SDR Compensation

Sales Development Representative Compensation Guide

On-target earnings (OTE) are a great way to motivate Sales Development Reps (SDRs). This policy will help them perform better and generate more sales-qualified leads. If their base salary and variable pay depend on performance, they’ll work hard to meet their goals.

You must consider several factors for a sales compensation plan to be effective. Failing to do so risks demotivating or depressing your SDRs—which could hurt profits and employee retention.

However, when done right, SDRs can become productive and motivated and create more sales opportunities.

But what goes into effective commission plans? What should you consider when developing yours? In this post, we’ll look at these questions in more detail and give you the steps you’ll need to follow to build your company’s sales development compensation plan.

What makes commission plans effective? What should yours include?

Here are some ideas.

SDR Compensation plan

Why Have a Sales Development Compensation Plan?

Before discussing how to create a sales development compensation plan, let’s review why you would want one to begin with. These are the main benefits of having a well-thought-out sales compensation plan.

  • Incentivizes SDRs
  • Increased transparency
  • More structure
  • Easier planning and budgeting

Now that we understand why let’s look at the how.

Building an Effective SDR Compensation Plan

Some of the following steps may vary based on your specific needs. Some businesses may not need all the steps, while others may need more.

Determine On-Target Earnings

On-target earnings (OTE) are an SDR’s annual base salary plus on-target commissions (OTC). Consider national, local, and regional average SDR OTE. Glassdoor and PayScale can help you calculate an accurate price estimate.

From there, you can adjust the OTE based on the following factors:

  • Experience
  • Job complexity
  • Product
  • Benefits gained
  • Employee Attrition rate
sales recruiting agency

Decide Upon Pay Mix

Pay mix is an SDR’s base salary to variable pay ratio. This reflects the risk of earning the OTE. For instance, some SDRs could perceive a 40/60 base salary/commission pay mix as too risky.

If your base salary is too low, SDR motivation and company performance will suffer. If your base salary is too high, your SDRs won’t gain if they hit their goals. Keeping SDRs productive requires the right pay mix. Like OTE, you can check national, regional, and local averages to compare prices. In the Tech and SaaS world, we find that 65 – 75% base is fairly common.

Measuring SDR Performance

After determining OTE and pay mix, decide how to measure SDRs’ performance. On what metric will your quotas be based? Finally, focus on revenue-generating activities for these metrics.

Focusing on a metric like call volume emphasizes quantity over quality. For example, an SDR can make 50 calls per day without generating a single sales opportunity. Therefore, it’s better to use a metric tied to quality, such as sales qualified prospects (SQO) and sales qualified leads (SQL).

Setting Quotas

As an example of setting quotes, we’ll look at the SQO metric.

SDRs, on average, usually generate seven SQOs per month or about one every three working days. You can set quotas and adjust as necessary from this average, depending on your company.

When setting quotas, ensure they’re realistic. According to research, 68% of SDRs meet their quotas. With that in mind, you should aim for an achievable quota between 60 and 70% of your SDRs.

Sales Development Representative Compensation

Thresholds and Accelerators

Using thresholds and accelerators can improve SDR performance. They can recognize high-achievers and motivate low-performers.

Thresholds are minimum performance levels below which an SDR does not earn any commission. Typically, this threshold would fall between 40 and 50%.

On the other hand, Accelerators motivate SDRs by increasing commission rates once they meet their quota. Say an SDR’s quota is nine SQLs per month, and they’re paid 70/30. With accelerators, you can increase the commission for high performers. 

Establishing a Performance Period

After tackling the above tasks, determine the period over which you’ll measure SDR performance. SDRs can achieve results faster than sales reps whose commissions depend on closed sales. Usually, this will be monthly, with commissions calculated at the end of the month.

Testing Your Compensation Plan

After planning, you can execute. But it’s a good idea to test your plan before implementing it on SDRs. This will show you how well it works and if you missed any issues when developing the compensation plan.

Use historical data to test your plan’s parameters. If historical data is not available, try using hypothetical SDRs. After getting the results, you should be able to determine if your pay is competitive and sustainable.

tech sales jobs

The One-Size-Fits-All Problem

In short, one size does not fit all.

As good an idea is to research what other companies are doing and paying, copying them may not work well. Instead, it would help to consider individual factors such as your business’s size, market maturity, product maturity, and customer segmentation.

More importantly, as your sales teams and company mature, you should be prepared to tweak your SDR compensation plan to keep ahead of the game.

A Plan In Action

Depending on the scale of your business and the number of SDRs you have, you may find it challenging to keep up on all the calculations at first. That’s why it’s essential to have your plan laid out in advance, tested, and adjusted where necessary.

The result should be a satisfied SDR crew who are motivated to work on developing your sales and who feel encouraged by upper management.

If you need help assembling a sales team that fits with your compensation plan, let Rainmakers help! Start browsing for applicants now!

Salespeople get a negative reputation for “only caring about money.”  I am sure that most of you have heard this and many probably believe it.  In fact, this doesn’t seem like a controversial statement at all.

Let’s look at the data and see if this is true

As a reminder, Rainmakers is the leading software and community for hiring SaaS sales professionals like Account Executives and Sales Development Reps.  We have collected data from thousands of candidates working across thousands of companies in tech.

Entry-level Account Executives and Sales Development Reps

When we look at salespeople earlier in their sales career, like SDR’s and Junior AE’s, we do see a demand for higher salaries.  On average salespeople with a base salary from $40k-$70k are looking for a pay increase of ~$15K in their next role.  While this may seem like a lot, these are generally people that are earlier in their career and hungrier. They likely don’t have a lot of savings and are looking to level up in their careers.  Many of these folks are looking to be promoted from an SDR to an AE, which also naturally comes with a pay increase.  On the hiring side, this is why it can be challenging to hire “experienced SDR’s” with only a small increase in comp.  These salespeople are looking to take their career to the next level. (Side note- if you do need to hire experienced SDR’s, message me as Rainmakers has helped a lot of companies here).

