You need a new job description to attract the SaaS sales talent you are actually looking for. The old approach to hiring go-to-market (GTM) professionals cannot keep up with the changes impacting the technology sector, and is a roadblock to finding your ideal “unicorn seller” to help you upscale your organization. Betts is here to help you redefine what this top candidate looks like and revolutionize your search with data-driven best practice.
Welcome to the SaaS Sales Job Description 2.0:
The Problem with Old School SaaS Sales Job Descriptions
Betts hosted a webinar with Scale Venture Partners on Hiring for Sales Success in 2023 that covered many of these same points. The key takeaway from this webinar as outlined by Betts COO Patrick Kellenberger and SVP’s Executive in Residence, Shane McCauley, is that the reigning one-size-fits-all job description for tech sales roles is outdated and counterproductive.
For over a decade, SaaS and other technology sectors have relied on the same recycled JD with the same rehashed criteria. However, these requirements do not align with the modern industry’s changing demands, and many companies are having a hard time finding the right sales talent to help them scale. Talent acquisition needs to evolve to keep pace with the changes in tech and empower the organization to thrive in this new environment.
You can view the webinar here on-demand to get more background on the key topics covered in this blog.
What is a Sales Motion?
Before we go further, let’s dive into a key term you will see pop up in this new description: your sales motion.
A sales motion in simplest terms is your strategy or your methodology for closing deals, it’s your playbook, your targets, your quotas and more. For venture capital-funded startups and other growth-oriented organizations, it’s also an integral part of your DNA and defines your company’s objectives. Before you can define what your ideal sales job description looks like, you need to be clear on what your sales motion is and be able to identify candidates whose experience aligns with your goals.
The Modern SaaS Sales Role & Landscape
Economic factors throughout 2023 made businesses more wary about what they were paying for and by how much. Tech sales have gone through a full-circle loop back to product-centric pitching in order to keep prospects and clients engaged. On top of this, rising inflation and interest rates have caused a slowdown of venture capital investment outside of the AI and machine learning sector, putting more pressure on technology startups to consolidate their resources.
All of this is transforming the landscape for SaaS sales, and prompting organizations to pivot on how they define the role and responsibilities of each position in their GTM strategy. While this shift has allowed smaller and mid-sized tech businesses to adapt in the short-term, it’s presenting its own set of challenges to long-term scalability.
Crossover Between Job Descriptions
Role function is better defined in a normal, traditional sales lane, where the job description aligns more clearly with its channel. Everyone knows where each title lives in each lane for SaaS sales and what their responsibility is:
- Lead Generation – Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) generate and qualify sales leads
- Sales – Account Executives (AEs) sell to prospect and client accounts
- Management – Sales Managers manage teams of AEs and SDRs
- Scaling – The VP of Sales focuses on scaling for the whole sales team
However, what we’re seeing currently is that most core tech sales roles are having to cross over into the lane before theirs to fill in gaps. Many positions have to take over the previous sales lane to ensure coverage and more efficiently close deals:
- Lead Generation – AEs crossover to lead gen and qualification up to 70% of the time to make up for sales or business development gaps
- Sales – 80% Sales Managers are on 50% or more of prospect and customer calls to help Account Executives close those deals
- Management – Sales VPs are taking over to manage AE teams 50% of the time
- Scaling – CEOs or other C-level executives are stepping in to help operations for the sales team
While it’s more effective in the interim to have Sales Managers on calls and VPs managing teams, this creates a bottleneck for your boots on the ground. Account Executives are being tasked with more responsibilities than their role previously required, which inevitably leads to burn out. Despite the cycle of layoffs in tech throughout 2022 and 2023, the Great Resignation is still in effect for top talent at midmarket and enterprise businesses, with the top catalyst being work-life balance.
Optimizing Your Sales Team for Resilience & Scalability
Attrition is often an elephant in the room for GTM talent acquisition in the technology sector, where filling some positions seems to become a game of musical chairs between wrong fit hires, resignations and layoffs. As we can see with the rise of fractional executives in tech startups, even in the short-term many SaaS companies are running into obstacles to scalability.
Developing a job description 2.0 for your unicorn seller should be your starting ground for defining where each title contributes to your sales motion. Factors like building resilience and scalability into your sales team should be top of mind when deciding what this ideal candidate looks like.
The Unicorn Seller & New Job Description for SaaS
Building the job description that will attract your unicorn requires you to take a step back and start from the ground up. Consider what has stood out about your top-performing sales reps and how their skills aligned with your sales motion. Beginning with this, we can start reevaluating what your ideal candidate looks like.
