YOUR GUIDE TO CREATING CAREER CHEMISTRY IN YOUR INTERVIEW
Mastering an interview starts at the bottom up, nail the basics and you’ll minimise potential pitfalls. Remember: you are giving your interviewer a taste of what you can offer to this SaaS job, the hiring manager mirrors your future potential clients.
- Always arrive in good time, allow yourself as much time as you need to be sat waiting for the interview with 10-15 minutes to spare.
- Promote your own personal brand with what you wear. Have a look at the SaaS companies’ websites and/ or social media pages to gauge the environment.
- Strike up a conversation with people you meet in the office, set a solid first impression as an approachable and decent person.
- Bring a notepad and pen (and actually take notes you can refer back to!)
- Have questions prepared on your pad – 5-10 should suffice
- Know Your Customer – Familiarise yourself with the history of the Company, Crunchbase is our friend! Be aware of key Stakeholders in the business, funding rounds, ROI of the Software or Service, and Research Customer case studies. Always visit YouTube for Software demos.
- Research the individual you will meet on socials, and try and find some common ground. Ask your questions to the stakeholders within the room, even if you have got one answer, someone else’s answer might give you a different perspective, so ask it again
- Be time conscious
- Close the meeting for feedback – natural trait is for ‘happy ears’ syndrome, it’s more important to understand what they are not sure about?
- Handle objections using qualitative and quantitative evidence
- Check for understanding
- Agree on the next action
- Summarise back
We work with a broad range of SaaS companies from software houses, to analytical platforms to automated logistics.
After over a decade of working with fast scale SaaS companies we know what our clients are searching for and we have the perfect formula to get you to where you need to be.
SaaS Job Interview Tips
1. Be preparedIt goes without saying that good preparation is key when it comes to interviewing for any job. But when it comes to SaaS job's, it’s not enough to know when the company was set up and by whom. You’re going to want to prove that you’ve done more than take a cursory glance at their Wikipedia page on the train on the way to the interview. Make it your business to know the company’s mission and ethos inside-out and upside- down. Research who they are, what they do, who they do it for, and why they started doing it in the first place. Read, read, and read about that company until they could be your specialist subject on Mastermind. And then read some more. The saying, ‘better to be over-prepared than under-prepared’ has never been more relevant than during the interview for a job you’re determined to land!
2. Be Able To Answer ‘Why?’Of all the interview questions you’re likely to be asked when you’re going for a SaaS job, the toughest one might also be the simplest: ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ Spoiler alert: the right answer isn’t ‘I need the money, and you’re the first company to show interest.’ - companies want missionaries, not mercenaries! Much like on a first date, showing interest and offering a certain amount of flattery is going to do wonders for your success. This is where your research comes in. If you align yourself with their ethos, are excited because they are a start-up or a well-established business with a rich history, or are looking to get involved with a company based on its reputation - let them know. When you’re doing your research into the company, ask yourself if this is somewhere that you can see yourself spending the next 2-5 years of your career. If you don’t know, then you might want to reconsider whether to interview with them at all!
3. Mentally Prepare Your AnswersThis is a tough one because you can’t predict EXACTLY what you’re going to be asked during the interview, but there are some fairly standard industry questions that it’s worth preparing some answers to. For example:
- What has been your biggest personal success within a SaaS team?
- What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the SaaS industry today, and how would you address it?
- How do you deal with stress?
- What are the largest and smallest sales teams you’ve worked with?
- Tell me about a deal you have won
- Tell me about a deal you have lost
- What three words would a former client use to describe you?
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
4. Use Their ProductOr at least have tried it - it could be pretty hard to sell it convincingly otherwise. Whether you’re interviewing for a SaaS job in engineering, sales or marketing, having personal experience of the product will help you know whether you can be passionate and excited about the company and their product. This is going to help you to convey that passion to your interviewer, and also help during interview questions such as, ‘how would you improve the product?’ - which is a question you’re almost definitely sure to be asked, and one that you won’t be able to answer if you haven’t even tried it.
