How to hire a senior sales executive in B2B sales?

 Recently I had an interesting meeting with Carl Jacobs, CEO & founder of, who wants to hire his first senior sales executive to support their geographic expansion into Europe. Do you also want to find out about how to find the perfect senior sales person for your company, how to conduct an interview with potential candidates and what behaviour to look for during the interview? Then keep on reading!

How to find and hire a senior sales profile to support your expansion?

Apicbase, an all in one recipe SaaS management platform, is expanding very fast. In order to support that expansion, Carl was eager to find out how to find and hire a senior sales profile that has a network. I gave him three tips. 

  1. The first one is: look in the network where your potential candidate is currently active because you definitely need someone with a big network. This should be your first focus.
  2. The second thing you should do before the interview: let your candidate prepare a presentation with 5 questions: introduce yourself, describe the market potential, how to scale your business to 2 million, how to scale your business to 10 million and what he or she needs to be successful in your company. And then you give him or her three or four days time to answer these questions. By doing that you are testing the speed, the focus and you check if your candidate knows what he is talking about.
  3. My third tip; you are also looking for a skilled speaker, so you need him or her to talk during the interview. Keep the interview short and at the end, you can make a solid conclusion based on facts.

What are the key elements to look for in a candidate during the interview?

You are definitely looking for somebody that talks from a position of power, but who is not dominating the space. Your ideal candidate should be telling you how he would handle things, what he believes in and what he needs to function within your company. Since you are looking for a senior profile, he or she will always ask you for extra resources. So you will have to be very careful when you are a small company that the person can be operational. My advice is: make sure the balance between operational and strategic is right.

Your potential candidate will also ask you for equity in his or her salary at the end of the discussion, because if it’s someone for sales you want him or her to talk money. If they don’t talk money in the end, it’s not going to work. They need to close on you. Because that’s what you want them to do with your customers. The behaviour they do to you is the behaviour you want them to do on your customers.

Carl Jacobs - Apicabase

Carl Jacobs, CEO & founder of

What incentives should you give your senior sales executive?

Last but not least, Carl wanted to know which incentives worked best for me when I was a VP of sales.

For me, everything was about building. I wanted to grow, to grow my own network and I really wanted to build out something and be valuable in that sense. That was key for me. And having a team, running a team, not being alone. I wanted to join a company to be part of a team, to be building something, to be part of something big. Otherwise, I could as well create my own company and work on my own.

Once I worked my way up from a junior to a senior position, I became more political and I started thinking and acting more strategically because you have the people that execute for you. I also became less operational (doing the actual sales). And that is a big danger in a small company. You don’t want those politics. So you need to check if your candidate, who is used to acting and thinking strategically, can work alone in the beginning. Is he – in other words – capable of answering the phone calls from clients and closing the deals himself. You want him to make that mind shift.  It’s a tough one in the beginning and you will need to help him with that and be there for him. But if you do it in the right way, your company will benefit a lot from it.

More information:

Apicbase is the European leader in all-in-one recipe management SaaS software working with industry leaders like LSG Sky Chefs, Unilever, Puratos, etc.. With Apicbase’s cloud platform, food companies can centralise and standardise their ingredients, allergens, recipes and menus. The platform optimises their procurement, menu planning and customer communications and helps them in managing their product portfolio and outlets.
About :

Looking for more inspiration to accelerate your revenue acquisition immediately? Check out the other videos of my Sales Acceleration Show, on YouTube.

2017-09-11T17:06:59+02:00June 30th, 2017|

About the Author: