You wouldn’t dream of walking into a sales pitch without being prepared. Researching the company’s background, pinpointing where there’s a profit gap to be filled, and analyzing the competition are all crucial steps involved in knocking a prospective client meeting out of the park.
So why should a sales interview be any different?
A sales team is often the front line of a company’s initial marketing strategy, revenue source and client management practice, so the champions of the sales floor need to be strong. So when sitting down for an interview, it pays to show that you’ve done your research and have thought ahead about where you might fit into their typically tight-knit dynasty.
After all, selling never sleeps – and having to sell yourself is just the beginning on the turbulent, but extremely rewarding, sales journey.
That’s why, below, Built In asked the following four sales leaders to explain what it takes to stand out in a sales interview. Looking to identify your next big role? Listen in.
“Research. It’s a no-brainer for me.
You need to research the company, the products, the interviewers, financials, etc. As an interviewer, if a candidate has done their research, I can feel better about the fact that this is a common practice for them and that they will do the same before attacking an account. With all of the information available to us these days via LinkedIn or Google, it is borderline impossible to not know how to find an ‘in’ with your interviewer and their company. Plus, it makes the conversation that much easier when you can talk about your favorite taco place around the corner from where y’all both worked previously.”
Mike Jacobs is a Sales Manager at Rapid7, a security software company.
“Know your stuff – research is key. If you have an understanding of the company you are interviewing for, you naturally align yourself with your interviewer. As with any conversation, being able to strike common ground makes things flow. You don’t need to be an expert, but come with an understanding of the company and the person who’s interviewing you!”
Kester Hodgson is the Senior Vice President at MVF, a global customer generation company.
“It is vital you take the time to formulate honest and thoughtful responses to the most common interview questions asked in sales. You want to be as prepared as possible for a sales interview, as if you were preparing to ultimately close a deal.
After all, that is what you are there to do, right? Close the deal and land that dream job.
Be able to articulate ‘why sales?,’ but more importantly, why tech sales and why tech sales at LogicMonitor. Be prepared to share what your career goals are, both short and long term. Prime yourself to discuss your approach to prospecting, the buying process, territory management and ultimately explain how you would go about managing your book of business.
Also, it is incredibly important to understand not only what LogicMonitor sells, but also the value that it brings to our customers. You should be able to describe who would benefit from such a solution like ours, who our competitors are, and why our product differs from other existing solutions in the market. Preparation is everything, and the key to a successful interview is taking that initiative to truly set yourself up for success.”
Crystal Benavides is the Senior Manager of Business Development at LogicMonitor, an SaaS-based IT monitoring platform.
“It’s imperative that you research the company and its products and services. This allows you to effectively convey how your sales experience will contribute to the company’s revenue. Be prepared to speak on your success at attaining aggressive sales goals and quotas. Share details about your previous targets and your consistency at hitting or exceeding those targets.
As you research employers, acquaint yourself with the company’s culture. At AWL, our culture is the heartbeat of our organization and our core values are its foundation. It’s essential that candidates align with our core values. Like most companies, a candidate’s ability to enhance our company culture is as vital to us as their professional contributions.
Finally, be enthusiastic when interviewing. Personality matters in sales. We love an energetic, passionate candidate! If you’ve never worked in sales, highlight aspects of your previous job that have prepared you for sales. It’s likely you do have experience that would translate well for a sales role. Pair that with energy and assertiveness and you could be a great fit for a sales position.”
Kimberly McKnight is a Recruiter at All Web Leads, an insurance marketing company.