Looking to land a sales job you’re excited about, but don’t know where to start? Here’s some tips.
Even if you haven't been working in sales long, you probably know that there are a lot of sales jobs out there. The sales function is critical to the success of any company — according to a LinkedIn survey of over 4,000 recruiting managers, sales roles were identified as the highest-priority positions to fill.
Despite the number and variety of sales jobs, it can be a challenge to find the position that's the right fit for you and your sales style. When you do find what seems to be your dream job, you want to do everything you can to land it. Here are some techniques and tips on how to get the sales job you've always wanted.
According to a report by Jobvite, recruiters use LinkedIn to research job candidates more than any other social media site. When you're actively looking, LinkedIn can be a useful tool for not only landing your ideal job, but also finding out about it in the first place. One research study estimates that 85 percent of all open jobs are filled via networking, which means that LinkedIn can be a useful vehicle for expanding your network and learning about new opportunities from your connections. Some of the other ways you can use LinkedIn to find your dream sales job are:
Endorsements and recommendations: Don't be shy about asking clients, co-workers, or bosses to give you a LinkedIn recommendation. When recruiters are checking out your LinkedIn profile, they'll be impressed to see endorsement and recommendations from clients praising your relationship-building and sales skills.
A strong profile: From having a professional photo to a well-written job history, you can develop a winning LinkedIn profile that stands out in comparison to other sales candidates.
Highlight relevant work experience
A 2018 survey on sales hiring found that 90 percent of hiring managers say it's increasingly difficult to hire sales professionals, citing candidates' lack of relevant experience as the key reason. If you want to be considered a top candidate for the sales position you desire, you'll need to spend time organizing your resume to highlight the areas that are relevant to that position. Your resume should also include demonstrated success in the areas important to hiring managers. These include the number of new clients, President's Club wins, or the percentage of sales over quota you've accomplished so far.
Updating your resume is also important, especially if you are looking at different types of sales positions. For example, after many years in roles with a high-price, low-volume sales cycle, you may be applying for a high-volume sales role. In that case, you'll need to position your work experience to highlight the times when you either worked in a high-volume sales role or closed a high number of individual transactions with the same client. You'll also need to be able to speak articulately about those work experiences in an interview. Even if the experience is further back in your career, it's important to highlight it, lest your resume be tossed into the “no relevant experience” pile.
Deliver a strong pitch
When interviewing for a sales position, there is an expectation of strong verbal communication skills and interpersonal dexterity that demonstrates your ability to sell. Successfully interviewing for a sales position involves more than having good answers to commonly-asked questions. It also requires having a thoughtful, well-practiced pitch that shows you've researched the company and its products and are ready to hit the ground running if hired.
Whether you're interviewing with HR or the hiring manager, you should be ready to deliver a pitch that sounds something like the one that might be delivered by current members of the sales team. Of course, it won't sound exactly the same, as you won't have had the benefit of sales materials or training, but your pitch should be convincing enough that the hiring manager can see your potential for success.
Negotiate your offer with finesse
You understandably want to land a job with a great compensation package. When you're close to accepting your dream sales job offer, it's important to determine if the compensation structure is one you can live with long term. If it isn't, you may need to negotiate the offer.
When you're negotiating a job offer, it's important to be professional and flexible. If you think the commission formula undervalues certain types of sales, then explain your views to the hiring manager or HR. Politely ask if they will consider an alternate commission structure. Many companies have a compensation plan in place that is applied fairly to the whole sales team, so they may not be willing to change it. However, there may be an opportunity to adjust your base salary or another component of the job offer instead. It may also take time for the company to consider your concerns. Therefore, it's best to demonstrate patience while trying to negotiate.
The hiring process can be challenging and even stressful for companies and candidates alike. Yet, when you find the sales job of your dreams, there are things you can do to demonstrate you're the candidate they've been looking for all along.
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