Attracting technology sales talent

The landscape
The Dutch technology market has been growing rapidly in the last years. The economy is booming again and a lot of innovation is taking place in the field of cloud, cyber security, data & analytics, SaaS and IoT. European companies are investing heavily in their digital transformation. As a result of all of this, established technology players in the market such as Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft are aggressively hiring sales professionals, so that they can answer the customer demand for technology.

Parallel to this development we see that (domestic and foreign) technology start-ups are popping up at a large scale in Holland. The climate for foreign start-ups/scale-ups is attractive and a lot of technology companies have their EMEA headquarters set up in the Netherlands. As you can imagine, these start-ups are hiring as many Sales professionals as they can, in order for them to become profitable as quickly as possible

The challenge
Hiring and holding on to the best sales professionals in the market is becoming more and more challenging for technology companies. Your company’s sales team can literally make or break your company in the following years.
But we all know what happens when supply stays equal and demand rises astronomically. Prices (OTE salaries) rise astronomically too. Sales professionals are approached daily by recruiters and feel that they are in high demand. And guess what? Sales people are generally quite money driven.

A lot of research has been done on the performance of sales teams. Interestingly, the Pareto-principle is very applicable in sales performance. Often is reported that (approximately) 80% of sales results is accomplished by 20% of the sales people. Does this apply for your company’s sales team as well?

Fact is, this 20% pool is becoming harder and harder to find, reach and attract for your company. Because when you read the sales vacancies on LinkedIn, you’ll notice that every company out there is looking for that “top biller” or “presidents club winner”. That’s the top 20% everyone is after, they’re not after the bottom 80%. But in the end when company recruiters and/or hiring managers simply don’t succeseed in attracting top billers, they will settle for less and hire an average performer. Because that is the highest quality candidate they could find for their vacancy. They will not consider working with a specialized agency, because that isn’t their policy. Their policy is to only work with their internal resources, for the sake of cost reduction.

What is the difference between the annual sales performance of your company’s best performer v.s. an average performer? I’m guessing it is a 6- or 7-figure difference, am I right? So this means that a lot of companies out there are saving a couple of thousand euro’s, to then miss out on millions of potential revenue.

The solution
So how are you going to stand out from the 4100+ other software sales vacancies currently (just!) on LinkedIn? How are you going to attract the 20% talent that generally doesn’t even apply to vacancies, because they are always being headhunted?

Nobel Recruitment has drafted a list of the top 100 technology companies in Holland, and has developed a database of all the sales professionals working at these companies (around 3.000 sales professionals). We focus on the top 20% (around 600 sales professionals), and want to know everything about them. What technology do they specialize in?

Who are their customers (IT, business, C-level etc.)? which industries do they sell to? What makes them tick and under which circumstances would they consider making a move? By doing this, Nobel Recruitment is giving technology companies access to a pool of top performing salespeople.

General advice
Besides working with a specialized agency, there are a lot of things that technology companies can do to attract (and hold on to) more commercial talent:

Make applying as easy as possible. Nobody wants to fill out your 100 rule form on your company career page. It’s 2017!
Differentiate. What do you have to offer compared to your competitors? Perhaps you can lay out a clear career path for candidates?
Pay up. If you want the best sales people, you will have to pay them above average. Nobel Recruitment is working on an OTE salary benchmark for technology sales roles in Holland. Email info@nobelrecruitment for more information.
Keep your staff happy. Make sure that your sales team is working in a perfect environment, the atmosphere is excellent and pay (and promote) them generously, so they aren’t triggered by any other job offers. Train them well, offer incentives and be a good manager.
If you have any questions about Nobel Recruitment’s services, or just want to chat about technology sales recruitment, please contact Vladan Soldat ,E: T:+31 (0) 20 334 8449.