Interested in a software sales career?

This is a guest post by Chloe Micklethwaite from Autodesk. If you would like to write an article for our blog, read our guest posting guidelines.

You might be a super-seller, but breaking into the software sales industry can sometimes prove to be a bit of a challenge. You could be at the beginning of your career or perhaps you’re an experienced salesperson, but are interested in moving into the dynamic world of software sales. This post is intended to give you a few tips and tricks to help you land that job you’ve been searching for.

There are lots of moving parts when job searching. I’ve broken them down into 3 stages: preparation, application, and conversation.

Preparation

As with all good sales processes, preparation is the first, and most important step. Research the types of companies you might be interested in and the types of roles that are available. At the same time, ensure your online presence signals that you could be a good catch.

Social media

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Instagram... Where to start? Ultimately, this is up to you and your preferences. If you have an account on Instagram, Facebook etc, consider following the pages of companies that interest you. They may have certain pages related more to how the day-to-day is at the company (check out #AutodeskLife on Twitter and Instagram 😉) which might be a useful insight. More importantly, invest some time in polishing up your LinkedIn page.

LinkedIn musts:

• A professional-looking photo helps people better relate to you

• Complete all the sections – the headline section, add a catchy summary which tells people about who you are, fill out the skills section with a comprehensive set of your skills

• Use facts and figures to demonstrate your successes

• Be authentic – your profile can still reflect your personality whilst being professional. What makes you stand out?

Other things to look at:

• Build your network – make connections and interact with content

• Follow companies you are interested in and try to make some connections with people within them

• Keep a lookout for Sales meetup events near you

Application

You’ve done your research and found some great openings. Now it’s time to apply!

Look at the application process like a sales process. Use your initiative. If you have relevant connections within a company, can you leverage these? Can you reach out to the relevant recruiter or manager to find out more about the role? A lot of the work in Business Development is about contacting the appropriate person within a company. This could be a great way to demonstrate that you can do this!

CV:

• Tailor your CV to the role where possible

• If you don’t have software sales experience, use your CV to demonstrate your sales expertise and transferable skills – any rewards you have received, sales quota achievements, new logos won, etc

Conversation

Great! Your resume looks awesome and you landed an interview. How can you better your chances of getting the role?

Preparation

We’ve already established that preparation is key, but there is such a huge breadth of information available that it’s sometimes difficult to know where to focus.

Look at the company products. It’s not important to be a product expert, but it is important to learn what the company offers its customers. Look at potential competitors, your interviewer(s), and have some questions in mind for them as well.

Prepare for some of the questions you might be asked. Think about your sales approach, your processes, your ambitions, achievements, etc

Practice makes perfect. There may well be a role play of some sort; practice different scenarios throughout the sales cycle

In the interview itself

Listen carefully. Sales is about solving customer problems and is often more about listening and responding. Take some time to make sure you respond to the question being asked.

Be succinct. When nerves strike, it can be common to ramble, so bear this in mind if you have this tendency.

Be confident. You wouldn’t have an interview if they didn’t think you have potential. Your job will often involve speaking with strangers, the interview is no different.

After the interviews, there are, of course, two potential outcomes. You get the news you are the selected candidate (if so, great!), or unfortunately, you don’t get the job.

If you are not successful, ask for feedback and learn from it. A lot of sales is about hearing “No”, so it’s important to know how to deal with that. Try not to take it to heart. There are lots of reasons why you may not have got a job offer at that time around, and it may well not have anything to do with you. Focus on getting the “Yes” you need.