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Interviewing in a Competitive Job Market Part Three

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Nine Traits that Help You Put Your Best Foot Forward in Any Sales Interview – Part Three

This is the third and final post in a three-part series on Interviewing In a Competitive Job Market.

These ideas have been applied by the top 20% of the salesforce in the tech space to win and secure competitive job offers with some of the most promising tech companies in the world.

You’ll need to be prepared to describe your sales process, give an overview of your sales methodology, and discuss your daily habits and time blocks.

Now, let’s dive in.

7. Sales Process – Being able to describe your sales process both at a high level and in detail is mandatory. For example, when a hiring manager asks about your discovery process, you should be able to talk in-depth about the questions you ask and the outcomes you’re after.

Do you try to uncover the cost of the problem? Are you working towards determining the prospects’ priorities to act?

Benefits of Knowing Your Sales Process in a High-Stakes Sales Interview

Demonstrates Preparedness

Being able to articulate your sales process shows that you have come prepared and are serious about the role. This sets you apart from other candidates who may not be as familiar with their sales techniques.

Indicates Experience

A thorough understanding of your sales process is indicative of experience. Hiring managers look for candidates with the skills to understand the “how” and “why” behind their success.

Showcases Your Strategic Thinking

Knowing your process allows you to discuss it strategically. It shows you’re not just about getting the deal done; you have a methodology, which often involves understanding the client, the market, and how your product market fit.

Highlights Problem-Solving Skills

Sales is all about solving problems. Detailing your sales process demonstrates you understand how to uncover and identify problems (client side or in your own process) and more importantly, how to solve them.

Facilitates Behavioral Interview Answers

Many sales interviews include behavioral questions aimed at understanding how you act in certain job-related situations. Knowing your sales process will allow you to answer these questions with real-world examples, making your answers more compelling. 

Creates Opportunities for Discussing Achievements

When you are familiar with your sales process, you can easily tie in your accomplishments. Whether it’s a complex deal you closed or a new technique you’ve implemented to improve lead generation conversion, and you’ll have a narrative framework to discuss these achievements. 

Tailor Your Responses

Understanding your own sales process allows you to tailor your answers to the company’s values or sales philosophy. This can help show that you’re adaptable and can align with the company’s business needs. 

      8. Sales Training and Methodologies – Have you taken professional courses on selling? If so, which ones? What systems and techniques or philosophies do you apply in your job today?

     Can you discuss in depth some of the most popular sales methodologies? At a minimum, you should be able to discuss the following methodologies at a high level: Challenger, MEDDIC, Spin Selling, and Sandler.

     Here is a refresher provided by our friends at ChatGPT. Use it to review the basics of these common sales frameworks.

The SPIN Selling, MEDDIC, Challenger, and Sandler Sales Methodologies are all unique in their approach to the sales process, but they share the common goal of increasing sales effectiveness.

Below is a comparison highlighting their main differences:

SPIN Selling

  • Focus: Consultative and based on questioning techniques.
  • Components: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff.
  • Advantages: Builds consultative dialogue, encourages customer engagement, and is good for educating the customer.
  • Utilization: Especially effective in complex B2B sales and for customer education.
  • Approach: Progressive uncovering of customer needs through layered questioning.

MEDDIC Sales Qualification Framework

  • Focus: Sales qualification and deal-closing.
  • Components: Metrics, Economic Buyer, Decision Criteria, Decision Process, Identify Pain, Champion, (sometimes) Paper Process.
  • Advantages: High predictability, focused efforts, clear structure, and high close rates.
  • Utilization: Suited for complex, high-value B2B sales where multiple stakeholders are involved.
  • Approach: Disciplined, checklist-oriented to qualify the most promising deals.

Sandler Sales Methodology

  • Focus: Building mutual respect and facilitating honest dialogue.
  • Components: Bonding and Rapport, Up-Front Contracts, Pain, Budget, Decision Process, Fulfillment, Post-Sell.
  • Advantages: Places buyer and seller on equal footing, eliminates high-pressure closing tactics and builds long-term relationships.
  • Utilization: Useful in both complex B2B and high-value B2C sales environments.
  • Approach: Non-traditional, contrarian, focusing on qualifying first and solving ‘pain points.’

