Key information to have at the ready for a tech sales interview
There is undoubtedly a huge amount of roles out there for skilled Software Account Executives and Account Managers, BUT, the very best Account Executives and Account Managers are all looking for roles in the same select few companies (and we all know which companies they are!). Our consultants have met hundreds of these candidates – they know they are good and we do too. While it is our job to dig for information if candidates don’t articulate it right away – this should not be the case when faced with a hiring manager in a progressive tech company. This information should be on the tip of your tongue, prepared and ready to impress your potential employer from the off.
With this in mind, here is the key information you should have ready for your next tech sales interview:
This will be very important depending on the type of role you are interviewing for. If you are interviewing for a role with a new business focus be sure to be able to tell the employer what percentage of your current role is new business acquisition. Also be able to explain your process, step by step, for bringing a new client to the business. Similarly, for roles with a focus on Account Management, be able to explain how you retain and grow business.
You should be able to explain how long a deal will take from first contact to close. Highlight the shortest, longest and average sales cycle. Employers want to see how transactional/complex your sales are. This can be very important to potential employers depending on their business model.
Similarly to the sales cycle, know your average deal size as well as your smallest and largest deal. Also, if small deals are used to “land & expand”, make potential employers aware of this and give concrete examples of times where you have achieved this with success. Deal size can be a big factor for potential employers, especially for companies with large deals; only highly skilled Account Execs can close out the largest deals!
Annual Target & Performance in Relation to Target
This is massively important – if you don’t know this, don’t bother showing up! Being able to ream off this information does two things. Firstly, it shows how good you are at your job but it also shows potential employers how commercially aware you are. Secondly, being able to explain variance in figures in relation to target (good or bad) shows you know exactly how the sales process works and will instil confidence in those interviewing you.
Again this is important, possibly not a deal-breaker but still a “need to know”. If you are a skilled software sales professional, the size of the companies you target can be important. Some employers may want people who have sold to a particular size organisation in a particular territory. Given the demand for software sales professionals, this may not stop someone with good experience from securing a new job, but at an enterprise level, it can be slightly more important.
For employers who target particular industries, this can be a key influencer and can be the difference between getting a job offer ahead of another candidate. There are a number of reasons behind this, you may already have an established network of contacts in this industry, you will be able to talk with senior stakeholders, and with your strong industry knowledge, you will be aware of the latest market trends, making you able to spot red flags in the sales process early.
The final element relates to the people you engage with during the sales process. Who do you speak to when closing out deals? This shows at what level and what division of a business you can build credibility. For certain employers, depending on their technology, it may be important that you can establish strong relationships with senior technical staff such as CTOs. Other employers may want you to be able CMOs and VPs of Sales. Also, the ability to talk numbers with a CFO can be instrumental in closing out a deal as they are often in control of the purse strings and ultimately sign off on large deals.