5. Know How You Will Add ValueYou’re probably not the first person to be interviewed for this job, and you might not be the last. So, how do you stand out from the crowd and pip those other hopeful candidates to the post? By being memorable. No, we’re not suggesting you turn up in a bright yellow suit or on a horse (although that will certainly be spoken about in the office for years to come). What an interviewer will remember above all else, are the candidates who show how they can add value to their company. Show your interviewer that you’re familiar with their product, and that you have ideas on how to improve it. Talk about the features of the product that excite you, and how you would use that to engage users. Tell them how you think the company could increase conversions, how you think customer service could be improved….basically any ideas you have about how you personally could help push the company forward - tell them.
6. Show That You Know The IndustryIt will be obvious from your resume what you know and don’t know about the SaaS industry, and what your particular skill set is. But, if you want to stand out against all of the other interviewees with similar talents and experience, show that you know the companies that could be a competitor to the one that you are interviewing for. Read articles and reviews on rival companies and try to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses and think of examples of how they could be exploited. This shows an interest in the market, and that you’re aware of the need to be constantly honing and fine-tuning a product and the sales and marketing processes.
7. Abika Says ‘Relax’Easier said than done, it’s only natural to be a little nervous during a job interview (especially if you reeeeallly want it!), but remember that interviewers are people too, and they might even be just as nervous as you are. Maybe more! After all, the very future of their business’s success could rely on finding just the right person for the SaaS job your'e interviewing for. Ultimately, they’ll be looking for enthusiastic, intelligent people who will mesh well with their existing team, so be sure to showcase your passionate, friendly and knowledgeable attributes! Be well-rested, have a good breakfast, and turn up fresh, presentable and well-prepared, and you won’t go far wrong!
What To Ask Your InterviewerOk, so you feel like you absolutely smashed that interview; you had a well thought out answer to every question, you came off like a SaaS industry expert who could single-handedly launch the company into the stratosphere, and you did it all while looking as cool as a cucumber. Surely all that’s left is the handshakes and the old, ‘We’ve got a few more interviews to do, but I think I can safely say we’ll be in touch…’ However, before that comes the bit that candidates are most likely to fear and under-prepare for… ‘Is there anything you’d like to ask us?’ You can of course choose to say, ‘no, I don’t think so,’ or make a joke about, ‘just when can I start?’, but if you want extra brownie points and to up your chances of actually getting that start date, that would be a mistake. It’s always a good idea to have a few SaaS-related questions up your sleeve, just to further cement your interest in the company into the interviewer’s psyche. If these points haven’t been explicitly clarified during the interview process, and the answer to these questions couldn’t be found during your pre-interview research, some great things to ask include:
- In which industry does your product tend to have the most success?
- What is the quarterly target for this team?
- How many of the sales team hit these targets?
- Is this position open due to department growth?
- Based on my experience and this interview, is my skill set what you’re looking for?
Post SaaS Job Interview TipsThese might sound fairly obvious, but once the interview is done and the relief has washed over you, the instinct could be to cut and run - but don’t forget your manners! Be sure to thank your interviewers for their time and interest before you leave, and possibly even follow up with a thank you note or email to reiterate your interest in the job - especially if it’s been a remote interview rather than face-to-face. Make notes of what you were asked and how you responded, that way, if you’re not successful this time, it might help you to see how you could answer differently next time, or prepare answers for the interview questions you couldn’t answer this time around. Half the battle when it comes to interviewing for a SaaS position is finding a company where the chemistry is absolutely right. Often this isn’t something you’ll discover until you start working there! The best way to increase your chances of getting a SaaS job within a company that is looking for someone exactly like YOU is to let Abika Consulting make that match for you. We help clients from all over the world find the very best SaaS candidate for them - and vice versa! - ensuring long, rewarding careers in the SaaS industry. Upload your CV today.
What Is SaaS?
What is SaaS? In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business world, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that jobs in SaaS are among the most sought-after for those wanting to develop a lucrative career. In fact, when it comes to serious earning potential, SaaS jobs can be right up there with high-paying careers such as those in finance and law.
