tech sales job description for sales development and account executives

What Tech Sales Job Descriptions Are REALLY Telling You

In this article, you’ll learn what tech sales job descriptions are really telling you, along with a breakdown of the different types of sales positions that exist in tech.

Before we dive into how companies advertise sales positions (and what that means for you, the job seeker), it’s good to have a basic understanding of the possible types of tech sales jobs that exist.

In a certain sense it’s quite simple. Excluding managerial roles there are two types of tech sales jobs, those related to sales development (it’s possible to get sales development jobs with minimal experience) and those related to actual sales, closing deals, etc (typically known as an Account Executive).

But within these two categories there is a great amount of variety.

Different companies have different needs, and therefore being an SDR/AE at one company is likely quite different than having the same job title at another company.

Let’s first consider SDR’s and the types of roles that there are.

Types Of SDR Jobs

1. Outbound SDR:

This is a labor intensive role, often best suited for people fresh out of college beginning a career in tech sales. It involves a lot of cold calling (80 – 100/day), mass emailing, leaving voicemails — it’s the epitome of grunt work. Companies that lack a great deal of marketing leads will often compensate by using teams of outbound SDR’s to generate opportunities manually.

2. Inbound SDR:

This is a much ‘chiller’ job compared to an outbound role, available at companies with a significant amount of interest in their product. The Inbound SDR will qualify various inquiries and decide which ones are worth passing along to the sales team. These are great jobs to look for because any company with enough interest in their product to need Inbound SDR’s likely has substantial product market fit.

3. Enterprise/Strategic SDR:

This is a role where an SDR works closely within a team or directly with an Account Executive to open up important business opportunities. It will still involve cold calling, but will require more strategy than a normal Outbound role. Often Enterprise SDRs will have to map out the various people in an account and create personalized emails based on their LinkedIn profiles.

Of course, most SDR roles will not be one of these three types exclusively, and will be more of a hybrid of several. Let’s now look at some SDR job descriptions and see what one can gather from the description.

SDR Job Descriptions: Decoded

Example 1: Diffbot

Account Development Representative (ADR)

The Account Development Representative (ADR) at Diffbot is the first line of customer identification and qualification for the Data Solutions team. This role helps qualify inbound and prospect outbound leads for the company’s sales process — ADRs are innately curious about how AI will revolutionize the nature of information processing across all industries in the future. They are comfortable speaking the language of all of the various stakeholders in a large organization: ranging from the developer up to the CEO, to learn about how they use data and educate them about how our technology can make their workflows more efficient.

Core Responsibilities:

– Lead prospecting targeted outbound accounts for new opportunities; respond to and qualify inbound leads for potential customers

– Meet and exceed set monthly opportunity generation goals

– Communicate professionally and build relationships with C-level and VP level contacts at companies across various industries

What Does This Actually Mean?

From this description, we know that the ‘Account Development Representative’ role at Diffbot is really a hybrid of an Inbound SDR and Enterprise SDR. We know that there is an Inbound competent to the job because it says so plainly. We know that there is an Enterprise SDR component to the role because of the bit about being ‘comfortable speaking the language of all the various stakeholders in a large organization.

What this translates to, roughly, is that the ADR will have to interface with several people within an organization. This could be to book a meeting for an account executive, but it could also be do some detective work and find out who the decision maker/makers are. The ‘Account’ Development Representative has to think about entire accounts strategically, rather than just throwing out blind repetitive cold calls.

Example 2: Apptimize

Sales development is the life blood of Apptimize. The CEO loves sales development and in the early days manually sent 500 emails per day. The sense of accomplishment when you go through the prospect responses, the rapid iteration through different combinations of target profiles and pitches- maybe we’re weird but we find it satisfying and fun. Business development is how we get our best customers.

This role is ideal for someone who wants to live at the the front line of our go to market strategy and figure out what works with what audience and what’s going to come up during the sales process.

What Does This Actually Mean?

While it doesn’t say so specifically, from the second sentence it’s quite clear that this is a job description for an Outbound Sales development role. Here’s how you can tell. First and foremost, Apptimize gloats about and admires the manual outbound sales process that the CEO went through in its early days. Secondly, the description specifies that this role is for someone who wants to be on the ‘front line’.

Note: If you read this article and retain anything, remember that in sales being on the ‘front line’ is code for an extensive amount of cold calling, cold emailing — manual sales work. From this job description, it seems likely that Apptimize’s SDR role is almost purely outbound.

Example 3: Airtable

Core Responsibilities:

  • Strategize around sales inquiries with other members of the sales team.

  • Educate existing free Airtable users about the value of our premium product.

  • Coordinate users’ product exploration journeys, each tailored to the specific organization at hand, to convert budding interest into commercial action.

  • Rapidly learn how to model a wide range of use cases across different industries and the key dynamics that affect those use cases.

  • Actively deploy these modeling capabilities in highly targeted customer situations.

  • Conduct high-leverage, in-depth research to find new sales leads and enable success with the newly identified leads.

  • As an early team member, be energized by the opportunity to help build a process from the ground up.

  • Use data to problem-solve around the sales process and generate force-multiplying changes.

What Does This Actually Mean?

This role is an Inbound SDR role. Their Sales Development Associates are expected to work only with current customers using the Airtable product and warm leads who have inquired about the product. There is some strategic work in attempting to find new business opportunities, but because there’s no reference to working with VP’s or CEO’s the work is likely much less about strategizing careful outreach and more about generating interest with inbound leads to pass along to the sales team. You’ll need an intermediate level of sales skills and experience to perform well in this type of role.

Types of Account Executive (AE) Jobs

As An Account Executive selling SaaS, there are three basic categories that your job can fall under. Here’s what we’ve come up with:

1. Transactional Selling:

In this role, an Account Executive will meet with many clients for a short amount of time (often only one phone call). There is not an incredible amount of strategy involved with this sort of sale, and successful AE’s focus on securing ‘one call closes’ through persuasion and hustling to get more leads.

2. Enterprise (Complex) Sales:

In this role, an Account Executive will have to go through several meetings with various stakeholders, and strategically align various interests of multiple parties to close large six to seven figure deals. It’s the classic definition of a complex sale.

3. Everything In-Between:

Mid-market sales, which leans towards medium sized businesses or small departments within large corporations, is the most common type of software selling. AE’s will usually have 2-5 meetings with 1-3 parties to close these deals, which require more patience than transactional selling but move faster than large enterprise deals.

4. Full Cycle Sales:

Full cycle AE’s lack the support of SDR’s to book meetings and generate opportunities. This means they must foster their client relationships from start to finish, and focus a decent amount of time not on selling but on generating opportunities. On the other hand pure Sales AE’s spend all day closing marketing and sales qualified leads without working on Business Development at all. You won’t become a Rainmaker in one day in this type of role. Big deals take time to close, but they’re worth it!

Account Executive (AE) Job Descriptions: Decoded

Example 4: Freshdesk

In this hunter, quota-carrying sales role, we’re seeking passionate and highly driven professionals with prior software / SaaS sales experience. The Account Executive will play a leading role in accelerating Freshdesk’s revenue growth in the U.S.

Specifically, the Account Executive will:

  • Generate pipeline for Freshdesk’s Mid-Market business
  • Prospect, manage the sales process, and close new accounts in rapid cycles, in primarily insides sales environment
  • Work closely with Freshdesk teams to quickly learn and communicate Freshdesk’s value proposition clearly and effectively
  • Sell multiple product-lines: Freshdesk (customer facing, multi-channel online helpdesk) and/or Freshservice (employee-facing, online IT service desk)
  • Be part of the core U.S. team to represent Freshdesk at industry events

What Does This Actually Mean?

Though the job title says ‘Enterprise Account Executive’ the job description is telling us something much different. First and foremost, ‘mid-market’ businesses are specified in the description rather than Fortune 500 companies. Also the sentence ‘close new accounts in rapid cycles’ indicates that the selling is likely transactional in nature. Finally there are several indications that the Account Executive is responsible for generating his or her own pipeline. Thus despite the job title the job description is indicating a full cycle, transactional Account Executive position.

revenue summit happy hour 2018

Rainmakers Brings Salespeople Together At The Revenue Summit Happy Hour!

Rainmakers were the proud hosts of a very special happy hour at The Revenue Summit Conference last week in San Francisco, California.

You can see just how proud we are here…

rainmakers team building photo

What Is The Revenue Summit?

The Revenue Summit is the only conference with a true focus on aligning sales, marketing and customer success through the lens of technology, empowering B2B leaders to accelerate full funnel growth.

This event teaches executives the most innovative and actionable best practices to scale revenue.

The Revenue Summit is a phenomenal destination for c-level enterprise leaders, as well as junior salespeople, sales managers, or demand generation marketers.

If you’re just starting out in sales, or feeling behind the learning curve, The Revenue Summit is a great place to brush up on your sales skills and learn some new things.

Rainmakers taking over the interview booth

Rainmakers taking over the interview booth!

What Companies Were There?

You can check out the full list of speakers, but here were some of our favorite companies & speakers who presented at Revenue Summit.

  • Jaimie Buss – VP of Sales (Americas), Zendesk
  • Ran Xiao – Dir. of Sales & Customer Ops, Zendesk
  • Olivia Nottebohm – Sr. Director, SMB Sales, Google Cloud
  • Laurabeth Harvey – VP of Sales, Intercom
  • Justin Shriber – VP of Marketing, LinkedIn Sales & Marketing Solutions
  • Mike Coscetta – VP of Global Sales, Square
  • Scott Brinker – VP of Platform Ecosystems, HubSpot
  • John Barrows – Leading Sales Trainer for Salesforce, Box, Marketo, LinkedIn

Why Did Rainmakers Decide To Host Happy Hour?

The Revenue Summit was such a phenomenal opportunity for us, and we couldn’t pass it up. Learn why we decided to get involved.

1. To Increase Brand Awareness

We’re still a relatively new brand that’s only been out for a few years, so we wanted to propel our visibility. Sales Hacker is a great company to partner with for that!

rainmakers revenue summit recap 2018

Mike repping the Rainmakers brand!

2. To Meet Our Customers & Prospects, IN-PERSON! 

The most underrated benefit of attending a conference, is being able to get precious face to face time with your customers and target prospects.

rainmakers booth revenue summit 2018

3. To Raffle Off Some Free Dom Perignon!

Who doesn’t love a free bottle of Dom P?

rainmakers happy hour raffle

rainmakers dom perignon rev summit

4. To Relax, Network, And Have Some Fun 

Another awesome benefit of attending conferences is the opportunity to take a load off, sip on your favorite libations, and NOT talk shop for a change.

rainmakers drinks at revenue summit

5. To Give Away Free Rainmakers Swag

Aside from the highly sought after Dom P, we gave away our signature mugs, tee shirts, and more!

rainmakers swag revenue summit 2018 

6. To Enjoy Some “Out of Office” Team Building

Company culture is very important to us, so this was a great opportunity to get out of the office and do a little off-site team building.

company team building revenue summit 2018

Top Sessions & Key Takeaways From Revenue Summit

The Revenue Summit features keynotes from industry-leading sales practitioners to deliver educational and actionable content across two tracks (strategic and tactical).

Here’s a recap from Morgan J Ingram that nicely summarizes the key takeaways for the day!

9 Elements of Highly Effective Sales Conversations — Amit Bendov, CEO, Gong

How To Generate Leads on Auto Pilot — Eric Siu, CEO, Single Grain

Full Funnel Forecasting — Zendesk, Sales Leadership Team

How To Build A Viral Marketing Funnel — Olof Mathe, CEO, Mixmax

How To Prospect Using The Basics — Ralph Barsi

tech sales career software sales job opportunities

Pursuing a Tech Sales Career? If Not, Here’s Why You Should Be

If you’re currently exploring your job options, have you given consideration to a tech sales career?

If not, there are several reasons why you should give some thought to joining the ranks at a software or technology company and using your skills to help them continue to grow and make an impact.

Why? Well, here’s everything you need to know about why a tech sales career is worth considering.

What is Tech Sales Anyway?

In a tech sales position, you’ll be responsible for connecting consumers (which could be individuals or other businesses) with technology that can help them solve a specific problem.

Exactly what type of tech you’re selling—from actual hardware to software or other services—will vary depending on the type of company you work for.

But, regardless of the specifics, in this customer-facing role the important thing to know is that you’re tasked with connecting with and educating potential customers—and ultimately closing the deal.

For some added clarity, you should check out what Ralph Barsi wrote about SDR job descriptions, and what they’re REALLY telling you.

Tech Sales Job Description Example:

Here’s a look at a tech sales job description example. The below is a posting for a Sales Development Representative role with Wrike, a project management software solution:

Image Source

4 Reasons to Consider a Tech Sales Career

We know your next question: Why even start a career in tech sales? Well, there are definitely plenty of benefits that make this a particularly appealing career path. Here are four to consider.

1. The demand is high

Considering that sales is quite literally what keeps every company’s doors open, it makes sense that there’s a lot of security and demand in this career field.

But, as technology continues to become even more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, tech companies in particular are aggressively adding people to their teams who can get their solutions and products in front of a wider audience.

A recent study from ToutApp—which surveyed 300 HR managers at U.S.-based technology companies who had at least 200 employees—found that a whopping 80% of respondents stated that they intend to invest more in the recruitment and hiring of sales talent.

While others may worry about things like automation or online capabilities replacing the need for their jobs, that’s not the case for sales—where human interaction still carries a lot of importance.

In fact, research from the Harvard Business Review found that direct interactions with providers influence B2B purchasing decisions more than anything else.

Image Source

Needless to say, demand for tech sales professionals is high (and will likely stay that way). So, it’s an incredibly secure and lucrative path to pursue.

2. The pay is great

Speaking of lucrative, the salary is another big draw for many tech sales professionals. While the tech industry is known to pay hefty sums to the people who fill the more technical roles, you can earn a great living in sales as well.

Bridge Group’s 2015 SaaS Inside Sales Survey Report shared that the compensation for inside sales roles rose to record highs in 2015.

The company discovered an average base salary of $60,000 with average on-target earnings of $118,000—proving that technical roles aren’t the only ones who earn the big bucks.

Image Source

As this Business Insider roundup demonstrates, numerous sales-related positions make it onto the list of the best-paying non-tech jobs in the industry.

While a paycheck isn’t everything when it comes to your job satisfaction, knowing that a career path in tech sales quite literally pays off makes it something that’s definitely worth considering.

3. The career opportunities are seemingly endless

Nobody wants to reach a limit on their own career, and this is another thing that makes tech sales so appealing: There are seemingly limitless opportunities for growth and advancement.

In fact, many tech leaders got their start in sales—because it’s a great way to gain familiarity with the business and customers, while also making a measurable impact on the success of the organization (you need revenue!).

So, as you gain more experience and continue to close deals and prove your worth, you’ll likely experience rapid progression in your career.

Take a look at LinkedIn’s data as an example. LinkedIn pulled together a list of the most promising jobs of 2017—the ones with the highest median salaries, strong job openings, and year-over-year growth.

Which job appeared third on that list? A sales engineer—proving that pursuing a career in tech sales could mean really bright things for your future.

4. The barrier to entry is low

The tech industry can be intimidating, and can leave many wondering how to get into software sales with no experience.

Fortunately, this is another upside of a career in tech sales: There’s a very low barrier to entry.

“There’s often no formal education and training programs for sales pros; it’s something many people discover as a career by accident,” explains Sharon Florentine in an article for CIO.

This means these roles are challenging for recruiters to hire for—but, it also means that people with diverse backgrounds and experiences can really make a name for themselves in sales positions.

There’s no strict mold you need to fit into or overly formal criteria you need to meet in order to find success as as tech sales professional.

Ready to Get Started?

Are you convinced that a tech sales career is the right move for you? We can’t blame you.

Now for the final question: How do you get started? Create a profile on Rainmakers, a career marketplace designed specifically for salespeople.

Use your profile to highlight your skills, share your history, and prove your value to inspire interested employers to contact you.

You’ll be well on your way to a tech sales career in no time!

should i quit my sales job?

Should I Quit My Sales Job?

Should I quit my sales job? This is a question all sales professionals ask themselves at some point in their careers.

This is a guide on knowing when it’s time to leave your current sales job and look for a new one. This guide is written specifically for SaaS and other technology sales reps who work at venture funded companies, but it can be applied to other verticals.

Working in B2B sales is hard to say the least. If you’re at a small company, where generating new revenue means keeping the lights on, the existence of the company depends on your performance. That’s a lot of pressure. Likewise at a medium sized or large company, being in sales means constant competition with the entirety of your team for a limited amount of available promotions. That’s also a lot of pressure.

But sales, with its clear cut metrics, is a great way for a career driven individual to prove herself or himself in the workforce. Not to mention salespeople in Silicon Valley often make six figures within three years of graduating. Oracle’s highest performing sales reps make over $500,000 a year. Being good at sales will help you in your career, but knowing when to strategically change jobs will allow your sales acumen to deliver the highest return for you personally.

First we’ll go over the main paths of ‘success’ a sales career can take. Then, based on which of these paths you find most appealing, we’ll help you identify whether or not your current job is an opportunity worth staying at.

The 3 Sales Career Paths

According to Mark Roberge, professor at Harvard and CRO of HubSpot, here are three typical paths a sales career can take:

1) Moving into sales management.

This is great path for people who are passionate about leadership, teamwork, strategy and like to see the big picture. Sales leaders at medium and large sized technology companies are always richly compensated.

2) Remaining as an individual contributor, working larger and more complex deals.

This is a great path for people who enjoy independence, competition, and have an appreciation for detail. Sales people in the top 20% at SaaS and technology companies typically earn between $250,000-$500,000 year.

3) Moving horizontally into marketing or customer success.

This is a path for people who are using sales as a short term or medium term stepping stone. Many successful marketing and customer success executives began their career in sales.

In this guide we’ll focus on the first two paths, and show you some signs to help you determine when it’s time to leave your current role.

Individual Contributor Path

If your goal is closing the largest and most complex deals possible, changing jobs from time to time is almost a necessity. This is especially true if you begin your career working at startups (as opposed to somewhere like Oracle or SAP). There are two primary factors that determine the size and complexity of a deal — these are the size of the company with whom you are doing business, and the complexity of the technology you are selling. Let’s further review sales career pathing via the lens of this growth chart, courtesy of our friends at InsightSquared.

sales career path ideal candidate

Most SaaS salespeople begin their career in the bottom left of this graph, selling relatively simple software to small and medium sized businesses. At the top row of this graph you have Silicon Valley’s highest paid sales people, selling complex technology to large institutions a.k.a. enterprise salespeople. This is where you want to get with your career as soon as possible.

Thus there are two directions you have to move. You have to move up, from SMB to Mid Market to Enterprise. And you have to move towards the right, towards more complex technology. Using this paradigm, it becomes relatively easy to determine when you should leave your sales job.

How to know when it’s time to quit your sales job

  • Your company doesn’t sell to MM or Enterprise accounts, you’ve been a top 20% performer for 9-15 months and have nowhere higher to go.
  • Your company isn’t growing fast enough to promote sales people to higher brackets.

With respect to selling more advanced technologies:

  • Once you’ve made it to Enterprise sales, if you’re company is selling a simple, easy to sell product, the next move should be towards a company with a more expensive and difficult to sell product (thus a higher commission)

If you love your job and don’t want to leave, there’s no need to. However if your goal is to maximize your personal revenue as quickly as possible, using the above criterion to determine when to leave a job can be very helpful.

The best option is to leave for a promotion (i.e. leaving a mid-market sales role for an enterprise sales role).

If this isn’t possible, a great next step would be to leave for another company that is growing fast enough to support your growth.

When doing this, it’s important to gain an understanding of your new employers expectations i.e. what must be done to secure a promotion. If possible, secure an agreement in writing (if I achieve X metrics in Y amount of time than I am awarded Z promotion). Note that this is often only possible with early stage startups, and more difficult to broach with a developed company.

Sales Management Path

If you’re passionate about the idea of leading a sales team, there’s one major thing you have to look for in a company — growth.

If a company’s sales team triples in size, they will have to hire managers to help keep things in order. If your company’s sales team isn’t growing there’s no need for them to hire more managers, and you should look elsewhere to further your career.

There are three types of companies that can move you into management:

Large, stable sized companies.

They aren’t growing rapidly, or at all, but every once in a while someone retires, is fired or leaves. These promotions take a long time to achieve.

Medium sized, rapidly growing companies.

Some contemporary examples are Flexport and Mulesoft. These companies already have senior management in place, but teams are growing so fast that regional leaders are often promoted from the rank and file of sales reps.

Small startups with high potential.

Often times, an early Account Executive of a small start up will have an opportunity to lead the sales team when and if significant growth happens.

If you’re looking to move into sales management, the first thing you need to do is evaluate if you’re in one of the three above situations at your current role. If you’re not, then it’s time to find a new job.

If you are in one of the above situations in your current role, what you’ll need to do is gauge the likelihood of securing a promotion. Here are some things that will help you evaluate your changes:

If the answer to the two above questions is yes, then you have a relatively good chance of securing a move into management. Now it’s worth engaging with your boss on this, seeing where she or he stands and letting them know it’s a priority for you.

If the answer to one (or both) of the above questions is no on the other hand, you likely won’t move it into management at your company. At this point it may be worth looking for other opportunities where you’ll be more likely to succeed.

Other reasons to leave your sales job

Ideally we leave our sales job strategically, in order to advance our career. Sometimes you’re stuck in a bad situation and it’s worth leaving regardless. Here are some reasons we think it is advisable for salespeople to leave their jobs for:

Poor management:

This can be anything from an ineffective sales strategy, to unfair personal treatment. If your boss or CEO prevents you from doing your job well, it’s most likely not worth sticking around for.

Company doesn’t value salespeople:

Low paying commission plans, unrealistic quotas that no one hits, and a not taking sales people’s feedback, are all signs that your company doesn’t value salespeople. It’s better to work for a company that does.

You don’t believe in the product:

If market adoption of your product is slumping, or if your company is failing to continuously improve the product, it’s time to look for a new role. As a salesperson, you only want to sell the best products — selling a product you don’t believe in is soul sucking.


Navigating your career through Silicon Valley’ sales world can be daunting. With so many companies being born, rising, falling, and stagnating it’s important to constantly evaluate how your employer’s interests align with your own. If you can consistently perform well at strong, growing startups then you’ll have incredible career. Transitioning companies at the right time is a skill that’s necessary salespeople to be in front of those career changing opportunities.

Too often people leave their company without a clear goal in mind or worse, they make their decisions emotionally rather than logically. Consider this guide a piece of empirical based advice to refer to when comparing your current situation with the situations described above. Use it to know when it’s time to leave your job so can constantly maximize the return of your talent and hard work. We want you to find the job that will get you to where you want to be in life.

how to find and contact a hiring manager about a job without seeming desperate

How To Find & Contact Hiring Managers About A Specific Sales Role (Without Seeming Desperate)

In this article, we’ll explain how to contact a hiring manager about a specific sales role—without coming across as desperate or overly aggressive.