 

Challenger Sales Methodology

  • Focus: Transformative and educational, challenging the customer’s way of thinking.
  • Components: Teach, Tailor, Take Control.
  • Advantages: Differentiates the seller, establishes value, focuses on customer improvement, and provides a unique viewpoint.
  • Utilization: Best for complex B2B sales where buyers benefit from new perspectives.
  • Approach: Less about asking questions or qualifying and more about leading and educating the customer.

 

Summary of Main Differences in Sales Methodology

  1. Sales Stage Focus:
  • SPIN focuses on the need analysis stage.
  • MEDDIC is concentrated on the qualification and forecasting stages.
  • Sandler spans the entire sales cycle.
  • Challenger focuses on the middle stages where differentiation and value-building are critical.
  1. Approach to Customer:
  • SPIN uses consultative questioning.
  • MEDDIC utilizes a checklist for qualification.
  • Sandler builds a mutual, respectful relationship.
  • Challenger aims to teach and lead the customer.
  1. Questioning vs. Qualifying vs. Teaching:
  • SPIN involves questioning to identify needs.
  • MEDDIC is about qualifying based on specific criteria.
  • Sandler integrates qualification into relationship-building.
  • Challenger focuses on teaching the customer something new to change their behavior.
  1. Complexity and Application:
  • SPIN, MEDDIC, and Challenger are most effective in complex B2B sales.
  • Sandler can be applied across B2B and high-value B2C scenarios.
  1. Philosophical Underpinnings:
  • SPIN is consultative and educational.
  • MEDDIC is analytical and aims for predictability.
  • Sandler disrupts traditional sales power dynamics.
  • Challenger aims to change the customer’s mindset, often disrupting their status quo.

 

These strategies range from consultative questioning and rigorous qualifying to relationship building and even thought leadership.

But don’t worry, there won’t be a test at the end of this post, but review the outline and be able to speak to some of these common sales frameworks.

     9. Calendar Discipline – Can you describe how you run your day?

     Do you come into the office and start working on whatever is on your desk, or follow a disciplined plan? I’ll tell you about a recent conversation that quickly took me from interested to bored.

Several weeks ago, I interviewed a President’s Club achiever.

On paper, this rep looked like a real winner. I asked him several detailed questions about how he runs his day and generates new business. After all, he said he spends most of his time generating new business because that is how he became the top rep at his company.

And although on paper, he appeared to have an undeniable track record of high performance, his ability to articulate his day-to-day workflow didn’t match this level of “paper success.”

In fact, after our conversation, I can’t imagine him being much more than a B player.

Specifically, I asked him,” How do you get your leads How are you finding these prospects?” He said he doesn’t have a BDR/SDR and generates them 100% himself. I asked him how. He said in a nonchalant tone that he uses LinkedIn and asks for connection requests and introductions. And that was the end of it.

 Maybe I’m missing something here, but last I checked, the consistent A-players I know don’t hit President’s Club multiple years by sending connection requests. Now don’t get me wrong, of course, they use LinkedIn! They do ask for connection requests and introductions. 

But this is not how they generate enough business to be in the top 20%. You can (although “illegally”) use automated tools for these tasks, but if used alone, you will not generate enough prospects to hit President’s Club.

 And if you’ve ever interviewed with me, you probably know my questioning didn’t stop there.

The rest of the conversation was not valuable enough to share, but said “LinkedIn method” was the purported winning methodology of this rep’s “success.”

If you’re a consistent top 20% performer, there is one thing I know about you, and it’s that you run your day with time blocks.

You have developed calendar discipline. You don’t rely on automation to do your entire sales job for you. You follow a disciplined, process approach. And if you think this sounds overly regimented and that time blocks are for inside salespeople, you are wrong.

So, be prepared to discuss your calendar and how you block your time. Discuss the daily disciplines you use to hit your targets because one of the core foundations of a successful salesperson is how they run their day, not how it runs them.

This is the conclusion of a three part series on interviewing in a competitive job market. Hopefully you’ve found this series helpful and the content actionable.

Sonja Hastings SCR123

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