The Traditional One-Size-Fits-All Tech Sales Job Description
Before we go forward, we need to look back at the past to improve on what is not working. Everyone who has worked in go-to-market strategy or talent acquisition has seen the traditional plug-and-play template for the average tech sales job description at one point or another. It doesn’t take a lot of dissection to see where this near-blank slate is lacking in substance:
- Bachelor’s Degree
- 1+ years of experience in sales
- “Go-getter,” “self-starter,” “hunter mentality,” etc.
- Strong sense of ownership over the sales process
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
- Etcetera, etcetera…
This type of approach was adequate for the trends of previous years, but not for modern sales hiring demands. Your new JD needs to be designed not to be broad, vague and applying to as many candidates as possible. It must speak to that smaller pool of talent that knows your part of the industry inside and out, that has the core skills you are looking for and understands your sales motion deeply.
Creating Job Description 2.0 for Your Unicorn Seller
To build a new job description built around your ideal sales rep, include the following:
- About the Role
This should be the shortest and most high-level part of your JD, but it still needs to clearly position the purpose and responsibilities of the role. Include a short “sizzle” statement of your company, the key objectives for the job and what main challenge it will solve for your business (e.g., revenue target).
- Industry Experience
Industry experience requirements for a unicorn seller must be specific and fit with your space in the market. For example, if your company sells an AI tool then they should not only be familiar with and experienced in selling artificial intelligence and machine learning value points, but they should also understand how these value points vary for the specific personas and titles they will be engaging with. Additionally, their market experience should ideally include the type of organization you are; for example, if you are a VC-backed startup, then they should understand the idiosyncrasies and challenges of your current stage and what you need to get to the next round.
- Relevant Sales Motion
Your sales motion qualifications should be data-driven first, with your ideal candidate demonstrating they can hit both revenue targets and jump right into the methodologies your current team is employing or ramping up to. Your unicorn seller archetype will be someone who can handle – and surpass – your target deal size and hit your ideal quota, as well as the length of your average sales cycle. They should also have firsthand experience with the type of go-to-market and sales strategies you deploy, and know how to align with all the steps included in your sales motion for close deals.
- Sales Skills
You want to do the opposite of the traditional one-size-fits-all sales job description here – 2.0 should filter out your superstar candidates from the pool when it comes to unique and applicable skill sets. You don’t have to go overboard, and for now focus on 3 to 5 core skills that reflect your culture and your sales motion the best. Keep in mind that while some skills will be coachable, some critical strengths just can’t be taught. There will be competencies such as emotional intelligence and ability to relate with client or prospect reps that some candidates will be inherently better in than others, and you should make clear if this is a requirement for your sales motion.
Lay out all of the benefits available through your company and establish any incentives that will be included with this role. Stay on top of the average compensation rates and trends for each particular role in tech sales you are hiring for, but establish a baseline target to keep control of your Cost-Per-Hire. Keep in mind that benefits – both tangible and those that reflect your culture – are increasingly a key driver for top sales talent in the midmarket.
- About the Hiring Team
Don’t be afraid to put a human face to your job descriptions. Let the candidate know who they will be interviewing and engaging with, including the hiring manager and who they would be reporting to. Establish early to your ideal candidate that they will be interacting with people and not a screen or piece of paper.
Key Interview Questions to Ask Top SaaS Sales Talent
Refining your job description for your key tech sales hires will help narrow your search for unicorn talent, but you will still need to interview applicants to confirm they align with your sales motion and objectives. Refer to our resources below for the best ways to engage candidates and the top questions you should ask to uncover if they are the right fit for your team:
- 10 Tips on How to Conduct an Interview Effectively
- Key Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring SaaS Sales Talent
- Key Questions to Ask When Hiring an Account Executive
- Key Questions to Ask When Hiring a Customer Success Manager
- Key Questions to Ask When Hiring Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)
Craft a New Job Description to Land Your Unicorn Sales Rep with Betts
Starting essentially from scratch when crafting your tech sales job description 2.0 won’t be easy, but Betts Recruiting is here to help you produce an optimized JD tailored to your unicorn seller. Leveraging our experience working with over 10,000 startups, our team will work with you to identify the top skills your ideal candidate needs, and streamline your recruiting search to find and engage job seekers who align with these goals.
Contact Betts today to get started on building your new job description to attract and captivate your unicorn sales talent.