The best part of heading down a SaaS career path is that you don’t need to have extensive software development skills or have launched your own unicorn tech startup in order to succeed!
The greatest weapons at your disposal for forging a rewarding and lucrative career in SaaS are great communication skills, the ability to network your butt off, and sales experience.
But what exactly is SaaS? What are the benefits? And what is the future looking like?
Abika Consulting takes a look…
What Is SaaS?
In a nutshell "what is SaaS", SaaS (Software as a Service) is where, instead of downloading software on-premise to your PC or business network to run and update, you access the apps from any device via an internet connection and a web browser. Whether you work in an office or on the go, have your own business, or work from home, you would have undoubtedly used SaaS, whether in the form of a simple calendar app, an accounting app, or even a project management app.
You might know SaaS better as ‘web-based software’, ‘on-demand software’, or ‘hosted software’, but, regardless of what name it goes by, SaaS apps run in a SaaS provider’s servers - with that provider managing every aspect of the software including access and availability, security and performance.
This cloud-based way of doing things is so common now that over 60% of businesses use only web-based products.
But why so popular?
What Are The Advantages Of SaaS?
For SaaS customers, it’s really a no-brainer: with Saas there’s no software or hardware to buy, install, maintain and update - which is going to save you valuable time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere - plus, access is super-easy because all you need is an internet connection. In a weird twist, it’s the ‘needing an internet connection’ that is often cited as SaaS application’s one downfall. But, in this world of superfast broadband and high-speed mobile phone networks such as 5G, it’s pretty much a non-issue. In fact, there are even some SaaS applications that have an offline mode that still allow for basic functionality when you’re not connected to the internet.
Another big benefit of SaaS is that the upfront costs are lower than traditional software download and installation, which means a wider range of businesses can access them - no matter how big or how small! There’s no need to invest in an IT infrastructure that supports software across your whole business; even the smallest companies can have access to software tools that used to only be affordable for the big boys! With everyone from small startups to huge conglomerates being able to take advantage of this technology, it’s really no wonder that there’s no shortage of jobs in Saas out there!
The fact that SaaS apps run through an internet browser means it doesn’t matter which operating system you’re using. Whether your company is all using Windows, MAC, or even smartphones (running on Android or iOS)...sitting at your office PC or working on the train from your phone or iPad, the apps are still accessible - pretty handy when a vast amount of us are now working from home or on the move. Another huge advantage is that you no longer have to invest in reliable backups to safeguard against lost data or a hardware crash. You and your employees can switch between devices whenever the mood strikes or circumstances demand, without losing work by logging into a single account. Simplicity and efficiency at its very best.
What Does SaaS Look Like?
Software as a service has been the fastest-growing market segment since 2019, with a growth forecast in the billions so, not to put too fine a point on it - it’s looking pretty good! Today, businesses are spending 50% more on this technology than they were in 2019, and they’re growing more and more reliant on SaaS as time goes on, a fact that was proven in January 2021 (during the pandemic when people were working from home), when a popular instant messaging platform went down, putting more than 12 million active daily users out of touch with coworkers and clients for over three hours. Panic ensued and the hilarious memes appeared online within moments of the platform’s demise.
Because of the stability and opportunities for growth within the industry, jobs in SaaS are one of the most sought-after business opportunities, and that doesn’t look set to change any time soon. Careers within SaaS include creating, developing, hosting and updating the products themselves, as well as providing them to customers. And the best part is, you have access to a huge global market, so you’re not going to see your client pool suddenly dry up on you!
If you’re in SaaS, you’ve got the option to be in it for the long haul.
SaaS For SMB
We’ve already mentioned that the great thing about SaaS is that it’s accessible to all. So, what can you expect if you’re working for an SMB SaaS company?
First off, you’re selling to a highly fragmented market. Selling software to small to midsize businesses means that you’re selling to companies with less than 500 employees, and with revenues somewhere under £100 million. Despite this, it would be a mistake to think that just because a business is smaller it won’t survive, or that they are poor prospects for a recurring business model. It’s easy to think: ‘small business’, and envision a lone ranger working from their garage or spare bedroom, but that’s rarely the case. In fact, SMBs are one of the fastest growing in terms of interest and reliance on SaaS. And they hardly ever plan on staying small - making them a very valuable market to sell to.
