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  • Writer's pictureLaurens Nys

GTM Hiring 101

Hiring GTM is a tipping point in the journey of every SaaS. You're taking your focus from building to selling. Whether that's inbound/ outbound/product-led/sales-led, it all starts with having the right player in your team.

This one-pager is a 101 for hiring your GTM - what roles are there, when do they make sense, and what options are there to getting them? Since most GTM teams start with sales, we'll focus on sales teams first.


Different sales roles in GTM


Overview of a sales funnel from BDR/ SDRs to Account Executives

Top of the funnel = This is where your GTM starts. It all starts with leads.


Business Development Representatives (BDR) or Sales Development Representatives (SDR) - are usually where the sales funnel starts. They're sales roles that make first contact with (cold) leads. Either through research (think looking for contacts on LinkedIn) or leads generated by your marketing campaign. The goal of an SDR/ BDR is to plan a meeting between the lead and an AE or, in the case of many start-ups, the founder who closes the deals.


Account Executives (AE) - a typical AE starts after the meeting is set and has 1 goal, going from an interested lead to a customer. AEs are sales reps with great closing skills who close deals instead of getting the first touch.


Pointers for start-ups:

  • As a start-up, you'll usually lack the time and money to start out with a team of BDRs/ SDRs and AEs. And since most AEs get promoted from a BDR/SDR role, they’ll have both closing and opening skills making them a great “full stack” first hire.

  • Be careful hiring AEs from enterprises. They’re used to having a big brand, and there's a big difference in selling for Salesforce or a start-up that nobody knows yet.


How do you attract A-players?

I love to break this one down to first principles, so that's what we'll do. You basically have a few options, each with different variations of the same thing. You can reach out to people you know or don't know, and do it one-to-one or one-to-many. What this translates to is;


  • One-to-one, person you know: target your own network. Ask your employees, and people you know and especially don't be afraid to ask for referrals.

  • One-to-one, people you don't know: this is cold calling or cold outreach (email, socials, etc). In recruitment, the most common one is to use a LinkedIn recruiter. This can be very effective, especially when looking for sales compared to developers since many sales candidates will be active on LinkedIn. But, avoid common mistakes like not personalizing your message or immediately opening up with a job opportunity. The goal is to start a conversation, not to get the interview.

  • One-to-many, people you know: this is what content marketing is. You or your company’s page has a certain following on social media (LinkedIn will usually be the center here), where you can post to let people know about your vacancy.

  • One-to-many, people you don't know: this is the most common route for recruitment, and that's posting a vacancy. LinkedIn offers the first job post for free (as of this writing). Other sites that we've seen good results from are Indeed and Stepstone.

A few pointers when posting a vacancy:

  • Use common titles. The goal of a title is to be searchable. If people aren't typing in your job title, your post won't be found (this is what SEO is in marketing).

  • Be transparent and honest. Job posts with a salary range and without sugar coating do better on average. Another option is using agencies to help you. Probably the highest leverage option, because most agencies will already do a mix of all the previous ones with added experience in a niche. If you decide to go this route, make sure they actually know what they're doing and take the time to know and understand you before sending candidates in a spray-and-pray fashion.


What's next?

Hopefully, this gave you a better understanding of the different sales roles, and how to get them. If you're still not sure where to start, send me an email and I'll be happy to help.


Happy hunting!


PS. You can follow us on LinkedIn for more.

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