How to Hire for a SaaS Sales Team

      You’re a Software as a Service (SaaS) founder who is beginning to see success. With a product that is seeing encouraging user adoption, your retention rates are satisfactory, and there are promising signs of revenue growth. However, while these first green shoots of growth are exciting, it’s also an excellent time to ask certain questions,like:

      • How do you grow?
      • What should the next level look like for your products?
      • And importantly, should you hire a sales team to push on to the next frontier?

      Getting your product to the market-leader level in the SaaS space can be challenging. Competition in the space means that you need more than just an excellent product to attain success. You need an efficient sales team. After all, while a great product might sell itself, all-star marketing is the only sure way to drive new leads and expand your market base. 

      For this, you — or your SaaS sales leadership — need to find sales rock stars with the right skill sets. The ideal sales team has exceptional product knowledge and extensive market knowledge and can connect the product as the perfect solution for a prospect.

      However, finding a winning sales team is not a simple task. This is because the group is the ‎primary driver of product acceptance and revenue. This post provides insights and tips to help you recruit the best SaaS sales team.

      How to Define Your Sales Strategy

      It is essential to have the right direction when hiring sales reps. First, determine what sales strategy matches your aspirations as a company, document it, and use these canons as your guiding principles. This might be what sets your team apart in the cut-throat SaaS industry.

      This Harvard Business Review study reveals that around 50% of top-performing sales teams implement standard sales processes that direct team efforts. These processes provide the necessary direction to facilitate growth and a framework that boosts their productivity and ultimately increases profitability.

      How to Identify Critical Sales Skills & Competencies

      It would help if you were specific about the qualities you are looking for in your Saas sales team. Just saying you want a great sales rep will lead to ambiguity, reducing impact. Instead, you should pinpoint a set of hard and soft skills that fit the role and your company culture simultaneously.

      The common skills to look out for include critical thinking, attention to detail, effective communication, networking, competitiveness, teamwork, etc. Some of the often-overlooked skills are itemized below.


      Your sales reps don’t need to have the technical skills of your engineering team. But they should have the proficiency to understand your product and the tech fluency to speak about the features knowledgeably.

      Long-Term Relationship Managers

      SaaS companies usually operate on a subscription basis. Therefore, your sales team must understand the nature of long-term relationships. But, more importantly, they must be able to sustain those relationships and manage them through the good times and the occasional, inevitable downtimes.

      Solid Profiling Ability

      An excellent SaaS sales rep will adequately profile the targeted customer and adjust their strategy to cater to the targets and improve the sales process specifically. SaaS products solve problems, but how they do this is often the most complicated part to communicate. Your salesperson has to be great at identifying the clients’ issues and illustrating how your software addresses that.

      Optimize Your Sales Job Descriptions

      The quality of your job descriptions has a significant impact on the candidates you attract. Job descriptions provide an excellent opportunity to make your value proposition clear. Thus, it is advisable to take a clear and concise approach. Lengthy job descriptions are a turn-off.

      Provide applicants with an overview of the benefits of working for your company. ‎Describe the work environment at your company, the mission, and opportunities for ‎advancement. These pieces of information help you attract serious-minded and top-tier talents. The candidates should read your job description and think, this is the place to be.

      Widen your search net – Use social media

      Social media is an excellent tool if you are looking to attract early career talent and recent grads. This should be part of the broader scheme of combining conventional and non-conventional means of getting top talent.

      Restructure your application process

      Your application process does not need to be complex to find the best team. In fact, a complicated process would scare away the actual talents that you are looking for. In addition, each unnecessary step in the process creates friction.

      There is no perfect formula. But the process typically involves screening the application, initial interview, follow-up interview, and the offer or rejection. For example, the follow-up interview could include a mock presentation on a hypothetical case or a situation where a candidate shadows one of your current employees for a period.

      In all of the processes, create an atmosphere that brings out the best in the candidates and allows you to make your assessment in a relaxed manner.

      Offer Attractive Sales Compensation

      You must be willing to offer the best to recruit the best sales team. Talented salespeople are highly sought-after. The chances are that your competitors are in talks with them too. Be sure to ascertain the industry standard for compensation and be willing to offer above-average compensation. It would help if you were also willing to compliment this with commissions, perks, and other attractive packages that stand you out.

      Onboard efficiently

      The ultimate goal is to get the absolute most from your SaaS sales team. The trick is, the better you get new SaaS sales team members acclimated to your business and up-to-speed, the better you can extract their full potential.

      Great onboarding typically involves certain actionable steps:

      • Create an orientation resource that gives recruits a comprehensive view of their position.
      • Provide thorough education on the software they’ll be selling.
      • Provide training on the software they’ll be using, the buyer personas they’ll be engaging with, and the company’s hacks.
      • Educate them on your competition and your relative strengths and weaknesses.


      SaaS sales is challenging. The climate is competitive and rapidly evolving. The fact is your products are only as good as your sales team. Without suitable persons handling this crucial department, it is hard to progress.

      However, focus on the right things and hire the right people at the right time. This way, you’re going to be able to see your startup go from sales exploration to sales execution and ultimately sales scale.

      Nations Sales Search Firm | Cowen Partners Sales Executive Recruiters


      Our hands-on sales executive recruiters have experience working with private, public, pre-IPO, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million in revenue to Fortune 1000’s or have assets over a billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite – CEOChief Operating OfficerChief Financial Officer, and include vice presidentgeneral counsel, and other director-level leadership roles.

      Check out our industry-leading retained search resources to see why Cowen Partners is a top sales and marketing executive search firm in New York CityAnchorage, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, and beyond:

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