Matt Cobb

By: Matt Cobb




Challenges in Hiring Senior/Exec Level Sales Talent in Fintech

“Why can’t we attract a Sales Director/Senior Sales Exec with the right qualities for our organisation?”

It’s a recurring frustration I encounter from clients across the payments sector. And believe me it’s not exclusive to startups or SMEs.

A large proportion of senior hires I have provided – from fledgling clients to multinationals –have been as a result of ‘rescuing’ employers from their current/traditional approach to attracting key talent, which has led them down a miserable path of time and expense without result.

Hidden Cost

And what of the hires that don’t deliver? The Fintech industry is littered with car-crash episodes of Senior Sales hires who’s cost of failure go way beyond the initial salary investment.

The cost of finding these individuals – through internal recruitment, advertising, executive search, or a combination of all of the above(!) – are obvious. But the hidden cost of lost business, damaged client relationships, a dented reputation and a marred team culture can set a business back immeasurably.

Key Considerations for Key Hires

So how do we negate these events in future hiring?

Well, the honest answer is that we can never completely nullify the threat of a key hire not making the grade. But, our choice of approach to talent acquisition and the processes we adopt in the quest for the ‘perfect’ hire are fundamentally what determines how weighted our chances of success are.

5 Key Considerations Are:

1. What exactly are you looking for in this hire and is it realistic? Conduct market benchmarking to define your goal(s).

2. What is the opportunity you’re offering? The post is more than just the job description. Can you offer a long-term organisational and personal progressive roadmap for this individual?

3. Who is executing the search? Does your HR/internal recruiter truly have the market insight and expertise to turn the heads of Senior Execs already in well paid, comfortable positions?

4. Are you too focussed on a low-cost search for which you expect high-yielding results? Beware – you may find your outlay in time and money rising substantially by taking shortcuts. The quality of the candidate journey is essential in promoting your brand value as an employer.

5. You want the best out there – but can you afford it? Are you willing and able to pay an uplift on the higher salary scale in the market to win over that ideal candidate?

Case Study

Many of our clients came to us in times of need and now turn to us as trusted recruitment partners. In one case, the CEO of a highly successful startup had embarked on a search for a Director of Sales to take his organisation through treble digit growth towards IPO.

He had actually hired an internal recruiter, on contract, largely for this and some other mid-level roles. Unfortunately, although the incumbent had some experience of Financial Services recruiting, he was ill-equipped to navigate the online payments arena and understand where and how to find the most effective results.

The CEO spent the next 5 weeks booking out his diary for interviews with candidates that were simply off the mark.

His next move was to advertise the role via a marketing campaign in the national press – though thankfully he was referred to us first.

We were able to harness the CEO’s frustrations, and, in understanding his business, we recognised how we could utilise our market expertise to employ a targeted approach for his hire.

We understood firstly the comparative business the individual needed to have worked at, and also the background culture fit that would ensure they took our client to the next level. We even had a database listing every Sales Director who had taken a payments startup through IPO. We delivered a shortlist in 10 days, and the role was offered in 4 weeks.


It’s invariably judicious to be prudent with senior hires, particularly within niche markets. Evaluating your recruitment process is key for success. It’s one of the most time-consuming exercises out there outside of your core day-job. It takes you away from what you should be doing, but hopefully for good reason.

Don’t allow lack of forethought towards one of the most important engagements you will make for your business become a cavernous drain on time and cash. Instead, invest once in a specialist, and secure the right person in the right role for years to come.

Sales Point Recruitment are Fintech specialists who partner with clients across the Fintech landscape and advise on best practice in recruitment process to support successful hiring.