Mid-level reps

Looking at salespeople in the $70k-$80k base range, they are looking for an ~$8k pay bump.  These are still reps earlier in their career and they are looking to continue to move up.

However, once we get beyond that comp level, things start to change.  When we look at reps with a $80k-$140k base, these reps are only looking for on average a ~$3k bump.  This is pretty insignificant at these levels – only a 3% or less increase in base. 

Enterprise salespeople

And let’s take a look at reps at the next level.  Reps making +$140k are actually open to DECREASES in base and this decrease increases as their base increases.  So these are the top, highest paid reps and they “don’t care about money?”

When we actually look into the data, we will see that salespeople don’t only care about money.  When salespeople are younger and earlier in their career, building their life, learning, of course they want to get promoted and earn more.  And the ones that continue to progress deserve that too, as they are generating significant value for their companies.  *Remember that salespeople are what is driving the majority of revenue at most SaaS companies.* Most people in all industries, earlier in their career would be looking to make more money. This is not something unique to salespeople.

But once salespeople get to a mid-level and higher, money becomes significantly less important.  These people may be looking for a small bump, of course people like to feel wanted and appreciated.  But really other factors are more important than just the cash.  Experienced salespeople are not looking to change jobs just to make $3k more. 

Once salespeople are at the higher levels of comp, salespeople are legitimately open to make less money.   Why would they want to switch jobs and make the same or less money?  

Changing the narrative

Let’s change the narrative and start spreading the truth about salespeople. Salespeople aren’t just hired guns that only care about money. Salespeople care about product, culture, team, growth, and much more.  They want to find where they and their skills fit best and where they can contribute strongly to their teams and companies.

Best Software for Salespeople

Even though it appears that COVID-19 is slowing down, it does not change the fact that the virus has changed the world around it. Nobody saw a crisis of this magnitude happening, but it has opened our eyes to expose some of the flaws in the current ways we do things.

The economy will likely be dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 for years to come. The way in which business is conducted has changed right before our eyes, but is that a bad thing? While change is scary, it usually is necessary to grow. As businesses reopen, change must be made to accommodate our new world. 

One of the main ways businesses will be different in the post-COVID-19 world is that there will be an even more significant emphasis on using technology in day-to-day operations. Hundreds of business tech tools are available, but only some will be helpful for every job. Knowing which tool to use and when can be tricky! Luckily for you, we put together this quick overview of some of the most popular tools to use in the sales space.

1) Customer Relationship Management Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a must-own tool to take your sales team to the next level. CRM helps manage your company’s interactions with any customer or potential customers. 

CRM tools allow you to document everything about a customer. From the first point of contact with a customer to when they leave, it will all be documented on a platform. The value of this information is immeasurable. Furthermore, after collecting this data, you can better understand a customer’s wants and needs.

Your sales team will benefit the most from CRM because of these key features;

  1. Document every interaction with a customer
  2. Allows teams to track leads, improving conversion rates
  3. Email integration, as well as email tracking
  4. Sales forecasting based on data analytics
  5. Completely remote platform with internal and external messaging capabilities 

A CRM program gives you a complete overview of your company-client interactions in one convenient location. The real value comes with what your company decides to do with this information. For example, say you realize that many customers leave after two years, could there be a reason? Or is it just a coincidence? CRM software will help you answer these questions. 

If your company is not using a CRM tool already, we recommend Salesforce. Salesforce is an industry leader among CRM providers. Their platform is compelling yet simple and easily customizable to fit any sales team’s needs.  

An industry-leading platform will come with a hefty price tag, however. Salesforce’s pricing scheme dictates how many features you want and how many users will be on the forum. A company will need to pay per person using the platform, and prices can range from $25 per user per month to $300 for each user. 

If you are interested in trying a CRM tool but are wondering if it is worth paying loads of money for, there are alternatives available.

Hubspot offers a free-to-use CRM tool. This tool is excellent for small sales teams or those about paying for a CRM tool. The free version of Hubspot’s tool is rather basic but will provide a good overview of using a CRM platform. As you use the platform, you can add features for a cost. Depending on how many parts you add, Hubspot can be just as powerful as Salesforce but as expensive.

Whatever choice you make, expensive, cost-effective, or somewhere in between, CRM software is a must for your sales team.

2) Prospecting Tools

While Salesforce and Hubspot are great at tracking leads, they are not used to discovering tips. Finding relevant authorities can be the most time-consuming and tedious process for a sales professional. However, there are tools today to help cut down on time wasted qualifying leads, resulting in a more robust sales funnel.

Finding leads has never been easier with the advancement of technology. Almost any person’s title, email address, home address, and phone number can be found online. However, most companies do their best to keep their employees’ information private; this is where prospecting tools are helpful.

Tools such as Zoominfo can optimize your team’s sales process by alleviating the time spent building up the top of the sales funnel. Zoominfo will allow you to discover different B2B prospects based on criteria. For example, sales teams can find companies based on location, revenue, NAICS or SICS codes, employee count, etc. Once a list of companies is established, Zoominfo can pull specific employee contact information from each company.

If people have any issues with Zoominfo, their pricing model could be more specific and non-transparent. Each company pays for several credits. One credit equates to one contact discovered. Each company is given a different price for a bulk amount of credits, so knowing an exact price is a lot of work. It is agreed that one Zoominfo credit equals about $1.12. Depending on how many leads you need a month, Zoominfo can become quite costly.

There are alternatives to Zoominfo in the prospecting space, but Zoominfo is generally considered the industry standard.

