Not really in SaaS. At least not well.
The classic “Sell Me This Pen” test is still a good one, even in SaaS. There is no perfect answer, but it does show a salesperson’s ability to think, to convey enthusiasm, to understand a value proposition, etc.
But I’ve come to learn that in SaaS at least, salespeople can be:
- Good at Outbound, but not so much Inbound. Or vice-versa.
- Good when selling with a brand to back them, but not so much without one.
- Good when competing for budget, but terrible when competing with an aggressive direct competitor.
- They also can be good at one price point, but often not at others:
- A sales rep that is good at handling 50–100 leads a month and closing them quickly at a $5k-$10k price point rarely can handle all the skills necessary to close a $250k deal. Moving from one stakeholder to many is a very different skill set. As is managing a deal through a lengthy sales cycle vs. a quick close.
- And vice versa. A skilled field rep good at $100k+ deals rarely has the patience, planning and organizational skills — let alone the speed — to close 10x as many SMB deals per month as bigger deals. They usually melt when they have to ramp up their volume, speed, and close rate.
So there are a lot of variables here. For the most part, controlling for (x) stage and (y) price point works. Hire a few reps that have sold at your stage and your price point that you also believe in and would buy from — that’s the trick in the early-ish days.
And a great VP of Sales can train a rep to learn new skills. So once you have a great VP of Sales, let her figure a lot of this out.