Break Into Tech Sales by Crushing Your Interview (Part 1 of 4)

Ryan Walsh, CEO and Founder
Ryan Walsh, CEO and FounderNov 20, 2018

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It’s a question that’s asked thousands of times.  Every. Single. Day.  “I have a background in retail, automotive, services, healthcare, etc sales, but want to make the jump into tech sales. Is it possible?”

The short answer is YES! People make the transition all the time and do it successfully.  To get that shot, however, you’ve got to prove in the interview process that not only do you have the desire, but you’ve got the skills.

This is the first in a series of four posts that we’ll be publishing with strategies for crushing your tech sales job interview.  Without further ado, here’s the first key to nailing your interview.

Know your numbers.  Cold.

It’s sales.  You are going to be measured.  Not subjectively like other roles, but objectively.   You will have a number to hit.

Just because your experience to date has been selling something outside of tech, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a great story around your numbers.  Think about your prior experience. How were you measured, what was your target, and what (very specifically) did you do to get there?  Every day, every week, every month.  Do you think about it like that?  If not, you should.

Here’s a very simple example: Say you work in a retail store and have to sell 50 widgets in a month.  How did you achieve that (very specifically)?  Try thinking about it like this:

“My target was 50 widgets in a month and I knew that 1 out of every 8 people who came into the store bought a widget (the managers told us that, but I also wrote down the number I spoke with each day next to my sales to validate that ratio).  So I knew that my bar for speaking with people each month was 400 people – if I spoke with 400 people I would likely sell 50 widgets.  I had to speak with 400 people each month, and I always aimed for over 500.”

“So for our store we saw an average of 15 people come in every hour, and there were usually three sales people on the floor at any given time.  So I knew I would have an opportunity to speak with about 5 customer per hour.  So 5 people per hour means you need to be on the sales floor for 80 hours during the month, and so I managed my variable schedule to ensure that I hit that hourly count.”

As someone who has interviewed probably over 1,000 sales professionals over the years, many of them looking to break into tech sales, if I hear a story like this (and it wasn’t too often), and it was reasonably verifiable, I know that the candidate can translate their penchant for numbers and analytics really well into an SDR or entry level AE role.  This kind of story is GOLD.

Even if you’re already in tech sales, tighten up your numbers and tell the story of your numbers well in your interview!

Stay tuned for part 2 of our 4 part series on how to break into tech sales by crushing your interview – coming next week!

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