Hunter is a less-extensive version of Zoominfo that can be used for free. Like Zoom, users can find a person’s contact information using Hunter, but the tool is less reliable. Hunter is an excellent introduction to prospecting tools, as each user gets fifty free credits to use each month. Like Hubspot’s CRM tool, Hunter can be upgraded to be more efficient but costly.

Building your sales funnel has never been easier than now with the invention of prospecting tools. 

3) Presentation Software

As remote work becomes more of a regularity in the workforce, sales pitches will need to evolve. In-person, PowerPoint or Google Slides still suffice, but if you send sales decks to prospects online, a more sophisticated software offering is recommended.

Most people probably need to realize that other presentation software options are available. For years, people have just used PowerPoint and thought nothing of it. But today, other platforms offer more features than the software already installed on your computer.

Online presentation software like Digideck can create beautiful presentations that deliver meaningful immersive experiences. In addition, Digideck allows users to create media-heavy presentations that stand out amongst the crowd.

Besides being great to look at, Digideck presentations come loaded with back-end features that are useful for the presenter. Once the deck has been presented or sent, Digideck will track how the prospect digests the information. If the viewer spends more time on one slide over another, or if they keep reopening the deck, the presenter will be able to see. This data can be helpful when pitching a similar presentation or trying to close a deal.

Digideck will be the product with the steepest learning curve. To truly harness the power of online presentation software, the user must be well-versed in technology, specifically graphic design and video production, basic understanding of UX/UI, and be a great public speaker.

sales recruiting agency

Final Words

Remember that these tools are costly and that your business may need more money to purchase each device you want. If there is a tool that you need but cannot afford today, an online-based business loan may be worth exploring. An online loan can be used the same way as a regular business loan, but applicants typically receive their money much faster than a traditional loan.

Remember, the software offerings and tech tools continue! So many more tools and resources are available to take your sales team to the next level. So always keep improving your business, and you can handle anything thrown your way.

Are you a sales pro looking to elevate your career? Check out what Rainmakers has to offer!

Tech to Improve Remote Sales Team Productivity 

Now that you’ve landed the sales job you’ve been searching for, you might be thinking about some added benefits that could make your day-to-day a little bit easier. Often, working from home is a luxury most businesses don’t think to offer to their sales professionals. However, sales jobs offer a unique opportunity: as long as you, the salesperson, are producing results on track with your assigned goals, you can work from just about anywhere with your laptop, an internet connection, and your mobile device. 

Find the Right Setting

With tech sales specifically, the sales process can be completed with communication, and most importantly, research. Research, or preparation, is a large part of the sales process, and this is mainly completed through internet searches and reading.

A quiet, more comfortable setting, much like one’s own home or a small coffee shop, encourages better focus and dedication to the task of research. A noisy office setting with coworkers and conversation as a distraction, doesn’t exactly promote in-depth focus on discovering the best angle to pitch your products or services to new customers. If employees set themselves up for success, working remotely in a productive setting—with the proper tools—they will have great success in achieving their sales goals, whether they’re traveling to the next client or settled in a local coworking space.

Strengthen Communication

Employers and salespeople alike may worry about the difficulties of team collaboration and communication when working from home, or anywhere outside of the office, making the use of the right technology and tools necessary to help eliminate these concerns. 

Keeping in close contact with team members when working on a project is a must. Unified communication software allows for all digital, work-related communication channels to be in-sync with one another. This makes efficient communication more than possible for remote sales professionals. Not only this, but conversations can take place digitally, just as they would in an office setting, helping collaboration and communication feel natural. Remote employees will still feel connected to their coworkers working in the office or elsewhere.

Additionally, having the right communication tools will allow for excellent discourse with the customer, the most important piece of the sales equation. Being able to reach your customers and prospects with reliable platforms from any location will help keep the sales process effortless from any location. So long as you can reach your customers and they can reach you, it doesn’t matter where you work.

Achieve your Goals

Setting time-sensitive goals will help keep salespeople working remotely on track and accountable when away from the office. Not only this, but managers can observe these goals and achievements with project management software

Utilizing a software program that managers and employees can use will help to keep track of employee performance and progress, as well as collect other insights on employee performance such as time estimation for certain tasks. Tracking and understanding the amount of time it takes your sales employees to complete certain tasks that help to close a sale helps to better assign time and resources accordingly. Fortunately, employee time can be tracked without employees being in the office, thanks to project management tools that operate over the internet. This gives your salespeople more freedom and comfortability to accomplish their goals without close supervision, which often helps employees feel more at ease, ultimately producing greater results. 

Organize your Process

Customer relationship management software is a must for any business looking to make repeated sales with valued customers. CRM tools are especially useful for remote sales professionals to stay on top of a pipeline of new and repeat customers when away from a team or office. 

Having a resource tool like CRM software helps keep all team members on the same page with a customer’s process, and offers other organizational features to help the salesperson keep track of important events and meetings when synchronizing CRM software with other business applications. This feature is of the utmost importance when working remotely, as salespeople have only themselves to rely on, and therefore must stay organized to make sure they have all the information they need on a customer’s history with the company, their contact information, and any crucial insights that CRM data can provide to close the sale. 

Let your Tech Sweat the Small Stuff

Freeing up any time during your workflow will make for increased sales productivity. Make use of sales automation software, which has the ability to send automatic initial and follow-up emails to new and existing clients. Saving time by not busying yourself with the minutiae of email dialogue and answering the same few questions repeatedly will allow for more time to be spent on finding new clients and retaining current ones. 

Allowing your technology to manage these small tasks for you will allow remote sales professionals to better allocate their time to unique customer needs and tailor their knowledge and offerings to the ideal audience. Remote sales people will have more freedom to work on their own schedule with little management, so making use of any and all time spent working to make greater progress toward closing a sale is extremely important. And because automation software can accomplish work around the clock wherever you may be, you and the rest of your sales teams will still be able to get work done, even during business travel excursions and after office hours.

