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UK SaaS Sales Report 2019: The Facts

By Alan Fecamp

Ten years ago, in 2009, there were 21 public SaaS companies. Fast forward ten years and there are now 66 public SaaS companies, representing a combined market cap of $796 billion – 36 x bigger than the combined 2009 market cap!

The growth in the SaaS start-up market is staggering, driven by relatively low barriers to entry and the allure of a huge payout.

Since 2016, the European SaaS market has been on a tear.

European SaaS companies received $5billion in investment in 2019, representing one-quarter of US VC investment in the same period, and demonstrated significantly faster growth in investment over a 12-month period.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the hiring demand for SaaS businesses has been supercharged in recent years.

In my opinion, finding and securing the right salesperson remains the toughest role to fill for London based SaaS companies given the fierce competition.

We’ve dug into the stats on LinkedIn and provided an overview of the key points from 2019.

All numbers are specific to the UK for 2019 - 

Overall Market

  • 9,854 SaaS sales professionals listed across the UK.
  • 21% - The % increase in professionals within this talent pool compared to the same date last year.
  • 5,802 UK SaaS sales professionals changed jobs and moved to a new company in 2019.
  • 3,728 listed London/Metropolitan as their location.
  • 1.7 years – Median tenure of SaaS sales candidates.
  • Gender Diversity - 27% Female / 73% Male.
  • 1,707 – The current number of live job posts across all platforms listed in the UK as of 15.1.2020.
  • 1,171 – the number of live job posts just in London.

Hiring demand and hiring difficulty for Sales professionals is very high compared to other talent pools according to LinkedIn data and official criteria.

We can break this down further by seniority and function -

VP of Sales

  • 638 listed with the title VP of Sales or a similar variation.
  • 10% increase in professionals listed with this title.
  • 396 changed jobs and moved to a new company.
  • 289 listed London/Metropolitan as their location.
  • 2.1 years of median tenure.
  • Gender diversity – 8% Female / 92% Male.
  • 10 live job posts as of 15.1.2020.
  • 100% of live jobs are listed as London based.

Head of Sales

  • 823 listed with a Head of Sales title or similar.
  • 12% increase in professionals listed with this title.
  • 496 changed jobs and moved to a new company.
  • 296 listed London/Metropolitan as their location.
  • 2 years of median tenure.
  • Gender Diversity – 15% Female / 85% Male.
  • 40 live job posts as of 15.1.2020.
  • 37 live job posts just in London.

Senior Account Executive/ Account Executives

  • 7,295 listed with Individual contributor related job titles.
  • 12% increase in professionals listed with this title.
  • 3,870 changed jobs and moved to a new company.
  • 2,632 listed London/Metropolitan as their location.
  • 1.7 years of median tenure.
  • Gender Diversity – 17% Female / 83% Male.
  • 1,068 live job posts as of 15.1.2020.
  • 696 live job posts just in London.

Sales Development Management 

  • 156 listed with Sales Development Management titles.
  • 18% increase in professionals listed with this title.
  • 91 changed jobs and moved to a new company.
  • 44 listed London/Metropolitan as their location.
  • 1.8 years of median tenure.
  • Gender Diversity – 27% Female / 83% Male.
  • 28 live job posts as of 15.1.2020.
  • 18 live job posts just in London.

Sales Development Representatives/ Business Development Representatives

  • 942 listed with SDR/BDR titles.
  • 39% increase in professionals listed with this title.
  • 949 changed jobs and moved to a new company.
  • 467 listed London/Metropolitan as their location.
  • 0.9 years of median tenure.
  • Gender Diversity – 33% Female / 67% Male.
  • 561 live job posts as of 15.1.2020.
  • 410 live job posts just in London.

Observations and Views

The market has seen good growth in 2019 with a 21% increase in the number of roles.

Building an SDR team will be a tough task!

The stand-out growth has been at SDR level which is consistent with what we’ve seen in the market and the high demand from clients.

I’ve felt for some time now SDR hiring will be the biggest pain point for scaling SaaS companies in 2020.

There are a particularly high number of SDR roles being advertised and it’s worth keeping in mind that there will be an equal amount not being advertised to give you a better idea of the volume of opportunity available.

Recruiting SaaS companies will need to have a clear hiring strategy to solve this problem and will need to consider alternative backgrounds rather than expecting good SDR’s to move sideways.

As SDR teams expand I’d expect the number of SDR Manager roles to increase in 2020.

Gender diversity remains very unbalanced!

73% of the overall UK SaaS sales market is male and there doesn’t appear to be a significant change on the horizon looking at the breakdown at SDR level.

The split at VP level is astounding with only 8% of roles being held by females.

Short tenures were a big hiring turn off in 2019!

More clients than I can recall in any other year were put off by too many short tenures.

A few years ago, short tenures were overlooked to a degree on the basis SaaS start-ups weren’t always the most stable of places to be. 

That’s no longer the case with more and more clients stating tenure as a key barometer of success, particularly at the enterprise level where sales cycles are longer.

I’d expect this theme to continue in 2020.

Good SaaS salespeople have a high earning potential, but clients will have high expectations.

If you have any views on these numbers or the market in 2020, I’d love to hear from you.

Tel: 07850739178 / alan.fecamp@pie-recruitment.com

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