How We Hired A Key Sales Member With Our AI-powered Virtual Recruiter

Aug 25, 20226 minutes read

Whit Broders is the newest addition to Celential’s sales team. An experienced enterprise account executive, he brings a decade of sales experience at top companies like VMWare and WP Engine, as well as high-growth startups like Camunda.

Celential’s VP of Sales Brian Hollinger originally identified and contacted Whit through Celential’s Virtual Recruiter solution. We sat down with the two of them to discuss both sides of the experience with Celential’s sales recruiting technology and to get Whit’s thoughts on Celential since joining.

A search for only the best enterprise SaaS sales talent

Brian, what kind of past sales experience requirements were you looking for when you began the search that ultimately led to hiring Whit? Were you looking for expertise in any particular types of sales, or any metrics pertaining to company size, industry, region, and history with specific products?

Brian: In general, I was looking for people who demonstrated consistent achievement in sales roles. And beyond consistency, I wanted to identify people who could overachieve on the goals given to them.

More specifically, I was looking for people that had experience closing deals similar to our own deal size. I didn’t want someone in an SMB sales role, and I didn’t want someone without a history of selling software or working in the tech industry.

I wanted someone that was already working in a true enterprise SaaS sales role where they were selling a product that had an impact on business outcomes equal to our own. Most importantly, I wanted to see a track record of success over a number of years in that field.

An AI solution that immediately uncovered the most relevant candidates

How quickly did you start getting traction on your candidate pipeline for this search? How was the candidate quality in using Celential’s Virtual Recruiter solution? Amongst those candidates, what made Whit stand out as someone to interview for the role?

Brian: I started getting candidates right away, and I was getting quality candidates consistently. I was typically getting about 20-40 candidates a month through the solution who had enterprise software sales experience.

That was the most important thing for me – I needed a consistent pipeline of top candidates that were open to a discussion.

When I first saw Whit presented in my ATS, his profile stood out because he had experience at well-known tech companies and a track record of sticking around at those great companies. I didn’t want someone with a history of staying a year or less at their job even if it was at a company I respected.

Whit had a strong history of staying for multiple years at top companies, and that demonstrated to me that he could succeed over a long period of time at Celential.

The products and services he was selling also had a deal size comparable to the deals we close, which was also a strong signal that he wouldn’t need a large ramp-up period. And I ended up being right! Whit’s been delivering practically since day one of joining us.

software sales professional

Additional insights from our sales talent graph beyond public candidate profile

The one cold recruiting email that stood out from the rest

Whit, where were you in your career when Brian reached out to you? As a salesperson, what about the pitch regarding Celential stood out and made you want to interview with Brian?

Whit: I had been at my previous company for about three years. I’d hit some important milestones there but had reached a point where I felt like I couldn’t go any further, so I was considering making a change.

But I was also pretty established in my sales career at that point, so I was only open to compelling opportunities that I truly believed in. And, honestly, I wanted to work at a startup where my contributions would be recognized and have an impact on the growth of the business.

There were a couple of things that jumped off the screen for me when I first saw Brian’s message in my inbox. There was a match on the size of the deals he was talking about with the size of the deals I was used to closing.

All the other recruiter outreach I was receiving talked about very generic metrics that made it hard to envision a future with the company they were talking about. He also talked about Celential’s sales cycle, and it sounded like something that was really unique and would offer me the great potential to hit the ground running if I joined.

Most importantly, Brian’s email read like he had done his homework on my career. It really sounded like he understood where I was professionally and what I’d accomplished to this point.

Again, other recruiting emails tend to be pretty vague on that – they’ll often tell you that you’re a top candidate, but they’ll almost never offer a good reason why.

outreach for software sales professional

Celential’s first email to Whit

The first impression that set up for an amazing candidate experience and eventually a key sales hire

What was your reaction when you learned that Brian hadn’t handwritten the email to you, and that it had actually been written by an AI?

Whit: When he mentioned that I was experiencing Celential’s platform right now while reading that first email, I’d just assumed that meant he’d used Celential to identify me from a candidate pool. I’d never have guessed that he was referring to the actual message he’d sent me as well!

So it definitely wasn’t something that I saw coming. It’s usually pretty easy to identify sales recruiting emails that weren’t written by a human because they give a dry pitch about joining a fast-growing team and having a competitive commission.

In comparison, I really got the sense that Brian had thoroughly reviewed my background and had come up with several specific reasons why he wanted to reach out to me.

Learning that was proof of concept for me on Celential’s product, and I was intrigued to continue interviewing from there.

sales team offsite

Whit and Brian at sales team off-site

Where do you see Celential’s position relative to the market on recruiting solutions? In the end, what made you believe that Celential was where you wanted to be? 

Whit: It’s definitely a cutting-edge product that takes a unique approach to sourcing. There aren’t many solutions that are using artificial intelligence to scale sourcing in this way that takes all the work out for the recruiter.

It dramatically improves productivity compared to other tools that still require you to decide manually if you want to reach out to a candidate and then craft that message yourself. 

A lot of the traditional resources that it competes with–most notably, recruiting agencies–are pretty expensive. So you not only get the increased efficiency pound-for-pound in identifying and contacting candidates, but you get a lower cost-per-hire because the service itself isn’t priced around the eye-popping commissions that often come with recruiting top tech talent.

I also think it’s notable that costs-per-hire are relatively fixed compared to contingency fees.

I’d say Celential is unique enough to be called disruptive, and I wanted to be part of something that I could see exciting companies making significant investments in. 

What’s next

Whit recently closed an important deal and his sales pipeline is expanding every day. His future managing Celential’s territory in the South and the Midwest looks bright.

If you’re interested in identifying and recruiting top Account Executives, Business Development Representatives, Sales Managers, or Sales Engineers working in tech, schedule a demo with Celential today!

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