Of course, in any sales job - and SaaS jobs are no different! - you need to know your audience, and the needs of an SMB are going to be different to the enterprise market (we’ll get to them in a bit). Aside from the fact that they’re working with smaller budgets, SMBs want products that will deliver maximum and immediate impact to their customers, with minimal effort. Their main interests are going to be survival, success and repeat business, so you need to keep that in mind when selling them software as a service.
Sure, you’re going to find the buying process with SMBs less defined and less content-intensive, but the good news is that it tends to be quicker - as there are going to be less people ‘sticking their oar in’ as it were, with generally only one or two people making the big decisions, rather than an entire board who all have an opinion. This means you’re going to see a lot more action as a salesperson than in an enterprise environment where 60% - 80% of the buying journey could already be completed before you’re even taken onboard.
Another great thing about working in SaaS for smaller businesses is that you can go old school - with the majority of SMB’s favouring phone calls and Facebook over Linkedin and email. Prospecting and contacting SMB buyers is simply a case of going back to basics:
- Find their website
- Find their email address and phone number (usually that of the owner)
- Give them a call/drop them an email
Easy peasy. At least compared to an enterprise where you might have to email back and forth with various departments before being granted an audience (or phone call) with the head honcho.
SaaS For Enterprise
If you’re looking for a SaaS job that offers more of a challenge, selling to enterprise customers is it. It’s stating the obvious, but enterprise deals are BIG compared to SaaS for SMBs, and the process is decidedly more arduous. On average it can take 6 to 18 months to close an enterprise deal, so it’s not for the faint-hearted or those who love instant results.
Where your SMB customers are concerned mainly with survival, enterprise customers are all about security, and having more control over users and data. If you can’t make it clear as a salesperson that you understand that, the deal is dead in the water. As we’ve already said, making first contact isn’t going to be as easy as with an SMB, so you’ll probably find yourself cold-emailing until you get your man/woman.
There are going to be a lot more people involved in the decision making too, and there’ll probably be several different voices challenging everything that makes Saas, well, SaaS…such as wanting customised versions of ready-made apps or wanting on-premise versions when SaaS is typically in the cloud.
When you think about how much growth a large enterprise client can bring to an SaaS business, the different approach and the extra time and patience could be well worth it. If your sales experience and patter is top-notch, and you could sell ice to penguins, a job in SaaS for enterprise could be the one for you.
What Is The Future Of SaaS?
Well, I think we’ve established that SaaS isn’t going anywhere, especially with more and more businesses moving their software from on-premise to the cloud with the advent of the ‘new normal’.
But, even though we can admit that the pandemic was a contributing factor in the SaaS popularity, it was really only ever going one way thanks to faster and more reliable internet, as well as easier access to multiple markets paving the way for a new generation of SaaS tools.
Companies large and small are constantly in need of new solutions to solve problems with CRM, accounting, ordering, shipping…and everything in between - great news for those in SaaS sales who continue to find themselves with a large and captive audience who are eager to makes their sales and communications processes, recordkeeping, and other functions as smooth and simple as possible.
In short, SaaS is here to stay, and a career in Saas is as rewarding as it is profitable, being fast-paced, exciting, well-established - and one where sales representatives have the opportunity to make high commissions.
If you’re interested in SaaS jobs, or if you’re looking for someone talented and dynamic to join your SaaS sales team, we’d love to hear from you. At Abika we specialise in matching our clients with the ideal candidate so that businesses and careers can flourish together.
4 Top SaaS Trends
The rapid and impressive rise of cloud technology has enabled businesses large and small to operate offsite through SaaS products, rather than having to invest in on-premise infrastructure to reap the benefits of CRM software and automation like they did ten years ago. Nowadays companies can take advantage of applications that result in rapid growth without the headache of expensive overheads, changing the way that businesses operate forever.
