Today's post is by Brandon Redlinger, who runs growth at PersistIQ. PersistIQ helps sales reps become more effective – with smarter outbound campaigns, better lead management, and more personalized communication. You can read more of his work on the PersistIQ blog or follow him on twitter @brandon_lee_09.
Looking for a new sales job? Landing in the right organization at the right time can propel your career to impressive heights. Joining the wrong shop can do just the opposite. Whether you’ve pounded the phones for a company or two or are just out of school and looking for your first sales development job, there are a few things you need to know about any new opportunity before signing on.
Before you interview, you should conduct your own research to find out the basics. How long has the company been around? How do customers/users currently perceive the brand? Beyond that, use the questions below to guide your research. If you can’t find the answers, plan to ask these questions during your job interview. Even if you don’t get the chance to ask all of them, they should help you learn whether you’re making the right move.
1. “What’s the current size of the sales team?”
The size of the sales team will help you learn what kind of resources they have. A quickly growing organization should have ample opportunity for you to grow in your own career. Even a product that’s seen a lot of success with only a couple of salespeople could really explode as the sales team gets more resources.
2. “Why are you hiring for this role right now?”
This will give you important context into what’s happening internally at the company. Did someone just leave? Get promoted? Is business growing so fast they’re hiring to keep up with demand? Is business slowing down and they’re throwing every resource they can at the problem?
Try to understand what prompted the need for the specific role you’re considering.
3. “What’s a common deficiency you’ve seen in a salesperson and how did you coach him or her through it?”
This might be the most important question a salesperson can ask in a job interview – assuming you’re talking to a sales manager. Here, you want to hear an anecdote about how the manager successfully coached a struggling sales rep through a tough patch. Many sales managers fall back on their own sales skills and just do the sales rep’s job in a pinch. After all, the manager often has his or her own targets to hit. So, when a rep falls behind their goals, the manager will come in and close deals.
I spoke about this recently with Mark Roberge, chief revenue officer at Hubspot Sales Products. That management style can shake a rep’s confidence and create an environment where laziness thrives, he said. After all, why do the work when you can just “delegate” it to your boss?
On the other hand, Mark explained, “If you find a manager who’s an amazing sales coach, you’re going to have an amazing couple of years and really excel and grow in your career.”
4. “What percentage of your salespeople are hitting quota?”
This question is critical because it’ll give you an idea if their quota is accurate. If they tell you on-target earnings (OTE) are $80,000, but only half of their reps are hitting quota, the organization is setting unrealistic expectations. Practical on-target earnings could be closer to $65,000 or $70,000. Don’t be afraid of asking to see their leaderboard for the previous month. Baiting and switching is, unfortunately, common in sales jobs. Remember, your ability to hit OTE will affect your personal income
5. “What’s your sales workflow and what sales tools or platforms are you using?”
The purpose of asking about their workflow is to uncover their approach to outbound sales. Do they focus only on cold email? Do they focus only on cold calling? Do they have a mixture of emailing and calling? Make sure their workflow fits your skills and comfort level.
You also want to find out what their sales stack is. If a company invests in the best platforms out there, it shows that they’re serious about outbound sales and supporting the sales team. Not only that, but you’re also set up for success.
Remember, the interview goes both ways. You’re vetting good companies to work for just as much as they’re vetting good candidates. Good luck!