Signpost is a fast-growing SaaS business that was recently named one of America’s Most Promising Companies by Forbes. The company provides a marketing automation solution for SMBs, giving them the power to build engaged audiences and manage customer relationships at scale.
A major part of Signpost’s growth strategy is building a distributed sales team, starting with offices in New York City, Austin and Denver. In February, they brought on Chris Gannon as Head of Sales Talent to drive this initiative and to develop a recruitment strategy that would triple Sales headcount in a manageable, scalable way. Here are the 5 key things he did to bring the 46-person team to 120 (and counting!) in under a year:
Signpost’s 5 Sales Recruitment Strategies:
1. Build an integrated recruiting team
At Signpost, recruiting leaders are a part of departmental leadership. This means that Chris works closely with the VP of Sales, Chris Depatria, and his technical counterpart, Ross Skinner, works with Signpost's VP of Engineering, Seth Purcell. This integrated model allows Chris to keep his finger on the pulse of sales operations and forecasting. He has a concrete sense of attrition rates and revenue goals which allows him to be proactive in his recruiting efforts.
2. Define success attributes early
Chris is recruiting many entry-level sales representatives, which means that few candidates have a successful sales background to draw from. From the very beginning, Chris’ team has defined four characteristics of successful reps: will, coachability, edge, and skill. Interviews are then structured to assess whether or not candidates possess these four attributes as indicators of future success.
3. Have localized recruiting teams
Hiring at scale, sometimes up to 35 new reps in a single month, should never mean sacrificing quality of hire. Chris says that it’s often difficult to drill into the four qualitative attributes they are seeking over the phone so, he oversees a distributed recruiting team that is based out of each of Signpost’s three locations to conduct in-person interviews.
Having recruiters at each locations also helps develop meaningful relationships with local colleges, beyond career fairs. Signpost has relationships with organizations, professors, and advisors at the University of Texas and the University of Colorado, Boulder to help spread awareness to young jobseekers.
4. Mobilize your sales team to recruit
“Sales people are social by nature,” Chris says, so a huge part of Signpost’s growth strategy is to mobilize its existing sales team to help recruit new talent. “The best way to find new sales people, is to ask.” Over 30% of new hires came from referrals last month, both internal and external. Beyond facilitating an internal referral program, Chris and his team also leverage the networks of candidates they speak with. If someone isn’t exactly the right fit for Signpost (for example, different salary expectations), they'll ask them if they know someone who is. Chris also encourages new hires to submit referrals from the day they sign their offer letters, rather than their first day on the job.
5. Implement technology that works for everyone
To get everyone involved in recruiting efforts, Chris needed to implement a technology that everyone would use, and that fulfilled the different needs of each stakeholder. Greenhouse helps Chris manage the job flows at each of his offices without having to track down recruiters. Each morning, he receives a Daily Recruiting Email with a summary from each office so he has visibility and can stay on track. His recruiting team uses more granular features like candidate tracking and source quality reports. The CEO and COO are also able to pull relevant reports in a matter of minutes, he says, so that they have the information that they need to track the company’s recruiting pipeline. And finally, Greenhouse makes it easy for employees to submit referrals and post to social media networks, “without having to actively think about it.”