After scrolling your way through a seemingly endless list of job postings, you finally found a sales role that seems absolutely perfect for you.

You polished up your resume, drafted a tailored cover letter, and submitted all of the necessary application materials.

Everything you need to do in order to be considered is done. But, you’re also eager to find a way to make a more personal connection—to go beyond the anonymity of the hiring process and put a face with your name.

One of the best ways to do this? By reaching out to the hiring manager with a friendly, professional, and completely un-pushy message.

Did that very thought just make your palms clammy? We know—putting yourself out there during your job search can be intimidating. Despite the fact that you work in sales, it’s still tough to sell yourself.

So, let’s dive in!

But First… A Word Of Caution

Reaching out to make a personal connection with somebody at the company can be a smart move.

However, it should never serve as a replacement for going through the application process that the employer has outlined.

For that reason, it’s wise not to reach out to the hiring manager about a specific role until after you’ve followed their instructions for officially tossing your hat into the ring.

Ignoring the steps that they’ve mapped out and instead opting to get in touch with a general, “I’m very interested in this position—please consider me!” message will only make you seem lazy and disrespectful.

So, make sure to heed the directions for applying (seriously, every last one) and then consider reaching out to the hiring manager as a secondary step to elevate your candidacy.

It’s great to be proactive about forging relationships—but, that doesn’t mean you can skip important steps and make up your own rules.

How to Find Hiring Managers

With that disclaimer out of the way, how do you find the hiring manager for a specific role? There are a couple of different tactics you can implement to zone in on the right person to contact.

1. Search the Company Website

Depending on the size of the company, you might be able to identify the appropriate point of contact directly on the website.

Click through to the “About Us” or “Team” pages and see if the company lists team members individually. If so? Look for someone that has a job title that relates to hiring, recruitment, talent management, or human resources.

2. Leverage LinkedIn

No luck on the website? As a salesperson, you already know that LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for forging relationships. So, it’s time to do some detective work on that platform.

From the LinkedIn homepage, begin by typing the name of the company you’re applying to in the search bar. If that employer has a LinkedIn profile, you should see it pop up within your search results.

leveraging linkedin search to contact hiring managers

Once you’re on that company’s LinkedIn page, you’ll see a link that says “See All Employees on LinkedIn.” Click that, and you’ll be brought to a page that displays the LinkedIn profiles of that specific company’s employees.

For this example, we’re looking at the LinkedIn profile of Google—which means there are thousands of employees. If the company you’re applying to isn’t nearly as large, you’ll have a much easier time zoning in on the appropriate contact.

But, if not? Use the filters to help you narrow your results. Click the “Filters” button and then type in a keyword (i.e. “talent” or “hiring”) to see only people who have that term in their job title.

job searching on linkedin

How to Contact Hiring Managers

You’ve found the person that you want to contact. Now, there’s another big question hanging over your head: What do you say? What sort of message is polished and professional—without seeming pushy?

After you’ve submitted your application, your best bet is to send a connection request (along with a personalized message) via LinkedIn.

Why is LinkedIn better than email? Well, for starters, it’s a social network—meaning it’s a far more casual and low-pressure way to reach out.

Secondly, because it’s a social platform, it makes for an incredibly easy way to stay in touch. A simple “like” or “comment” on that contact’s activity will keep you at the forefront of his or her mind—without having to send formal or purposeful emails in order to do so.

When you do send a personalized connection request, keep things short (you’ll have limited characters anyway) and somewhat general. Remember, this isn’t your opportunity to get into a lengthy discussion about the role. Instead, your goal is just to make an introduction and demonstrate your interest in the position.

This means that your messages should hit on three key things:

  • Your name
  • The position you just applied for
  • Your enthusiasm for finding out more about the role

With that in mind, your finished message could look something like this:

Hello Susan,

My name is Kat, and I just applied for the Sales Director position with Dunder Mifflin. I know my skills are a great match for what you’re searching for, and I’m really looking forward to finding out more about the opportunity.

In the meantime, I’d love to keep in touch on LinkedIn!



This message is friendly and concise. But, perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t make an ask. It doesn’t beg for an interview. It doesn’t ask about the hiring timeline. There’s no action that the recipient needs to take other than to accept your request.

That’s important. Much like when prospecting, the more straightforward (and less desperate) your message is, the higher the likelihood the hiring manager will accept your connection request and perhaps even respond.

When that happens? You have a foot in the door and a somewhat personal connection with that company—which can help you stand out from the competition and land an interview.

Over to You

Getting in touch with a hiring manager about a specific role can be a smart move to help you make an impact after you’ve submitted your application. After all, being able to put a face with your name (and your impressive experience) will make you all the more memorable for employers.

However, there’s no denying that step can still be nerve-wracking.

If you want to skip it altogether? Create a profile on Rainmakers. You can share your history, showcase your skills, and have interested employers directly contact you—rather than the other way around.

Does that sound way too good to be true? We promise it’s not. Apply now to get accepted and setup your own profile.

what is a rainmaker in sales (and how to become one)

What Is A Rainmaker In Sales? (And How To Become One)

What Is A Rainmaker In Sales?

In sales, a rainmaker is known as a person who flourishes in business development and wins new deals at an impeccable rate. Rainmakers are A-Players that typically outperform every person in the organization.

Anyone serious about building their career in sales has thought about or asked, “what is a rainmaker” in sales – and how do I become one? Top performers in sales are equipped for top performance in life and in business, too.

They have a range of skills and abilities used to understand and form alliances, as well as challenge and push for the right outcomes to create success. Those who can make this happen are not only top performers in sales, but they can quickly climb the career ladder.

Establishing The Rainmaker Mindset

People argue about how sales people are either born, or made successful. Is it in their DNA, or are they taught?

I believe it’s actually about the mindset and attitude you have as a sales person.

