European SaaS vendor

THE HIRING CHALLENGE!

This was a replacement hire.

The previous job holder has worked for large household name employer brands and big-name companies with 30k plus employees. This company had 350.

In the former employer companies, the person had benefited from established processes, was supported by a big team and had lots of resources.

Previously the job holder had a team of 30, now had a team of 3 with planned modest team size growth. This was a player-manager, hands-on kind of role.

For this company, sales operations were more of a blank sheet of paper. Work in progress, with some good things and some chaos. The job holder, whilst only in the position for 3 months, felt this a fish out of water…

It wasn’t working for them, and it wasn’t working for the company.

In scale-up mode, this German HQ SaaS vendor has its sights on Euro 100M+ revenue and a Unicorn valuation, its goals were dependent on scaling up sales on a global basis.

To do so successfully and effectively, they needed to be super smart in areas including accuracy of forecasting, delivering on monthly and quarterly revenue commits, effective market planning, optimising sales coverage, sales opportunity conversion, new logo wins by number and value, upsell cross sell targets, and hiring at pace quality high calibre types and quality onboarding to get reps up and running, effective and hitting the numbers inside 6 months.

Current sales operations were inadequate, and it needed to be changed fast.

We were instructed to find a replacement hire.

In scale-up mode, this European SaaS vendor has its sights on Euro 100M+ revenue and a Unicorn valuation, its goals were dependent on scaling up sales on a global basis.

To do so successfully and effectively, they needed to be super smart in areas including accuracy of forecasting, delivering on monthly and quarterly revenue commits, effective market planning, optimising sales coverage, sales opportunity conversion, new logo wins by number and value, upsell cross sell targets, and hiring at pace quality high calibre types and quality onboarding to get reps up and running, effective and hitting the numbers inside 6 months.

Current sales operations were inadequate, and they needed to be changed fast.

We were instructed to find a replacement hire.

THE APPROACH.

The mechanics of sales reporting are pretty universal however, when it comes to market planning and sales enablement, such activities can be expected to be performed better, if the job holder has familiarity with the industry and app areas, in this case, financial/business intelligence apps.

We discussed the requirements of the job holder with the CRO and a person criterion.

Next, create a candidate briefing document (PDF) that accurately outlines the nature of the opportunity, why it should appeal and what’s required.

And developing a roadmap for our search…

  • Identifying the ideal source backgrounds of the individuals, types of companies, in this case, SaaS vendors, three types: immediate competitors, vendors in adjacent areas namely financial apps, procurement… and thirdly other relevant business app vendors.

Focus placed on people with an ideal background, not a big company one.

  • A key criterion was to hire someone who’d, at some point in recent years and for some meaningful time, had previously worked successfully and happily in a small-mid-sized business.
  • Identifying all the specific companies in the three SaaS categories (105 target source companies, 31 were deemed the best sources and subject to deep research).
  • Identify all the relevant “A” player talents and reach out to them via LinkedIn and… using our contacts.
  • One of whom had worked for the #1 vendor in our clients’ industry sector and previously a key BI vendor the key top of the market competitor, whom offered up 3 ideas of his own and acted as a sounding board on 3 others. What were these people like, and who are/is the best? More about this later.
  • We had conversations with 32 people, of which we chose to interview 10 and of whom we chose to recommend 5 on the shortlist.
  • It wasn’t a difficult decision for our client, one of the people who’d been recommended to us was ideal, the referrer knew it, we knew it and our client knew it within 30 mins… although of course three further interviews followed, and an offer accept…

 

THE RESULTS

The offer was made to and accepted by the EMEA Sales Ops Director of the Gartner recognised market lead vendor. Great kudos, a super positive message to send to the marketplace and internally that this company is going places and becoming a top-tier member in their industry.

With 75+ sellers across 3 continents and plans to grow this to 150, having an effective Global sales ops function is a pre-requisite.

Not just a statement hire… but a great pragmatic one too. As the CRO stated, once the new hire had been on board for two months…

I’ve never before had the benefit of such reports, meaningful data and insights.

We’re ahead in sales ops, beyond my expectations and now have a powerful platform rapidly taking hold to support our ambitious plans to double revenue and ultimately move towards an exit.