Preparing Yourself For Tech Sales Interview
39: Answers you need to break in...
Head over to A Practical Guide On How To Break Into Tech Sales and download the complete .PDF containing over 75 pages on how to break into the industry.
Hello ladies, gents, cartoon animals, and others.
Another article when it comes to “breaking into tech sales”. In case you are looking for the other ones in the series. We recommend you check out the following article where you will find a complete list.
The factor that plays a huge role in landing yourself a comfortable position.
Selling yourself to the interviewer.
We already cover what you should be asking and how to qualify the company you are interviewing with in the earlier posts. Time to cover how you should be answering questions from your future boss.
While at the same time positioning yourself as someone who can be trusted.
The truth is most hiring managers figure you out in the first 15 minutes. Signs start to show during the interview process. That’s why you must try to leave the best impression and sell yourself.
The idea here is to keep it as practical as possible.
Since there are millions of articles such as this one. What we are doing here is giving you a clear blueprint on how to use “things” your way.
Selling starts before you even land a role → during the interview process.
As always the questions you are most likely going to meet on your way when it comes to any interview. Most of these should be answered in the 3 - 4 minutes range. With the specific purpose of positioning yourself as effectively as possible for the role. One for which you are currently interviewing.
When it comes to most of the questions you want to lead with the story example. On top of that add your previous experience to sell it as best as possible.
What do we mean by that?
Make sure to emphasize the activities you had/did to show off your fit for the role you are dealing with.
Trying to get into a CSM role? But before that, you only had an experience as a receptionist in the local hotel?
This means you were building up the connections with the guests and making their stay at the hotel as best as possible. Throw in the subtle mention of how regular guests used to ask about you because you exactly knew their personal preferences for rooms etc...
Stupid example. But you should understand the big picture which is that in the end, your goal is to make yourself as natural as possible.
Opposite to that if you are trying to break into the SDR role. Talk about your experience how with the “discovery questions” you use to find out what customers like and tailor the offer to their needs.
Another tip to keep in mind?
Learn to shut up.
Most can’t stop talking about themselves once they start. One of the easiest ways to mess up and push the whole interview into an unnecessary self-oriented rant that will not move you forward.
Don’t be one of those.
Questions And Tips
Q: Tell me about yourself?
Tip: 100% chance you will get this question first. Subjective one in the end. The “hack” when it comes to answers is that you will always lead toward the position you are applying for.
Q: Biggest failure?
Tip: When you get asked questions such as “biggest failure”.
The important part?
Tell the story in the order where you are first describing the problem → how you overcame those → how you applied “lessons” to your own “benefit”.
When it comes to failures/problems → make sure they are “big enough” but at the same time not the red flag.
Q: Why sales?
Tip: We did hear quite a few different variations when it comes to questions such as “Why sales?”. Some like to lead with the challenge part of the game while others also like to build with reward/input type of answers.
Hard to say.
But our recommendation would be to go along the lines of human growth, people, and building up the skill set that is needed in every aspect of the business.
We all know that money is a deep motivator.
But since the companies, departments, and recruiters are becoming more soy each day. We would not be mentioning an answer such as that one.
Q: What is your biggest weakness?
Tip: Similar answers to the “biggest failure” question. You don’t want the big red flag over your head. But instead, a weakness that could be “fixed”.
Something that works great, especially with entry roles - problems with prioritization.
In the sense you are so eager to accept new challenges that you get lost when it comes to “activity” importance. Again repeating the key here is to play it off and make it seem as genuine as possible → without being a red flag.
Q: Why do you want to work at Company X?
Tip: For each company you will interview with, you will have to do a deeper dive into the recent trends and information you can find.
Do your research and find insights about the company → sell it to the recruiter.
With all the questions like this one. Your ultimate goal should be to make them feel comfortable and focus on themselves.
Q: How would you sell our product?
Tip: Depends on the product and company you are going to interview with. In our opinion, the best and safest answer here would be the importance of the discovery phase. Instead of the typical approach of trying to push the product straight away.
Go into discovery mode and push for prospects’ answers. Dig deeper into their pain points and what matters to them. Once you have gathered enough information, make sure to set up the next steps. They want to see that you are capable of performing your future daily activities effectively.
The devil is in the details. The manager could ask how you would go about researching who needs “our” product.
Your goal should be to focus more on the prospecting part of the game (if you get a question variation of that sort). In each case, you must make sure to have answers to both.
Q: Why are you planning to switch companies?
Tip: In case you are already working somewhere there is a big chance you might stumble upon this.
The key here is to not show off your current employer in a bad light.
You get the idea. Stick to a story related to the product or the company’s vision when compared to its competitors. While also communicating your desire to position yourself in a better role.
Q: How do you feel being told “No”?
Tip: We are talking about sales here. You will be hearing “No” a lot of the time. What they are looking for here is how you are “reacting” (emotional state) after multiple rejections.
What you want to do here is convey a story that shows you are detached from the outcome. Meaning you have a system, and a plan, and you are working based on it. Hearing “No” will not move you away from the goal it’s a part of the game.
More to cover down the road. But the questions here should provide you with a great baseline to land yourself a tech sales role.
Once the interview is coming to an end. You will be given the chance to ask the questions.
Here are great two finishers that could serve as types of questions where they will have to qualify themselves. Plus they will be “obliged” to give you direct answers which could be handy.
Especially if we are talking about working in startups. They need to know their direction and how things are heading for them.
“Why do people choose X company over the competitors? Generally wondering what do you different than other competitors.”
Tip: Here we are talking about very direct questions that could turn into them qualifying. Harder to push this through companies with big logos. But works wonders when we are talking about smaller companies or someone that is yet to take a bigger market share.
Shoutout to BowTiedCocoon for the gem. We saw it on his Twitter profile last year. Since then it has become a standard when it comes to advice.
“When you think of best performers what are qualities they have?”
Wait for their answer. Once done hit them with the follow-up:
“Hopefully I have managed to show at least a few of those. Taking that into consideration any reasons you feel this would not be a good fit or any more concerns to touch on your end?”
Bomb question that Jungler provided last year. In case you are looking for in-depth material on how to break into tech sales. Make sure to check out his profile.
Read that could benefit you when it comes to asking questions during the interview process:
Keeping In Mind
What we mentioned above ultimately comes down to practice. The only way to get better with interviews is by putting in more reps. Trying, failing, and repeating the cycle.
All magic there is.
Having “stories” behind your answer and being enthusiastic about your future role will get you far. No hiring manager will turn down a candidate that shows extreme competence.
Companies are looking for someone they can count on. Presenting yourself as someone who can handle the “heavy load” and at the same time is coachable is what is all about.
Whole “secret” when it comes to breaking into tech sales or any other role.
Tip before we wrap up
Since there is a big chance you will be landing the next round. Keep in mind most often the round after will be all about mock calls and demos. Make sure to practice and keep it as natural as possible.
In case you are looking for the script. The article below could help you with that.
Looking for more material on breaking into tech sales?
Check out our list of approved products to make your life easier
Find email addresses for your cold outreach - Findymail - affiliate
Beauty Of SaaS is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.