Sell me this pen? Really?!
How many times have you been asked that question in an interview? Too many would be my guess. It’s awkward, outdated and pretty useless.
Sales as a profession is constantly evolving, companies are embracing new methods and techniques to structure their sales process and bring out the best in their teams…even adopting agile methodologies like Scrum, commonly used in software development.
In the field of sales recruitment, competition is fierce. In a buoyant market companies will rapidly scale teams. Some candidates will thrive where as others will be left behind. So what can you do to boost your profile and take the next step in your career?
The key is in the preparation, which I have noted below:
Like it or not, your CV plays a part in getting you that initial interview. According to some research, recruiters spend on average between 5-7 seconds scanning a CV. So why not make your CV as clear and concise as possible? Showcase your skills and experience in a few direct points:
- Role and product/service sold
- Revenue generated – per annum, quarter, month (how ever your sales cycle works)
- Average deal size
- Average deal length
- Major achievements
The amount of CVs I see without even half of these points is quite remarkable. This is your career; you’ve worked hard for these achievements so why not highlight them? Even if you have had a tough year you can articulate the challenges and successes briefly and clearly.
Build your network
Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. Build your brand, reach out to potential employers and start developing relationships. The best opportunities will come from your network so start reaching out now!
Do your research
When preparing for an interview, go into detail. Are you fully confident that you can answer questions posed and explain the product that you could be selling? Break it down into a few key areas:
- Sales Cycle – Do you currently manage all of the sales cycle? How do you generate leads? How many deals have you closed? How do develop and manage your sales pipeline?
- Revenue – Know your figures, the total and breakdown
- Product knowledge – Be confident that you know the companies products and are able to explain their offering. Why not go a step further and consider these products/services and their place in the market – Who are the main competitors? What are the USP’s of that product/service?
- Failures –everyone Why not embrace it? Detail accounts or sales you’ve lost. Don’t be afraid; rather take the opportunity to show what you have learnt from it. Demonstrating that level of self-awareness will help you throughout your career!
This isn’t the complete list of how to secure that next step in your sales career. However from my experience of interviewing and hiring these candidates this will give you a solid foundation. Too much time is wasted in the waffle of explaining your role, be concise, highlight your skills and achievements and be prepared to explain the methods you chose to reach the end result. Explaining the method is just as important as detailing your achievements!
Finally, show that you are passionate about your career in sales…oh and don’t forget to close, it’s an interview and you’re a sales person after all!