Denver-based Signpost makes software that helps small business owners build lasting customer relationships. This is a high growth area of online marketing thanks to digital word-of-mouth and the impact of opinions we all share online about local services. As business owners across the country turn away from chasing vanity metrics such as “likes” and followers, Signpost has seen tremendous growth throughout 2014. Chris Gannon, Head of Sales Talent at Signpost, outlines five key sales recruitment strategies that helped drive Signpost’s explosive expansion in Denver this year.
Signpost’s Key Sales Recruitment Strategies:
1. Know your market
Signpost chose Denver as a remote office location through strategic vetting. Like Silicon Valley, Denver is among the most educated cities in the U.S., with 53 percent of the population holding a bachelor’s degree.
Colorado is also the number one relocation destination in the US for skilled workers ages 25 to 44, which is an ample sweet spot for recruiting.
2. Build an integrated recruiting team
At Signpost, recruiting leaders are a part of departmental leadership. This means that Gannon worked closely with the VP of Sales, Chris Depatria, when scaling the Denver workforce. Keeping a concrete sense of hiring and attrition goals as well as revenue goals allowed for proactive recruiting efforts that tripled the sales team over 2014. Specifically, integration means taking a more holistic view of the entire employee lifecycle, particularly for training our reps this year. This helped with both retention and performance.
3. Define success attributes early
Gannon is recruiting many entry-level sales representatives from local Universities, which means that few candidates have a successful sales background to draw from. Signpost takes a data-driven approach to measuring and identifying which characteristics are most predictive for success. We implemented a standardized test that makes the process more objective. 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.
4. Know Denver and the local tech ecosystem
Signpost has a distributed recruiting team that is based out of each of the three locations (NY, Denver, Austin) to conduct in-person interviews. While Gannon does travel to check in through in-persons, lead recruiters in Denver bring personal experience with existing organizations, professors, and advisors. Signpost is also active in the the local tech ecosystem, having participated in Denver Startup Weekend and other industry events.
5. Work your referral network
Just as everyone knows someone who is a small business owners (and therefore likely to understand Signpost’s value proposition) everyone knows someone who may be a great fit for the team culture. Over 30% of new hires came from referrals, 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.