Dreamforce 2019 is right around the corner! I hope that everyone has their pitches rehearsed and their business card ready. Networking is an important piece of running your booth, but don’t forget that the networking doesn’t end when you leave San Francisco. You can’t forget the parties, and who has time to research all of them? Don’t worry – Rainmakers has created a 2019 Dreamforce Party Guide, sorted by date, so you can plan accordingly.

Register soon before all of your favorite events are filled!

Featured Event


All Events

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Simplus Power Up Party

Time: 8:00 pm

Hosted/Sponsored By: Simplus, Salesforce, MuleSoft, and Prodly

Summary: This don’t-miss party has everything you need to charge up and kick off the week in style! Whether you are looking to blow off some steam from all your Dreamforce prep or want to relax before a very important week, this is the party for you. Food, drinks, friends and great views of San Francisco await you at Cityscape at the top of the Hilton Union Square. The view alone will get you energized for the week ahead. Dance, eat, and game the night away upstairs. Then, when you’re ready to relax, journey to the recessed Zen Room for massages, shoe shines, and more. 

Where: Cityscape at The Hilton Union Square

Sign Up Here

Karaoke for a Cause

Time: 7:30 PM

Hosted/Sponsored By: PepUp Tech

Summary: We are back for the third year in a row with Karaoke for a Cause! Come out and meet PepUP Tech supporter Bret Taylor. Bret Taylor is the President and CPO at and co-Founder of Quip. Bret was also co-creator of Google Maps, CTO of Facebook, and is responsible for Facebook’s “like” button.

Your ticket purchase includes drinks, food, amazing company, lots of fun and will help PepUp Tech support tech training programs for underrepresented children and adults across the United States. Help us make a difference and have fun while doing it! 

Where: Pandora Karaoke (please note this is a new venue location at 50 Mason Street in San Francisco)

Sign Up Here

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019


Time: 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Hosted/Sponsored By: Zennify and Salesforce

Summary: Are you interested in joing Zennify and Salesforce at Black Cat, a swanky jazz lounge, cocktail bar and New American bistro? They’ll be plenty of appetizers, craft cocktails, and a live band to accompany a night full of networking and connecting with like-minded individuals.

Black Cat is located in the heart of San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, the historic arts and entertainment district once home to great supper clubs and fabled live jazz venues.

Where: Black Cat, 400 Eddy Street

Sign Up Here

Dreamforce’s Silent Disco

Time: 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM

Hosted/Sponsored By: Conga

Summary: Sign up to be the first to know all the details of our highly-anticipated Silent Disco. Join us across the street from Moscone where we’ll transform ThirstyBear Brewing Company into a one-of-a-kind dance party you won’t want to miss. Enjoy sets from multiple DJs, complimentary food and drink, and an all around unforgettable night.

Where: ThirstyBear Brewing Company

Sign Up Here

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

Party at Anaplan Headquarters

Time: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Hosted/Sponsored By: Dreamforce

Summary: Kick Dreamforce 2019 off right and join us for a blowout party at the Anaplan headquarters. Come for the refreshing drinks and delicious appetizers and stay for the live band, high-energy DJ, old-school arcade games, and more!

Where: 50 Hawthorne Street (Between Howard and Folsom)

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The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals

Time: 6:30 pm – 1:00 am

Hosted/Sponsored By: Salesforce & UCFS Benioff Children’s Hospitals

Summary: At UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals, a steadfast commitment drives everything we do: to deliver world-class medicine to every child in need. But it’s not just what we do, it’s who we are. It’s clear in the doctors who expertly tailor care to each child’s individual needs, the researchers who discover new cures previous generations could not have dreamed of, and the therapists who use the healing power of music and art to give children the power to hope, dream, and heal. This commitment is also upheld by our generous supporters, who have partnered with us for more than 100 years to ensure that even the most vulnerable families in our community always have access to top-tier medical care. Together, we are moving medicine forward for kids around the block and across the globe.

Where: Oracle Park

Sign Up Here

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Party @ Temple

Time: 9:00 pm – 12:30 am

Hosted/Sponsored By: Demandbase

Summary: Leave the presentations and meetings behind and get ready to unleash your inner dance nerd! Join fellow B2B peers at this Dreamforce fan-favorite party for an unforgettable night of premium cocktails, tasty appetizers and a whole lotta boogie.

You don’t want to miss out on the hottest Dreamforce shindig, where the best of the ABM world come to party.

Where: Temple Nightclub, 540 Howard Street

Sign Up Here

———-This is a repost from my Sales Hiring article that was published in the Acceleprise blog————-

Now more than ever, business organizations need buyer-focused sales professionals who possess the character and the competencies to deliver high value to both the customers they serve and the companies they work for.

In a highly competitive talent market, the process of finding, hiring, and keeping these high-performing sellers can be quite challenging.

Sure, technology can help heat up your metrics, but it will only go so far. Talent is the only thing that can sell your brand at the end of the day and will determine the difference between sales organizations that are well-positioned to win the future and those that struggle just to survive the challenges of the present.

As customer centricity, account-based selling, and artificial intelligence redraw the contours of business, talent will become more crucial to keeping pipelines full, flowing, and fruitful. If your organization lacks the will to attract, recruit, and retain excellent sales professionals, then you are just exerting futile efforts at postponing failure to a later date.

After all, only sales professionals with the right skills and mindset can drive meaningful conversations with prospects and orchestrate the outcomes customers expect. Today’s consumers — especially in the B2B space — are empowered buyers looking for trustworthy consultants who can help them achieve success. They are not keen on taking cold calls from desperate sellers who primarily engage people just to make a sale and meet quotas.

Why is it so hard to find good sales reps?

