You’re receiving InMails daily from recruiters. You’re busy closing deals. You’re not in the market for a new position. There’s an intriguing InMail in your inbox…What do you do now? Discover these tips for a sales interview.
Schedule the Call. Always take the call. Listening is free and you don’t need a resume. You owe it to yourself to learn about new opportunities in the marketplace where you can develop your career and professionally soar. You’ll learn about the position, the product, the people, etc. Yes, there is validity to the saying that “timing is everything,” but how will you know if timing is right unless you’ve learned all the information before making an educated decision? Give yourself time to assess. Taking the call doesn’t mean you’re committed to the entire interview process; taking the call means a conversation. All of the questions below can’t be answered online; you’ll get your answers on the call.
During the Call. Ask questions that are important to you.
- Tech: How mature is the product? What key customers use the product? Is there proven ROI? What about the technology separates the company from the pack? You’ll want to know you’re selling or supporting the best product in the market and that it solves a real problem for customers.
- Company Trajectory: Everyone says they’re the “leader” in the market - is the company truly the leader in the space? What are they disrupting and how big is the market they are disrupting? What are the market share and market cap? Sometimes they will tell you verbally and in person when they are reluctant to disclose on the in email. How many paid clients do they have and what is the client retention rate? Don’t let them fluff their client numbers with beta and non-paid. Who are their competitors? You’ll want to know the company is moving in a positive direction.
- Management: Who would be your manager and what’s this person’s professional background? Who is on the executive management team? You’ll want to know you’re working with smart, successful and supportive leaders.
- Role: What is the quota and territory? How are leads generated? What are the average deal sizes and sales cycles? What is the career path? How many folks are on the sales team? Is there formal onboarding and professional sales training? What is the target prospect? You’ll want to know if you would close a lot of deals in the role.
- Culture: How do they describe their culture? Who is an example of a great cultural fit in their org? Who will you be working alongside? Is it work hard/play hard? You’ll want to know if your peers are smart and fun to be around.
- Compensation: What is the range? Let’s face it, you’re in sales for a reason. Will you make more money than you are right now? Yes, hearing the numbers is important but remember, making those big bucks is dependent on the answers above. You’re having a conversation with a tech startup, so let’s look at the definition of the word venture: “a business enterprise or speculation in which something is risked in the hope of profit” and the definition of capital: “any form of wealth employed or capable of being employed in the production of more wealth” (dictionary.com). Does your view on changing your career mirror the definition of venture capital?
Listen and Win. If the recruiter passes you to the next round, chances are – you’re solid. The recruiter is the eyes and ears of the hiring manager, which is your potential manager, so you’ll want to win with the recruiter, too. Perhaps there is a real potential here for you, but while you’re still getting more information and assessing - make sure you win on the call. Treat each conversation as if the people you’re speaking with are a prospect you’re trying to close. Win each conversation, even if you need more time to assess. Win as if you’re already sold.
It sounds interesting, but you’re still not sure if you want to take it further. Now, is the time to reach out to your recruiter to clear hesitations if you have any. Here are more tips for a sales interview.
What do you do now?
- Research the company just as you would before a meeting with a prospect. Go on LinkedIn. Who are you speaking with during the meeting? Plan how will you create rapport. Know who you’ll speak with before you walk through the door.
- Visit the company’s website. What about the company lights your fire? Know what gets you excited and the company strengths and where those passions meet.
- Use a site like CrunchBase (or other tech info publishers). Which venture capitalists backed the company? Who are the competitors? Does the company have differentiators? Know why the company is special.
- Read the job description. What is the company looking for in an ideal candidate on paper? Anticipate the questions that may be asked ahead of time.
- Dress to impress. Dress as if you are going to see a prospect. Know that you will be in a formal setting. Yes, you’re speaking with a startup, but this won’t be your everyday attire.
- Maintain the athletic perspective. Walk through the door with your head held high and prepare to crush it! The reason a defeated athlete walks through the locker room with their head held low, buried in his/her shoulders – is because they’re defeated. If you’re not feeling confident and good posture isn’t enough, you may be suffering from poor preparation. Do more research and contact your recruiter to ask more questions. The recruiter is your champion. The recruiter has the strongest relationship to the hiring manager (your potential manager) and knows exactly why you are a great candidate.
- Use the information the recruiter gave you. Identify what stood out to you. You’ll want to show you’re excited.
- Ask relevant questions. What questions do you need answered from your potential sales leader to be successful? What is important to you? Ask the questions that mean the most to you; don’t just ask to ask and to fill up space. The conversation will be richer if you don’t give typical interview responses, and it will mean more if you ask those ‘hard-to-ask’ questions you need answered before taking your next big career move. This is a two-way street.
- Know your Numbers. What is your quota vs. revenue attainment, average sales cycle, average deal size, etc.? Numbers really do speak louder than words.
- Sales Process. What is your structure to close a deal? You’ll want to show you’re process-driven and be able to take a hiring manager step-by-step through a deal.
- Deal Execution. What is your motivation to close? You’ll want to emphasize that you’re hungry and energetic and why.
- Sales Training. What is your sales training background? Own that you’re a professional salesperson.
- Sales Techniques. What sales techniques would you use on a prospect? Close each and every person.
- People do business with people they like. Have fun. Take the time to like the people you meet. The more you’re genuine the better you’re perceived and the better you’ll feel. This is your time to show what you’ve got. Crush it.
Decompress but don’t retract. It isn’t over… yet.
- Follow-ups. Each person you spoke with during the interview should have a followup the same day as the interview took place. Each followup should be tailored to each personality and should mention at least one specific reason as to why you’re a fit and something that stood out to you in the experience. Resist the urge to send the same email to each person; they will likely compare. You created rapport during the interview and answered important questions; add that content to the email. Think personal and professional. Stand out. Be original.
- Make a decision. There are a lot of variables to run through when choosing to make a move. Do those positive variables of the company you’ve interviewed with outweigh your current situation? Be decisive and make it happen. You’ll want to show you’re able to react fast just like you would in the sales cycle.
What do you do now?
Have a look at BrightEdge jobs here: http://www.brightedge.com/seo-careers