Despite the potential lucrativeness of sales jobs, the sales industry has a turnover rate almost twice that of the American workforce, according to statistics from the Harvard Business Review. Chapel Hill-based RepVue, an online rating tool for companies’ sales organizations, could have a solution.
The reason many sales professionals struggle to succeed is not that they are not skilled or hard workers, said RepVue CEO Ryan Walsh. It is usually because they are not a good fit for the company they are working for or the position they are working in.
A sales professional himself with close to 18 years of experience, 16 years of which were spent at Morrisville-based ChannelAdvisor, Walsh has seen many a salesperson fail because of a job that is a bad fit. He said this is partly because of the hiring process.
“In interviews, the hiring organization gets the resume, the hiring organization does the phone-screen with HR,” Walsh said. “Then the candidate will probably sit with four to eight people, all extracting information from the candidate… There’s this really important transaction, but the information exchange is really one-sided.”
RepVue seeks to empower sales professionals to have more than just a few minutes at the end of their interview to ask questions—and get answers—about their potential employers. It does this by giving sales professionals a process to rate the companies they work for or have worked for, anonymously and objectively. Then RepVue aggregates these ratings to produce a data-rich evaluation of a sales organization. Think of it as Glassdoor for companies’ sales departments, but without the trolls.
In order to ensure reviews are as objective as possible, Walsh said RepVue uses a carefully designed rating system. After entering information about where they are, who they work for and what they do, users are asked to rate their company on six key categories on a scale of one to five stars: base compensation; incentive compensation and organization structure; culture and leadership; training and onboarding; product-market fit; and inbound lead and opportunity flow.
This information helps RepVue understand what companies do well. After rating their company, users are asked what percentage of their company reaches their sales quota.
In the last step, users are asked to order the original six categories from what is most to least important to them. This way, RepVue can not only see what categories companies excel at—or fall short—but it can also understand the relative importance of those categories to their employees.
Eventually, this data will also allow RepVue to match sales professionals with an organization that best aligns with their values, a feature RepVue is rolling out in a couple of months.
“Not only will we let users consume all this data on these companies, so you can look at it and decide for yourself what is good for you and what is not good for you,” Walsh said, “we will also have technology that will do automated job-matching for our users.”
Once users take the initial survey, they can unlock all of the information RepVue has to offer about other companies they could potentially apply for. Since sales is a dynamic profession with high attrition, this could be a valuable tool for sales professionals looking to move companies and find a better fit.
RepVue is predominantly bootstrapped by Walsh, with the help of some local angel investors—including Scot Wingo, the Founder/former CEO of ChannelAdviser and current Founder/CEO of Spiffy—in his network. Walsh is the sole founder and CEO, and he manages a small team of offshore developers with the help of Senior Technical Advisor Aris Buinevicius. While RepVue will always be free to sale professionals, it plans to use a subscription model to charge hiring agencies to use RepVue as a recruiting platform.
“Our mission is to truly empower sales professionals to take control of their career,” Walsh said, “and to get into a role where they can really see the success they deserve and achieve the potential they have. And we plan on sticking to that mission.”