Forward-looking enterprises often implement aggressive recruitment and retention strategies for top sales talent. These enterprises already deploy many excellent professionals on their sales floor. Given the emerging business realities, these highly competitive companies simply couldn’t afford not to.

For one thing, businesses improve profitability by as much as 30% when they hire top-notch candidates, according to a Gallup poll. In the B2B space, moreover, corporate clients have nearly unlimited access to information about alternative products, and virtually nothing prevents them from brand-hopping at will. If your sellers lack the skills at building effective solutions and at keeping these solutions relevant throughout the customer lifecycle, then closing deals and reducing customer churn will both be very difficult. Which, as you well know, leads to diluted revenue, profit margins, and morale.

Hiring anyone just to fill the vacuum wouldn’t do, either. In fact, poor hires cost a lot more in direct and collateral damage than not hiring in the first place. A bad hire causes your team to lose a substantial amount of time, money, and energy, with some estimates placing financial loss at hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year just for one bad hiring decision.

Meanwhile, the challenges of selling as a field also cause most people to shun sales as a career option, even compelling a significant number of practitioners to shift their line of work. Either effect further trims the number of competent sales professionals in the market.

Best channels to find good sales reps

If your organization plans to recruit the best sellers, there are a few places you would want to check out.

Start with your personal network

Your social and professional network covers your family and friends as well as acquaintances from grade school, the fitness club, and the workplace. Your network will likely include a number of competent sales practitioners, professionals who enjoy working with people, or individuals who are good at articulating value and convincing others to view things from a particular perspective. You can reach out to these people and probe whether some are open to working in a sales organization with you.

  • Pros: Reconnecting with people you already know could be fun and won’t take as much effort.
  • Cons: The process of identifying competent sales professionals or individuals with high potential in sales would be informal at best and largely dependent on your hunch/intuition. Overpromising on the benefits may also cause a strain in otherwise friendly relationships.
  • Tips: Don’t overlook your alumni association from high school and college, as well as the business associations and social clubs you’ve joined in the past. Also consider sales professionals who have reached out to you regarding business matters. If they’ve managed to make you sign a subscription, perhaps they’ll be good at selling your product as well.

Ask for referrals and recommendations

If gleaning potential sales superstars from your network doesn’t work as planned, you can always request for referrals. Just like you, your friend or acquaintance knows somebody who works as a high-flying real estate agent or someone who has an uncanny ability at persuading people. Unless you have other options with higher odds of success, referred candidates would be worth checking out.

  • Pros:  Building new relationships is easier when you have common reference points: in these case, your mutual contact and your shared interest in selling.
  • Cons: The competency or potential of the recommended individual depends on how the referrer defines what a “good seller” is.
  • Tips: Remember to request for updated contact information and as much detail about the person as possible. Also, getting referrals from acquaintances who work as recruiters or sales leaders would be doubly valuable since you can assume these recommendations have been vetted more professionally.

Optimize events and meetups

Industry events such as seminars, trade shows, workshops, and conferences are premium opportunities for relationship building. They’re also great for sniffing out and assessing potential hires.

  • Pros: Social events that relate to your industry help narrow the talent pool to those who are highly relevant to your business.
  • Cons: Most attendees would already be connected to other companies and brands. However, the vast majority of them are also likely to be looking for better career opportunities, according to HubSpot.
  • Tips: Tread lightly and be subtle. Limit yourself to building connections if your new prospect does not send positive signals that he or she is looking for a new employer. It’s not good to antagonize other industry players and be tagged as a “talent poacher.” Also, hang-out in places where executives and sellers usually go. There might be opportunities of discovering eager talent once in a while.

Squeeze LinkedIn dry

The planet’s largest professional network is perhaps the best place to build a shortlist of potential sales hires. The site’s powerful search functions can help you find qualified (but often presently employed) sellers in your particular market niche. You can also post job ads and reach thousands of professionals who meet your standards and qualifications.

  • Pros: LinkedIn is purposely designed for businesses, professionals, and everything in between. It is a vast marketplace of ideas, products, and talent.
  • Cons: Applying to job postings over LinkedIn is so easy your recruitment campaign might be swamped with applications too quickly for you to catch up and effectively select candidates who meet your requirements.
  • Tips: Require additional information, a portfolio if appropriate, and a cover letter. These will help you get more pertinent information on top of what’s already available in candidates’ account profiles. Moreover, these will help you gauge whether a particular candidate is really interested in your posting (i.e., less interested candidates will not bother to submit additional requirements). Having said that, be wary also of desperate job hunters who’ll do anything to get an interview.

Explore other social media sites

If you need an entire brigade to fill your sales floor, then you can go beyond LinkedIn to other social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and Quora. Hundreds of millions of people visit these networks regularly to communicate their message and join conversations that matter to them.

  • Pros: It’s free. You can start with your online social network and expand the search from there. There are also communities — especially on Instagram and Facebook — that could be very relevant to your business. Moreover, any sales candidate gleaned from these networks can arguably be considered “social media savvy,” a desired trait for new generations of sellers.
  • Cons: There are a lot of noise on social media that will make your search hazy. You can easily get distracted and lose precious time navigating random distractions.
  • Tips: You can use market research to target specific demographics you are envisioning for your salesforce. Millennials and younger workers, for example, tend to use Instagram and SnapChat more while highly knowledgeable and opinionated professionals follow conversations on Quora.

Conduct campus recruitment

Leverage the good relationships you’ve built at your alma mater. For open internships at your sales organization, your old campus may just be the hunting ground you need. Go beyond your college to other academic institutions in the area if you need to create a larger talent pool.

  • Pros: College students and new grads are generally eager to enter the workplace. They are more flexible and trainable compared to candidates who have been in the job market for a while.
  • Cons: It may take tons of training to get young talent truly prepared for the tough world of selling.
  • Tips: Look for the right attitude, motivation, and behavior.

