Hiring Enterprise Sales Talent in Germany: Challenges and Solutions
Liam is a Senior Consultant in Zeren’s Commercial practice. Liam partners with clients across Europe, bringing six years of commercial recruitment experience within the high-growth VC-backed tech space.
The job market for Enterprise Account Executives in Germany is highly competitive – perhaps now more so than ever. More and more companies are struggling to fill these business-critical high-value roles and the competition for talent has never been higher. But why is this? Let’s break down some live data from LinkedIn to investigate…
As of 31st January 2023, there are 1,040 candidates currently based in Germany who hold the job title of Enterprise Account Executive – up 28% from 810 in the 12 months prior. The largest concentrations of candidates are located in major cities such as Munich (350+), Berlin (150+), and Frankfurt (120+), with these three cities alone accounting for over half of the total number. But, even if companies are looking to fill an Enterprise Account Executive position within these cities, they still face significant challenges in finding the right candidate for their team.
One of the key challenges is the high level of mobility and restlessness among this group, with over 400 of the candidates having changed roles in the past 12 months. If we assume that those who have moved in the last 12 months would not be interested in making another move so soon, the total addressable market now sits at around 600 candidates. Breaking this down even more, the pool of potential candidates is further restricted by the low number of candidates whose profiles are “open to new opportunities”, at only 140 out of the original 1040. All of this, juxtaposed with the nearly 200 live job posts for this job title, means that companies have to compete heavily with each other for an even more limited pool of candidates than there appears to be on the surface.
Due to the length of sales cycles at the enterprise level (6-12 months or even longer), it is not uncommon for Enterprise Account Executives to take 12-18 months to close a deal that they started from scratch (i.e. excluding pipeline passed to them when they start a new position). It is perhaps surprising, therefore, that according to LinkedIn the median tenure of candidates with this job title in Germany is only 1.7 years. While there are contributing factors on the sides of both the candidates (e.g. lacking necessary skills) and the companies (impatience to see results, changes of business strategy, etc.), at a basic level, it shows that companies need to be more prescriptive, persistent and – perhaps most of all – patient in their search for the right candidate who will be successful and stay in the role for a mid-/long-term tenure. Patience which, in the world of high-growth VC- and PE-backed scale-ups is not often a luxury afforded to hiring managers.
All this, of course, is before even starting to include considerations like specific industry experience, spoken languages, or track records selling into certain verticals or territories, which businesses often look for in new Enterprise Account Executive hires. What’s more, the current gender split of 75% male and 25% female may limit the diversity of the candidate pool for companies looking for a more diverse team. Gender diversity of enterprise sales teams (and of tech businesses in general) is usually very high on the agenda, so yet again this poses even more competition when hiring.
So, what can be done to overcome these challenges?
The statistics clearly indicate that companies looking to fill an Enterprise Account Executive position in Germany will face significant challenges. Companies hiring Enterprise Account Executives by simply advertising jobs will have extremely small odds of finding the perfect candidate. And, even if they manage to find the perfect candidate, they will need even more luck to generate a strong volume of candidates (to scale the team further or to simply provide points of comparison in the interview process).
To increase their chances, companies should strongly consider the use of specialist recruitment agencies like ZEREN to help them strategise and navigate the competitive job market and to dramatically increase their chances of finding and securing the best candidate for their team in an as shorter time as possible.
For a discovery call with one of Zeren’s experts to discuss effectively hiring Enterprise Account Executives and similar talent across Germany in today’s challenging market, contact a member of the team, who will be happy to explore this with you. Alternatively, you can book a discovery call directly into my calendar here.
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