But SaaS software is constantly changing, having already evolved from simple cloud features to complex platforms that offer advanced features that are benefiting businesses from small start-ups to huge global enterprises - and these evolutions don’t show any sign of slowing down or stopping as we head into 2023.
So, what can we expect some of the biggest upcoming SaaS trends for the end of 2022 and 2023 to look like?
Abika takes a look…
1. SaaS For Remote Working
Nothing in history has brought to the forefront the benefits of SaaS more than the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, companies now need digital solutions that let all of their employees communicate and collaborate with ease, all while minimising cost.
The progression of the pandemic changed the way people work forever, changing the expectations of employees the world over in terms of work-life balance and job flexibility. With many now continuing to work remotely with no intention of stepping back into the office, employers have had to make adjustments within their companies to accommodate remote work, meaning the faster adoption of Saas.
The clear winners in SaaS software over the last couple of years have been applications including video conferencing and screen-sharing, with CRM and sales platforms quickly following suit. As we finish up this year and head into the next, businesses are going to continue bringing more and more operations online through productivity platforms, remote delivery systems, and people management apps in order to make the permanent shift to remote or hybrid work.
2. AI Is Set To Become A Standard Feature Of SaaS
Artificial Intelligence is quickly becoming a standard feature in the SaaS industry, and is a trend that is set to continue into 2023.
The graphic at the top of this page for instance is AI generated based on the content of this article. Now it may have taken "cloud technology" a bit too literally but if gives you an idea of what can be achieved within seconds.
As a copywriter myself I have dabbled in AI SaaS trends and the AI content creation is something else. With only a small nudge of styling and a description of myself, it is scarily accurate.
Businesses are able to use AI to improve efficiency and spend less money, by using autonomous innovations that can enhance service and better understand their customers’ needs thanks to data-driven analysis. Companies’ desire to do more for less is a huge driving force when it comes to making improvements in AI technology, and this rapid growth in the demand for AI as a feature is going to improve the key features of many software models.
Combining the capabilities of both AI and SaaS is going to increase the possibilities of automation and personalising services, as well as improve and enhance security - innovations that look set to advance even further in 2023 as it becomes easier and faster for developers to gather more and more and more information from both users and customers.
3. The Development Of Mobile-First SaaS
Believe it or not, mobile SaaS is more often than not a bit of an afterthought for developers, but not having a mobile-first approach could be causing companies to miss out on some valuable opportunities.
The world and his dog have a smartphone (95% of adults between the ages of 30 and 49 according to Pew Research Centre in 2021), so it’s safe to say that the overwhelming majority of business owners, employees and customers have access to a mobile device throughout each day.
It seems crazy then, that so much in terms of time and resources are spent creating efficient desktop versions of SaaS products, while mobile versions are left by the wayside. The COVID-19 pandemic saw a massive increase in mobile app downloads across many different industries, and it’s time for the SaaS industry to sit up and take notice, increasing their development of mobile-first apps to take us into 2023
4. An Increase In Low-Code And No-Code Platforms
One of the challenges faced by companies at the onset of the pandemic when it came to shifting to digital solutions was the lack of engineers, and as a result, low-code and no-code platforms saw a huge surge in popularity. It made it easier to develop and deploy new applications quickly, and so more and more developers began adopting these low-code tools.
This looks set to continue into the future, with hybrid teams of business users and developers using these low-code cloud-native platforms to build apps. 66% of workers have adopted low or no-code solutions in the last year or so (Formstack 2021), and this only looks set to continue to rise as more and more companies make the shift to cloud technology and online-first operations.
It’s safe to say that SaaS isn’t going anywhere, and businesses in every industry need to embrace it if they want to keep an edge over the competition. The ‘working from home’ trend is also here to stay, and the higher demand for tools that support this is going to see SaaS working hard to meet those needs as we head into 2023 and beyond. The new generation of SaaS is going to see less complexity in order to make doing business as uncomplicated as possible, making it especially easy for small and medium sized businesses to build, manage and streamline their operations with fully-integrated solutions for all.