Traditional sales recruiters, headhunters, and job sites

Job sites such as Monster, Glassdoor, and provide the online interfaces that connect recruiters with job applicants. Like LinkedIn and specialist career marketplaces, job recruiting sites offer the best success rates for your staffing needs.

  • Pros: You get straightforward recruiting services. You also gain insightful job market data such as median salaries for specific positions, industry, and locations.
  • Cons: Getting the best results might entail costs. You will also be competing with similar recruiters targeting the same subset of applicants on the site.
  • Tips: Streamline and clarify your job posting. Make it stand out from the posts of rival recruiters. Use site features such as Glassdoor’s employer reviews to gather worker sentiment and find professionals who might be “open” to trying out other employers.

Fine-tune your search via career marketplaces

Online career marketplaces such as Rainmakers attract the best employers and the top practitioners in a specific field. When these parties meet, excellence happens.

  • Pros: Sales-oriented career marketplaces like Rainmakers already screen candidates for different sales roles and allow only highly competent practitioners to join its marketplace. Talent profiles are generally more in-depth than their accounts on LinkedIn, saving recruiters precious research time when hiring salespeople.
  • Cons: Top-notch services usually come with a price tag.
  • Tips: Use special features such as Rainmakers’ sales performance history to better assess a candidate’s credentials.

Online vs Offline?

Staffing your sales organization can take the offline or online route, or both. Depending on the situation, you can get the best of online and offline recruitment to benefit the final makeup of your sales team. So, make the best of in-person meet-ups during events and conferences. But don’t forget to put your best foot forward when hunting for talent online.

Some final tips and tactics

Sales recruitment is not only a challenging task, but one whose impact can create a powerful chain reaction far down the road. If you’ve hired the right people, then expect positive outcomes to pop up here and there. But if you enable bad candidates to come on board, the damage in terms of time, money, and morale can be devastating. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh once claimed that bad hires cost the company $100 million.

So take sales recruitment seriously. Hire specifically for the task you need done but never discount character and motivation. Technical skills should always go hand-on-hand with attitude. For experienced roles, consider the candidate’s professional selling history, relevant training, and certifications.

Don’t settle for less. Do your homework as a diligent recruiter and the rest will follow. Remember, nothing else can move your business further than highly motivated talent.

Businesses strive to keep lines of communication open between all of their departments. In particular, organizations aim to keep the sales team in conversation with the rest of the business. The sales team’s gathered information is a goldmine of opportunity for every department, from marketing to finance.

Companies that keep the conversations and discussions happening see numerous benefits. From improving sales processes to aiding project management, teams that implement effective communication channels can continue to grow their sales opportunities.

Why Communication is Important

Sales teams spend an enormous amount of time gathering information about a prospective client during the sales process. Even after a client has signed a contract, sales team members hold valuable information and notes from client discussions, all of which are valuable insights for other departments in the company.

By sharing this information, sales teams can lead the company to a successful relationship with a client. Material collected by either sales or other departments benefits everyone in the company. Sharing this information or organizing it in one location through project management helps everyone use it. Sales teams that take the time to discuss when projects need to be completed and what information they’ve gathered on a client aid in the continued success with a client.

Suggestions for Improving Communication

How do businesses bridge the transmission of information from sales to the rest of the company? Try some of the following suggestions to open the lines of communication between the sales team and other departments.

Encourage face-to-face meetings

Businesses can help build conversations between departments by setting aside time for face-to-face discussions. In the digital age, companies can fall prey to doing everything via email. Sitting down for a meeting can help clear up any confusion or reduce the time spent going back and forth with team members.

These sit-down meetings are also an opportunity to discuss goals for each department. Companies can either review individual department goals or cross-department collaborations. Individuals who understand client goals are less likely to spend time doing irrelevant tasks.

The sharing of information during these meetings has benefits for everyone. For the sales department, information swapping helps them gain insights into what options they can offer to prospective clients. For the marketing team, they’ll learn what problems new clients had in the past and what solutions they’ve used.

Find a way to share client data with various departments

Companies need a system to share the sales team’s client information with the rest of the team. This information should include all the relevant data from calls, emails, and in-person visits with a client during the sales process. When the sales team shares this profile with everyone else, other departments have a clearer picture of their client.

Businesses can purchase software systems or platforms for storing and sharing data. Once companies implement this technology, they should do their best to establish a procedure and stick to it. Right now, businesses are using multiple platforms or singular platforms for data collection or predictive analysis.

Project management components of an enterprise resource planning system can help transition new clients from sales to delivery departments. Through planning tools and collaboration abilities, an ERP system keeps data in one place. An additional benefit of this system is businesses can use this data for creating future financial predictions for clients.

Include more cross-departmental roles

In many companies, only sales team members sit in during sales calls. Companies could do better by offering members outside of the sales team the opportunity to attend these calls. By including these people on the call, individuals gain insights from not only what sales does, but what the prospective client wants from the company. This gives non-sales team members a head start on fulfilling client needs after the deal is closed.

Businesses should also offer the opportunity for sales team members to visit other departments. By bringing sales into other business areas, organizations build cross-functional collaboration opportunities and individual understanding of what other people do for a client.

Another way for companies to shift their communications is by creating a place for individuals to share their process- or product-improvement ideas. Requests from individuals can range from different ways of completing a task, to a new product for completing a job. Businesses need to sift through these ideas in order to find the best solution for helping communications or improving processes. By listening to their employees, organizations can increase employee morale and productivity.

Closing Remarks

Companies benefit from encouraging dialogue between departments. This improved communication can help better define client goals, share knowledge for better product delivery, and create new opportunities for productivity gains.

To encourage dialogue, organizations can hold more face-to-face discussions, create procedures for individuals to follow, and expand opportunities for employee inclusion. Companies that carry out any of these practices can help their whole team and their own bottom line.

