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The recent SalesTech event, “Attracting and Hiring World-Class Sales Talent” was held on September 7th. The panel of sales leaders was comprised of Alexandra Adamson, Devon Satnick and Eric Rosenthal. They talked about ways of acquiring sales talent and the traits most companies look for in their sales reps.

The following are selected highlights from the event:

About the Speakers

Alexandra Adamson is the Director of Talent at Bowery Capital in New York. She works on human capital strategies for the firm’s entrepreneurs. The strategies include recruiting, interviewing, compensation planning, sales management, and onboarding.

Devon Satnick is the Director of Sales at Betts Recruiting in New York. She helps run the NYC branch and manages a team with SDR and AE recruiters.

Eric Rosenthal is the CRO of Emissary.io. He has a proven track record in effectively building, managing, and scaling global revenue organizations for high growth, SaaS based technology companies.

The Biggest Challenge of Recruiting

The panel agreed that one of the biggest challenges lies of interacting with passive candidates, i.e. candidates who are already happy and making money at their current companies. They stated that while getting good sales talent in the door is not an issue for them, it is a challenge to convince them of the long-term benefits of leaving their company.

Addressing Passive Talent

The panel offered several different insights on how to deal with passive clients. Devon suggested listening to the candidates and to your clients in order to find the best match for both. If you offer the candidates the right opportunity, they’ll go from passive to active. Eric admitted that passive clients are often more interesting. He responds to their passiveness by mirroring it, thus taking the opposite stance of other recruiters who intensify the high-pressure situation.

The Hiring Process

From her experience working on a team that focuses on recruiting SDRs and entry-level hires, Devon knows to look for sales internships, sports participation, or leadership positions on the resumes of those who do not have sales experience. For those that do, she looks for the individual’s revenue and their quota.

Every time he hires a new person, Eric believes the company culture changes. The salesperson must not only fit the sales team, but they must fit into the company. As good a salesperson as some people might be, if they do not integrate well, he advises against hiring them.

Screening for the Best People

Each member of the panel has unique advice on how to find the best people. Devon stated that understanding organization nuances of difference industries could help you identify untapped people. Eric looks for sellers that want to punch above their weight so that he can have confidence that they will work hard for him. He states that half his sales team were first hires at their last companies. Because of this they are able to understand what it means to have to work hard at a company that’s not as established and is more alternative in its methods. Alex believes that particularly in NYC, there is a great deal of finance talent. She has found that finance lends itself well to software sales and sales in general.

Screening Tactics of Choice

Alex notes what pronouns the candidates are using. If they use “I” instead of “we” and are describing success in terms of themselves, she knows they are less ideal, as they are lone wolf types. If they use “we” instead of “I” and describe success as the team’s or company’s success, she knows they are team players. Eric has his candidates present in front of himself and the CEO, thus putting them in a high-pressure situation to see how well they understand their content, perform in QandA’s, and engage with them.

Words of Wisdom

Alex believes that the quality of candidate experience is often overlooked. From the first interview, she advises companies to make the experience of applying golden. She suggests not wasting their time; if you are not going to hire them, explain why you’re passing so that they know you valued their time. This will leave them with glowing things to say about the application process.

Eric recommends not being afraid to give candidates a second chance. If the first interview didn’t go perfectly, but they made a good impression, allow them to do it over.

Devon suggests not getting too caught up in interview etiquette, as there are some things that can easily be taught and coached on. It is important to look out for those things, but not to rely on them solely in the search for the right person.