Salespeople, You All Look the Same

If you caught Silicon Valley on HBO Sunday night (spoiler alert), as soon as Gilfoyle (a software developer) half-heartedly quit, he updated his LinkedIn Status and was instantaneously bombarded with phone calls and showered with gifts from recruiters. I laughed out loud, because while that is mostly an exaggeration, recruiters will pounce on developers the second they sense one little thing is throwing them off at their current job.

Have you ever wondered why top developers are so much more discoverable to recruiters than top salespeople? Naturally with the skills gap debate front and center these days, you may attribute it to supply and demand, right? Well that is certainly part of it, but I think it has more to do with data and information… let me explain.

Until recently, I had spent most of my career building recruiting teams at startups and tech companies. Most of the time, the pressure was on and the majority of my team’s time was spent recruiting great developers. One of the things that makes sourcing and recruiting developers less of a headache than salespeople is you can actually start to find and identify data information about them before you make contact. You can dive in to find interesting bits of information about who is talented, their fit in your environment, the right niche skill sets and even how long it would take them to ramp up.

The reason you can uncover this information is due to the amount of data available on the social web. It’s pretty easy to find out what languages they code. It’s common to find a blog post with some interesting side projects, maybe one similar to what the team is building. There may be open-source projects with code on Github, you can grab one of your engineering leads to take a look. In fact, there are actually software platforms like Talent Bin and Entelo that aggregate all of this information automagically, and will send alerts too!

All of these data points start to connect to a story, which the recruiter can use in outreach to an engineer (unfortunately, not all recruiters take the time to research, which could be a whole other post). My point is, this data helps recruiters start to understand who is who. It helps them predict how the engineer may perform in their company’s development environment. There are indicators out there. Hiring teams can start to sense what separates one developer from another. Because they can start to think about them as individuals, recruiters can find the right narrative and spend more time convincing the developers that they are the right fit to sign up. The end result drives up demand for top developers with key skill sets, and they are rewarded for it.

The main differentiator when comparing recruiting top developers to recruiting top salespeople is the amount of data and indicators available to us when we search. Sadly, most sales candidates look the same on paper — there is no way to tell who is a top performer, who digs up 90% of their own leads, who has a similar sales cycle, strong team ranking, excellent win rate, etc. There is nothing available online to let recruiters know they want to spend their time courting you instead of every other salesperson on LinkedIn. Take a look at this image of four account executives’ LinkedIn Profiles, they all work for the same company:

I happen to have the numbers on these four salespeople, and one of them outsells the other three… combined! Yet, there is no way of recruiters knowing. What happens as a result, is “I noticed your excellent background in sales and….blah blah” aka — the same shitty recruiter-spam for everyone! Recruiters literally have to reach out to each and every salesperson at every company they are targeting with what is typically the same message.

This is a ton of painful work for recruiters, it sucks for salespeople, and it leads to a grossly inefficient recruiting life-cycle. It’s also a big contributor to a huge problem — the churn sales teams see every year. Here are a few charts from Bridge Group’s B2B SaaS Sales Survey in 2015 that highlight the churn problem:

According to Bridge Group — Average annual attrition for Sales is at 34%.

12% over 55% attrition for sales — Yikes!

Having the opportunity to recruit both developers and salespeople has given me perspective on this problem, and I’m excited to be working on a solution at Upsider. For the first time, we are making top performing salespeople discoverable in an anonymous fashion through the power of sales metrics and data. Companies hiring on our platform ask to connect with you based on an accurate and aggregated view your metrics based accomplishments, selling environment and compensation information — without your name or company information. It’s a targeted, efficient and safe way to get discovered and courted for your kick-ass revenue driving accomplishments! Plus, you’ll be in the driver’s seat — you can take a meeting to network without it feeling like an interview, and can politely decline if not interested and happy in your current sales job.

We’re hopeful we can start to solve the churn problem by helping salespeople and companies find each other at the right time, for the right reasons. Right now sales people are taking jobs based on time pressure and a false promise on the back end of a comp plan. On the other end, employers feel rushed and cannot always put the time and effort into the interview process and candidate experience.

After only four months in private beta, over 90% of the first introductions we facilitated for our Upsiders were accepted by our employer partners. This efficiency is helping employers take the time they need to build relationships with candidates. Furthermore, the Upsiders who have accepted new opportunities with our employer partners are seeing over a 30% increase in base compensation on average. Because these top performers fit the sales environment, and their outstanding performance history is presented upfront in numbers, employers have been happy to invest in their talent in a big way. Together with data, we at Upsider are really excited to get you the attention your success deserves and help you drive your career forward. You can learn more and apply to our beta here.

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