Sales has quickly become the #1 hiring priority among tech companies, and the market is more competitive than ever. Not only is it more challenging to find and attract salespeople, but also to retain them.

Come and join your peers and top industry experts as we discuss strategies to keep up with the ever-changing sales hiring and recruiting market. The goal is for all of us to walk away with actionable insights on how to improve (or build) our own processes.

Some of the topics we’ll be covering:

  • Inbound pipeline – employer branding and creative ways to bring the candidates to you
  • Sourcing – tools and methodologies for finding and contacting those hard-to-reach candidates
  • Retaining – best practices for making your company the right environment for the salespeople you hire
  • Diversity – how to find and attract diverse sales candidates, and create an environment of inclusion

If sales hiring is a priority, you won’t want to miss this.

This event is exclusively for internal recruiting teams and internal talent and HR leadership. Please, no third party / agency recruiters!

When: June 13, 2019 – Thursday.  6:00pm – 8:30pmWhen – 6-7pm, but advertise for earlierSetup: 4:30pm – 5pm

Where: 181 2nd Street – Main Lounge

Why: Sales recruiting is a challenge. Let’s help each other.

About the speakers:

Jessica Bent:

Jessica Bent currently works in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Recruiter for Crunchbase, a platform for finding information about private and public businesses. She revamped Crunchbase’s hiring processes company wide, created a referral program resulting in 20% more referrals within the first two quarters, and is responsible for developing onboarding processes to mentor and train new hires.

Jessica’s received her Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University and her former roles include being a Recruiter for Wish, an HR/Admin Associate for Foreo, and a Benefits Administrator for Restoration Hardware.

Luke Baseda:

Luke Baseda is the VP of Talent for Lightspeed Venture Partners, an early-state venture capital firm located in Menlo Park, CA that focuses on accelerating innovations and trends in the Enterprise and Consumer sectors. Lightspeed has helped build over 300 companies including Nutanix, AppDynamics, MuleSoft, and The Honest Company.

Luke recived his Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University and his prior roles include Head of Recruiting for Flurry, Inc. and Head of Talent Acquisition at

Gordon Lewis:

Gordon Lewis is the Head of Talent & Recruiting at Scout RFP in San Francisco, CA. Scout RFP is a sourcing and supplier engagement platform used to streamline procurement processes for SaaS companies.

Gordon’s former roles include being an Advisory Board Member for, Talent Staffing Consultant for TapInfluence, and Interm Head of Talent for LendUp. He attended the University of California, Berkeley.

Mario Espindola:

Mario Espindola is the Head of Recruiting and Talent for BuildingConnected in San Francisco, CA. Mario has developed several company wide talent programs including referral programs, health/wellness programs, and company performance management.

Mario received his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University-Chico and his prior roles include Advisor for PeopleTech Partners, Advisor for, and Consultant – Talent for Connery Consulting.

About Rainmakers:

Rainmakers is the data-driven sales hiring platform. The coolest tech companies utilize Rainmakers to hire top, diverse sales talent including Crunchbase, Affirm, Algolia, JFrog, BuildingConnected, and Scout RFP.

So if you’re looking to build or scale your sales team, and want to connect directly with pre-screened candidates, come and chat with a member of our team or email us directly at Attracting top sales talent.

Your company is in need of a salesperson, but not just any salesperson, you need a rockstar. So how do you go about hiring a top inside salesperson?

First, determine your needs

It’s important to meet with your team to determine what to look for in a candidate. Think about your needs. You may need someone with specific sales experience in your industry/vertical, or maybe you just want someone with key affiliations or networks that your business can tap into. Opening these questions up to your team will shape the vision for your ideal candidate.

Come up with an offer

What type of competitive package can you put together to attract the right talent? Don’t just consider compensation, but also bonuses, benefits, and additional perks. It’s all about the complete package when winning over top salespeople who may be considering others from multiple companies.

• Compensation – The base salary, which does not include commission or bonuses. This can be considered a “base” for a sales person to build their annual salary off of.

• Bonuses – This can include annual bonuses, spot bonuses, or milestone bonuses. Bonuses can be used as both an incentive for performance and as an effective way to show thanks for hard working employees.

• Benefits – This can include healthcare, paid time off, retirement savings plans, and maternity/paternity leave. Often times benefits are a competitive aspect of the overall job offer.

• Setting on-track earnings expectations – This is what a salesperson can expect their final annual earnings to be, rolling together both their salary and their commission potential. This shows them what is possible if they are on track with, or exceed, expectations.

• Additional perks – Working remotely, wellness programs, training opportunities, and volunteer-time-off are all attractive perks for a potential candidate to consider. These can be viewed as “icing on the cake” to all of the above.

Start the Search

Start with your personal network. Reach out to colleagues and other business leaders in your network to let them know about your needs and see if they know anybody who would fit the role. Look through your Linkedin and Facebook contacts to refresh your memory of possible people to reach out to, and don’t forget to ask your team to keep the open position in mind while looking at their own networks.

Action Plan:

Here is an easy action plan that utilizes your network to get things rolling:

1. Start making a list of the best salespeople you know, even if you know they aren’t available for hire.  Go through your LinkedIn and Facebook connections to make sure you don’t miss anybody.

2. Reach out and schedule lunch or dinner with them to talk about the opportunity

3. Ask the question – “Would you consider joining us?

4. Follow up with the next question – “If you did join us, which salespeople would you most want to bring on board too?”

5. Ask for an introduction to the salespeople they refer.

6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 with those who were referred.

7. Repeat steps 1 – 6 until a hire is made.

Hype it up online by posting about the job on LinkedIn and any other company social media accounts with exciting verbiage about the opportunity and an eye-catching image. If possible, promote the announcement so it reaches a larger, more specific audience, and be sure to emphasize the exciting opportunities for growth and success for whoever gets the new sales role.

