (if you offer one) to know more about your product.

Question 8: Describe Your Technical Background. How Will It Help You In This Job?

Great tech sales execs aren’t just good listeners and talkers. They’ve also got a background in technology, and can have sophisticated conversations with a technical audience. Understand how technical the interviewee’s background is, and how simply they can explain complex technical concepts to evaluate how effective they could be in their role.

Question 9: What Are Your Salary & Performance Incentive Expectations?

While this one is a commonly asked question, you should make sure you understand the interviewee’s expectations as clearly as possible. Salary expectations & incentives should be clear from the get go to avoid any confusion once they begin the role.

Question 10: Do You Have Any Questions For Me?

Through the quality of their questions, you’ll be able to understand how they think, and if they ask intelligent questions. This is especially important as an enterprise sales tech executive.

Wrapping it up, try to build the persona of the ideal tech sales person for the role you’re hiring for. It’ll become a lot easier to then shortlist candidates, conduct interviews and eventually hire the right person for the role.

Four Basic Steps to Hire the Right Person

A poor hiring decision will affect your bottom line. Not only will have you wasted your time and money in the recruiting and hiring process, you now will have to spend time fixing the problem. To help you avoid those potential pitfalls with the hiring process, we have outlined these four basic steps to hire the right person.

Eventually you may need to go through the “de-hiring” process, which can be expensive and time-consuming as well. In the meantime, company morale, your reputation as an employer and customer service may have suffered.  There are a number of things you can do to assist yourself in selecting the best candidate for your needs. Some of the more common ones are resume screening, interviewing, testing and reference checking.

RESUME SCREENING

The purpose of screening a resume is to determine if the applicant has the basic knowledge and skills needed to do the job you’re trying to fill. You should establish a list of qualifications that a successful candidate must have in order to do the job. Look for these qualifications when reviewing resumes. If the applicant lacks any of the qualifications on your must-have list, you eliminate him or her from further consideration. For example, if you are recruiting a short-order cook, you might want to insist on previous cooking experience, and only candidates who have this experience are invited for an interview. On a practical basis, the more resumes you have for any particular opening, the more stringent you can be in developing a must-have list.

INTERVIEWING

There are three crucial elements that a candidate must possess in order to succeed within a job: knowledge, skills and attitude. From resume screening, you can usually determine if a candidate has (or at least claims to have) the basic knowledge and skills to do the job. It takes an interview to determine if he or she really does. In addition, the interview is the best place to determine attitude.

When interviewing, stick to the 80/20 rule: the candidate should be doing 80 per cent of the talking; while you ask questions and guide the process for the other 20 per cent. Most of your questions should be open-ended to encourage discussion. These questions usually begin with “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “tell me about” or “describe.” Closed questions are used only when you require a specific yes or no answer. All of your questions must be related to the needs of your job and not discriminatory from a human-rights perspective. For example, if the job involves shift work, you could ask, “Is there anything that would limit you from working shifts?” rather than “Who will look after your children if you have to work shifts?”

When interviewing, it is important to probe the candidate’s experience to substantiate his or her skill set. The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. For example, if an element of your job is working under pressure for periods of time, you might ask your candidates to describe a job where they worked under pressure. Remember, if you ask a hypothetical question (“what would you do if….”), you will get a hypothetical answer, and some candidates have enough imagination to create some extraordinary answers. Your hiring decision should be based on facts, not speculation.

TESTING

Administering a test may help in understanding if the candidate is qualified, skilled enough or has the abilities to perform the job for which you are hiring. Testing can include a wide range from cooking a dish, formatting an excel spreadsheet or handling a hypothetical guest complaint; so it is important that you determine whether testing is necessary for the position you are hiring for and if what is being tested is relevant to the candidate successfully performing the job.

REFERENCE CHECKS

Check at least two business references on each finalist. Research shows that up to one-third of applicants embellish their employment history. By checking references, you are validating the information you have received to ensure that your candidate has the knowledge, skills and attitude they have presented.

 

Copyright © 2016 go2 Tourism HR Society. All Rights Reserved. Republished under license.”