If you caught Silicon Valley on HBO a few weeks ago (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.

Salespeople You All Look The Same

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.

Before starting Upsider.co, 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:

Salespeople You All Look The Same

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 the always on point 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%.
According to Bridge Group — Average annual attrition for Sales is at 34%.


Salespeople You All Look The Same
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 think there are opportunities to fix it. While it’s tough at the sourcing stage of the talent life-cycle, it can start at the interview / evaluation stage. Companies and salespeople can do more to start their conversations and interviews with data. Salespeople can come prepared to interviews ready to openly discuss performance. Interviewers and hiring teams can reduce churn problem by focusing interview questions and selection criteria on historical metrics.

Currently, salespeople 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. When we enrich the conversation with data – we are more transparent and everyone slows down and makes better decisions. Together with data, we can start to see more focus on fit, which is a step in the right direction.

If you’d like a free demo of the Upsider platform to learn how we are using data to help connect high performing salespeople and sales hiring teams, please visit our website: www.upsider.co