Post the job to a localized and specialized platform that focuses on your industry/vertical, such as BuiltIn or Rainmakers. Specialized platforms like these filter out many of the unqualified candidates that clog up traditional mass-hiring platforms. For example, Rainmakers specializes in finding jobs for established, top-tier salespeople who are looking to make their next big move. Depending on your needs, there are additional resources like Stack Overflow Jobs, the monthly Hacker News “Who is Hiring” thread, and AngelList.

  • BuiltIn (NYC/SF/Chicago…) BuiltIn is an online community for startups in the tech hubs of Austin, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Los Angeles, NYC, and Seattle.
  • Rainmakers (NYC/SF…) Rainmakers specializes in connecting high-performing salespeople with companies that need people with proven sales results

  • Glassdoor Glassdoor is a platform that hosts millions of jobs and includes information on salary and anonymous company reviews.

You or your internal recruiters can cold outreach by searching on LinkedIn for possible candidates and reaching out through a message on LinkedIn and through email. Remember to only contact individuals through their personal emails and not their company emails to avoid being blocked. If a recruiter is doing the outreach it’s important that they know the qualities to look for in your ideal candidate before initiating contact. While it may take longer to find a good candidate through cold outreach, it’s a good practice to keep up while your other plans are in motion.

Get local with membership groups and meetups

LinkedIn Local – LinkedIn Local is a global platform for organizing and attending networking events, roundtable discussions, and workshops in cities near you.

Modern Sales Pro – Modern Sales Pro (MSP) hosts regular in-person and online events focused around sales techniques and best practices for salespeople and businesses. This event in May of 2019 focused on growing a large sales organization while still being nimble. – Sales Assembly helps tech/SaaS companies sale by providing resources, tools, and a peer based community that hosts regular events and workshops In a recent event called “Amplifying the Top of the Sales Funnel,” they discussed strategies for amplifying initial interest from potential customers. – Victory Lap is a talent platform for sales professionals that links them up with the companies that need them. They also specialize in helping companies train and retain top sales talent.

Start a Meetup group and schedule a recruiting event. Meetups are easy to organize and can bring out good local talent for face-to-face introductory conversations. Search for examples of Sales Meetups on to get ideas on locations and event itineraries. You may also consider hosting “lunch and learn” events focused on salespeople and growing a successful career based on sales to attract candidates.




Hiring the right salesperson can be tough, but there are many useful and creative ways to find who you are looking for. Leveraging your network, using strategic digital platforms, and hosting events are all possible ways to help you spend time on the right types of candidates and lead to your new top inside salesperson coming on board!

Young business woman presenting his ideas on whiteboard to colleagues

If you run a company, then your employees are your most valuable asset. You need to make sure you are bringing the best people on board that you can afford. That way, they will lead your team and find new ways to make your company more valuable in the marketplace. This takes the right approach. Use the tips below to ensure you get the best:

Do Your Background Work
Making sure you have the right employee with the leadership qualities you want starts with background probe. You can never know exactly if someone is telling the truth or not. They could say anything when they are interviewing for the position.

When you conduct a background check, be sure to look for criminal activity. Also, verify their references. You want to ensure they aren’t making anything up with regards to where they have worked before. This will help you screen them from the beginning to look for leadership qualities and other aspects that may be helpful to you.

Verifying references is something that people tend to skip over because it does lead to more work. But being able to hear from someone about how good of a worker a potential candidate is may end up saving you more time in the long run. Of course everyone puts their best references forward, so being able to ask the right questions and sort through the fluff is very important. Questions like “tell me what it is like to work with the job candidate?” and “how well did the candidate get along with their coworkers?” are great to get a feeler about the potential employee.

Look at Their Resume

A resume is a great presentation of what someone can accomplish. You will want to look at their entire resume. Look for areas where they were being a leader. This could have meant a management position. However, this is not always the case.

Sometimes, great leaders come from regular positions. They might have been in sales but they put up the best numbers in their department. Perhaps they were great at motivating others to perform at a higher level. This is why digging deeper on their resume will help you uncover their true strengths.

In addition, learn to read between the lines. Sometimes, certain goals or quotas that they met are not as impressive as it sounds. You need to understand what they are really saying so that you don’t get seduced by buzzwords.

Watch Their Social Media
In today’s world, you can’t get away from social media. Everyone’s life is online. If your employees have a social media account that you can access, then do it. It will give you insight into what they put out there in the world.

There is nothing wrong with having a personal life. However, these are people who will be putting their face out there for your company. They should have profiles that are professional and not filled with questionable content. Who they are behind a screen can tell a lot about their character and who they will be as an employee. Doing a quick check online can save a lot of headache in the end.

Keep an Eye on Them in the Beginning
The onboarding process is essential to keep your eye on carefully. How they handle training is crucial. If they are asking great questions and showing that they are proactive, then this is a bonus. However, if they can’t be bothered to learn the basic materials, then that says something about their ability to lead in the future as a member of your company.

Give Them More Responsibility
When you have brought them on board, the hiring process is not over yet. You are still looking for ways they can lead. Try giving them special assignments. See how they react. If they produce great results, then they could be showing a lot of promise early on.

Conduct Reviews
Regular performance reviews are a must. However, this is even more true for someone who might be a leader in your company. Look for the ways they communicate with others. If they are liked in the company, then that is the first step.

In today’s world, a great employee is priceless. They can make all the difference between how much your company profits or declines. You don’t want to jump the gun on an employee that is not a great fit. So use the tips above. They will help you evaluate and hire the right leaders that can help your entire team perform at their best.


This is a Guest Post by Craig Middleton.

Craig has worked as a Business Consultant, Real Estate Agent , and HR businesses for most of his professional career. He graduated at UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing.