Take a breath: You’ve submitted your resume, passed the initial phone screen and made it to the first round of interviews. Now it’s getting real! You’re in the running, but the competition for this role is still fierce. You know you have to crush the interview if you want to get the job, and this is more in your control than you may think. Here’s a sales interview checklist to ensure you will be well prepared win the role:
Are You Ready to Discuss Your Experience?
Make sure you have detailed data points on your career experiences. You don’t just want to describe your experience generally; you want to be prepared to back it up with specifics, even if it’s your first professional sales role. For example, know your competitive wins/losses and the daily responsibilities of the roles you’ve held in the past. Try to think of some anecdotes or case studies of clients you’ve helped, sales you’ve made, challenges you’ve overcome, and other wins you’ve had. In a sales interview, you have to sell your own unique attributes.
Do You Know Your Numbers?
Sales is a numbers game, and hiring managers want to know your numbers. What was your quota vs quota achievement? What was your average sales cycle and average contract value? How did you rank on your team and at the company? Know your numbers (or write them down if you need to), and have details to back them up. How did you achieve these numbers? What strategies did you use? If a number was low, why was it low and how could you improve it?
What Is Your Sales Profile?
What type of sales professional are you, and how will you fit into the sales ecosystem of your prospective employer? Can you back it up with real world examples and experiences? Have your stories well thought out so the interviewer can envision you being successful at their company. You can never have too many examples prepared; you probably won’t use all of them, but it’s good to have them at the back of your mind so you can pull relevant ones when needed during the sales interview. Know your strengths, and give examples that specifically illustrate those strengths.
Have You Done Your Due Diligence?
Many sales professionals who interview for jobs are not well prepared. They come into the sales interview with a copy of their resume, a general idea of the job description, and not much else. Set yourself up for the win by conducting due diligence on the employer and the role. Use third-party sources like Gartner, G2 Crowd and Forrester to really understand the company dynamics (revenue, employee count, industries served, growth rates, etc.). You should be spending several hours in the week prior to the interview getting a sense of the company, the market, their product or service, their culture and ethos, and how you can add value.
Do You Have Questions Prepared?
Preparation is key to asking smart questions. Don’t wait until the hour before your interview and scramble to think of a few questions. Prepare days in advance, with well thought out and well-crafted questions. Show your interviewer that you’ve done your homework. Make sure the questions you’re asking haven’t already been answered during the course of the sales interview, and make sure the answers aren’t easily available on the company website (this will show you didn’t do your research ahead of time). And if the interviewer can’t answer your questions, that may be a red flag to consider.
Have You Worked Out the Basics?
The simplest thing, like being late, could totally derail your sales interview. If the interview is onsite, make sure you have good directions and check the traffic. If the interview is virtual, make sure you have the right link, good wifi, a good video background and no distractions. Have a current updated resume and something to take notes with. Nothing shows worse than an unprepared candidate for a highly competitive position.
The sales interview process can be highly competitive, and it’s one of the most important parts of landing the role (you are, after all, giving the interviewer a glimpse at how you sell). But if you use these core points to make sure you give yourself every advantage, you CAN win the role you want.