If you speak to prospects as though they are just a stepping stone toward achieving your own goals, you’ll get no cooperation from the prospect. This is why I think it is so important to think very clearly about what sectors and industries you actually care about.

Having this understanding will stop you from trampling over prospects and prospective clients. But if you have invested real interest in the sector the prospect is in, and work for a company solving their problems, you will act in a way that works toward solving their problems. You’ll think of the prospect before your own needs.

If you care about something, you’ll put in the work, too. Sales people have the unique ability to put in more work and get more return from it if they do things right. If you care about the niche or sector you’re helping, what better motivation to put in the extra hour or two after everyone else has already gone home for the day?

Developing The Rainmaker Skills

Let’s breakdown the skills of a Rainmaker into 4 categories:

  1. Listening
  2. Expertise
  3. Ability to ask great questions
  4. Control

The emphasis today on personal and professional development has never been higher.

I personally invest hours of time – day and night – in learning new things.

You don’t have to sit on your laptop and go through an expensive course, but there is so much content available at your disposal.

I listen to sales podcasts instead of music while I work most days, and even when I am taking some time to relax at the weekend I’ll use my phone podcast app to listen to a few episodes whenever I can.

Make the most of times when you have silence. When I drive, an audiobook can be played. When at the gym, podcasts or audiobooks can be consumed.

If you have time to read, check out these essential sales books for building a rock solid foundation in your career.


First and foremost, you must listen to what prospects say. If you don’t hear anything when they talk, how can you tailor your message and solution, let alone the conversation to help them as best you can? Listen to what is said by a prospect, understand their problems, reasoning and goals. What is the need, why is there a need? If you know the answers to these questions, however basic they may seem, you can at least tailor your response to get into the heart of the problem and solve it. There is nothing less engaging in sales than a generic-sounding, almost scripted sales person talking.

Become An Expert

The natural second part to listening to a prospect is to actually have a great understanding of the market and the problems they have. Your product/service knowledge must be exemplary. There is no excuse to not have the best knowledge of what you sell on your team – if you haven’t got the best knowledge of it, you operate at a disadvantage.

Nobody wants to speak to a person who can’t help them. You need to really understand how to direct and guide the client from their current situation toward the successful outcome. This requires a level of skill, knowledge and experience. If you feel you lack any one of those 3 factors, do whatever you can to build on them. Ask to watch how a client is onboarded and serviced if you feel the experience is lacking. Or brush up on your product knowledge if you can’t answer tricky questions well.


Asking great questions is an art you need to learn. You must prepare these questions before any call but be able to adapt should things not play out how you think they will. The art of asking great questions revolves mainly around quick, but considered, thinking.

You must ask a question that extracts the information you need from the prospect, but also one that moves them to think about the situation in a different way so they can see the right path to solving the problem. Get them to see things in a new light. It is much like solving a moving puzzle, but nobody said sales was easy!

Before going into a call, think about this: if in every situation the prospect knew the right way to get to the outcome they wanted, they would have done it already. The sales person wouldn’t need to add any value, or solve any problems. So, think about what the real problem is, or what the real solution is. Educate and consult on how the prospect and account can reach the outcome. It is your job to have them realize the correct way to reach the goal.


One thing it is vital to remember in the world of sales today is that control is key. You will wait forever for the perfect prospect to stumble into your pipeline who books your next calls for you and asks to have your AE join the next call at the right stage. Sales is like training to be a tennis player. The sales person in many ways is the instructor who is dictating the speed and direction of the rally, or the conversation. They adjust what they are doing according to how the other player is working, but ultimately, they are the instructor. The instructor is there to teach the other player and to help them break through the walls and steps they need to get through in order to be successful.

Recap: Becoming A Rainmaker

Of course, this must be done tactfully. There is a level to which you can’t tell your prospect the next call WILL be at a specific time and date, and they WILL bring their VP on the call, etc. You need to establish the control cleverly, by explaining why the VP needs to be on the call, for example. After all, if sales people had zero control they would spend all of their time talking to lower level employees who couldn’t actually implement a change at senior level.

how to negotiate a salary increase in your job

How To Successfully Negotiate A Salary Increase In Your Current Sales Job

Negotiating a salary raise can be tough, even for the most experienced negotiators. In this article, we’ll break down how to do this in the context of sales, but the principles of negotiation can be applied to any role or industry.

Let’s face it, we all want more money in our job, but very few people (if anyone) enjoy the negotiating process.

Just thinking about it makes even the most seasoned pro break out in sweat. However, it need not be this way. By preparing ahead of time, you have a much better chance of achieving your negotiating goals.

A key point to consider: research says salespeople who negotiate earn 7k more on average each year than their counterparts who do not. Over a career, this can add up to nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

The trick to any successful negotiation is to be prepared, so roll up your sleeves and get ready to negotiate.

6 Things To Do BEFORE The Salary Negotiation

  1. Research is key. Know more than your boss about every aspect of your career. How much would it cost to replace you? What do others make in similar industries?
  2. Visualize the encounter- what are the objections? Write them down and have a researched answer for each one.
  3. Reach out to recruiters in your field and find out what your contemporaries are paid. Ask them for advice in the negotiating process. These are people who negotiate every day.
  4. First, by yourself in front of a mirror. Watch to make sure your body and face look calm. Remember to breathe and smile, even when you receive bad news. Make good eye contact, but do break away, and look out the window for seconds at a time. This will allow your boss to relax and really hear you.
  5. Practice closer to the real date with a close friend. Get feedback on your body language and your verbal pitch.
  6. Prepare visual content that speaks to your point. We are visual creatures, and you want to speak quickly and effectively to your points.

20 Steps To Follow DURING The Salary Negotiation

  1. Try owning the space you negotiate in, i.e., taking your boss to a new restaurant, one that you know well. This is a time to impress. You might even order for the both of you. You are showing your “take charge” nature, something that is a winner in sales.
  2. Listen more than you talk in the meeting. Show the skills that make you an amazing salesperson. Repeat your boss’s points back to him to let you know you hear him.
  3. Know the whole picture, base salary, commission, vacation days, upward mobility track, 401K etc. Be able to discuss with research where your current job fits within the industry standard.
  4. Be able to prove how valuable you are: numbers, culture, training, etc. These need to be in either spreadsheet or graph form, big enough that your boss can see it at a glance. Paint the entire picture — if you bring donuts on Tuesday, remind them.
  5. Show the problems the company is facing in the coming years, and how you will help.
  6. Resist the urge to badmouth your fellow workers. Take the high road and be above the petty office gossip.
  7. Come with urgency, you don’t want a raise down the road, or “one day” You want it now!
  8. Imply that recruiters have reached out to you, but that you are loyal. “I know that loyalty is important to you.” You don’t need to lie but be able to prove with evidence how recruiters are looking for people with your skill level.
  9. Use silence, if your boss says no, nod your head, you hear it, but then be silent. He who speaks first loses.
  10. Be prepared to talk about your successes and try to use that as leverage. For example, if you have a strong personal brand, explain how you might leverage that in your sales process.
  11. Try being creative, “What if you paid me more for 3 months, and if I didn’t make my numbers, I would go back to my old salary? “Remember this is a negotiation, where ideas are passed back and forth. Don’t accept any answer, but keep the information flowing.
  12. Try laughing, keeping the meeting light, remind the boss of good times. A lighthearted worker is valuable for the energy they bring to an office.
  13. Agree as much as possible, when you disagree, say things like, “I see what you are saying there, but…” You are showing your ability to listen and have your own ideas.
  14. Ask where you fall in the scale of salespeople? Or know it, what would be the effect of you leaving?
  15. Know the industry: Where are the struggles? Where is the growth? Who are the big players? Who is the competition?
  16. Be prepared to give as well as take. If they can’t meet your salary, can they give you higher stock options? Could you telecommute 1 or 2 days a week?
  17. Could you train new salespeople for an additional bonus?
  18. Don’t be afraid to bring some personal information into the meeting, talk about your plans for building a house, or moving your mom to live with you. These make you look like more than just a worker.
  19. Show how you could grow into management, how you could help the boss retire early. Or work less.
  20. If you have made mistakes, missed quota, or had other office problems, be the one to bring them up. Show how you have grown as a result.

4 Things To Do AFTER The Salary Negotiation

  1. Pick up the check, this can go miles in proving how generous you are. When your boss objects, say “You can always grab the next one.”
  2. Be prepared to be watched like a hawk the next few days as your boss thinks about what was discussed. Let your work reflect your words.
  3. Write a thank you letter to your boss for meeting with you. Cover the main points that were discussed, and what, if any, agreements that you came to.
  4. Be prepared for the idea that it may take more than one meeting to get your raise. Be in for the long game.

By learning to negotiate we can get more of what we really want in life. Most people give in too easy here, and we let others dictate what we get.

However, the master negotiator doesn’t, and as a result they make more money and are more satisfied in their sales careers.

Learn to negotiate and win.

should i tell my boss I'm looking for a new job?

Should I Tell My Boss I’m Looking For A New Sales Job?

Should you tell your boss you’re looking for a new job? This article is explained in the context of sales, but it can be applied to any profession. Let’s dig in.

Opportunities seem to be everywhere. Your friends and colleagues are leveling up, and you’re starting to feel like it’s YOUR time to do the same.

One question always arises: should you tell your current employer or boss that you’re looking for a new position?

Let’s look at the Pros & Cons of both sides of the question…

Your current boss is actually a close friend.


Is your relationship with your boss good? Can it handle something like this? Oftentimes we have developed deep positive relationships with our boss. He/she has trained us, gone to bat for us when things are wrong, and been a mentor for our careers. It would feel like betrayal to go behind his/her back.


Mary would have never started her Real Estate Sales career without the assistance of her boss, Mark, who recognized aspects of her personality that he thought were “sales” material. The thought of even talking with a recruiter seemed like plunging a knife into Mark’s back.


Your network is everything, but you don’t want this to damage the relationship. Your boss is nice to you, but that’s how she acts to everyone who works there. Be mindful, however, that this doesn’t mean you need to tell her everything.


Richard really enjoyed working closely with his boss, Nick, and they even enjoyed a relationship outside of work. Three years into the position, Richard became bored and jumped on a new opportunity when it came along. There was a point at which he thought about telling Nick, but since there was no other position in the company that could reignite his interest, Richard gave his two weeks with little explanation. Three years later, he has no regrets and even sees Nick as a friend.

Your boss might be an ally and help you find something that fits.

It costs so much time and money to hire and train a new employee, so your boss will be grateful if you are honest.

He/she may even help you find something at your current business that is more in line with what you’re seeking.

So many people just quit, so you will appear different and unique by doing sharing your needs in respectful way.

Even if you are fired, you will come out looking better for your honesty. You won’t use the company’s time or resources to look for new opportunity.


Your boss will respect your honesty and reward it.


Danny was an excellent AE. He hit his sales quota every month, but his work was unfulfilling.

He constantly watched the clock and dreaded each Monday. When he unexpectedly got a chance to train the new hires, Danny was excited about work for the first time.

He approached his boss, whom he considered a close ally, with a plan to split his day into part AE/part sales trainer.

His boss, who was initially reluctant, realized that Danny was not fulfilled and if he didn’t give him this opportunity, he would leave to find it elsewhere.


If you stay in the same field, you are in direct competition with your old company. Going head-to-head with the people who gave you a start in a particular field is troubling.


Linda wouldn’t even be in this line of work, had her boss, Tammy, not seen something in her and pushed her hard. She was on the bottom rankings for months, but Tammy still believed in her. When the recruiter reached out, Linda was flattered but made it clear that she would never go head-to-head with Tammy’s company. She eventually found another line of work she liked better that didn’t conflict with her loyalty.

It’s not about the job, it’s about the culture.

Sometimes our desire to leave has nothing to do with the boss. Rather, it’s a toxic company culture that is pushing us to go. It might be the line of work itself or our fellow workers. Whatever the cause, work is no longer fulfilling. We just aren’t enjoying work, so we know we need a change.


We can’t change company culture. We can either adapt or leave.


When Pete first started at Company XYZ, he loved the loud sales floor and all of the chaos that was his job. As time went on, this kind of work drained him.

After visiting his friend’s job, where the sales floor was silent, that seemed like a better fit for him. He thought about approaching his current boss about a shift in his position; however, there was not a position that wasn’t directly involved with the loud floor except for accounting. Pete knew he would have to leave.

As nice as his boss was, Pete knew that his boss thought this was the only way to run a sales floor. He had trained this way, run his floor the very same way, and was resistant to any changes. Pete applied for the new job and left his current position without any guilt. He is two years into his new position, which he loves.


Company culture is something we learn to adapt to, and it’s a chance for growth.


Nora was always the quiet one, so FinTech was a hard place for her initially — especially with a loud sales floor and a bell that rang after each sale. She thought about quitting, but the pay was too good. After a few months of ringing that bell herself, something shifted inside of her, and now Nora is an A-Player that loves the loud atmosphere and has fully embraced the ruckus attitude.

Some people don’t handle this kind of rejection well.

Your “secrecy” might be your best weapon. Some people feel their current boss hasn’t earned their loyalty or the right to know the “truth” about the way they feel about their job.

Has your current boss earned the “truth”? Perhaps the company culture is such that even a new position with the current company will not be satisfactory.


You would tell the boss you are dissatisfied and looking for something new, but they will just punish you for honesty.


Laura had seen her boss not handle job dissatisfaction in her coworker very well. “Don’t let the door hit you in the backside,” was a constant refrain. He was the kind of boss who you were either with or against. Laura had been dissatisfied for a year now, but there was never anything better on the horizon. When a new job opportunity materialized unexpectedly, she naturally jumped on it.


Even if the boss yells and doesn’t handle it well, you have to be honest.


Clint wanted to move up to AE from his current SDR position, but he knew that his boss would just tell him it was too early. When the recruiter called and sent him the AE job offer, Clint confidently showed his boss. Fireworks and slammed doors ensued, but Clint knew that his boss knew that Clint would one day be an AE.

Honesty won’t work because the boss can’t hear you.

It has been said that running a business is like attending to a screaming baby. Your career is more than your job; it is your livelihood. A good boss can see you beyond your current position.  She can see where you need to be.


They say telling the truth to someone who can’t hear it is like telling them a lie.


Mark loved his boss, but every time he approached her about moving up, or learning new skills, she waved him away saying, “You are my best SDR.” Mark believed her, but the thought of being an SDR in two years made him sick to his stomach. He knew he could, and would, make an excellent AE. When a recruiter finally approached him, Mark scheduled a sick day to meet. “I got the job, and quit with no notice and no regrets,” he remembers, “This is not just a job; this is my career.”


You would like to be able to use this job as reference, but if you just quit, that will never happen.


Jen was stuck in her sales job, never in the top rankings, but never in the bottom. She knew just leaving would mean that her dream of working for X Company would never happen. She decided to stay and push harder for high rankings. It took several years, but she proud of her decision to stick it out.

Conclusion: Should You Tell Your Boss You’re Looking For A New Job?

It is a moral and personal decision whether to tell the boss you are looking for a new job. Some people will have regrets while others have none. Either way, it is a decision we make and then live with for the better – or worse – of our careers.

key sales skills for tech salespeople

Top 5 Key Skills Needed For Absolutely Crushing It In Tech Sales

In this article, we’ll breakdown the top 5 key sales skills that are essential for high performance in tech sales.

When it comes to sales professionals, there are the good ones, the bad ones and the ones that are simply great at what they do.

The bad ones are easy to spot. They’re the ones giving the profession a bad name and tend to fit in with the negative stereotypes we see and hear about in the media. Bad salespeople tend to focus only on themselves and what they stand to gain in making a deal happen. They give little thought, if any, to how the deal will impact their customer. They’re also usually very disorganized and sometimes even outright dishonest about the terms of the deal.

What all this amounts to is a horrible customer experience and one that will not keep them around for very long. This commercial about a badger personified as a used car salesman, though fictional and exaggerated, provides a perfect example of what a bad salesman is likely to act like:

Good salespeople are a little different in that they don’t work with customers in a way that leaves a bad taste in their mouth. They’re usually pretty friendly and diligent in getting their work done. They deliver on what’s promised and do their best to live up to expectations but where they fall short is in failing to go above and beyond. Most average salespeople, are just that. Average. These are the guys that, as most would say, simply go through the motions. They approach their work as something that just needs to be done rather than taking pride in the fact that they’re able to provide value to their customers.

That’s where great salespeople set themselves apart. Great salespeople take pride in what they do and live for the mission of continuing to provide that value. So how do you go from being a good salesman to a great salesman? There are a lot of factors that affect what makes a great salesperson and those factors will likely vary depending on who  you ask. However, here’s a targeted list of the key sales skills that will unequivocally up your sales game if you focus on developing them.

1. Grit

According to Angela Lee Duckworth, the greatest predictor of success, and even more important than IQ, is grit. Grit is the ability to continue pushing yourself to working hard even in the face of what are seemingly insurmountable odds. The people with high levels of grit are those that are able to keep themselves going even when others have lost hope and given up.

This is directly relevant in the world of sales because let’s face it, sales is definitely a numbers game. There may be lucky streaks where you manage to find a series of wins in a short amount of time, but more often than not you’ll have to comb through a hundred “no’s” before you make it to that elusive “yes”. Those hundred “no’s” can definitely start to feel like an eternity.

What often happens is that after hearing no for the first 30 or so times, many salespeople start to lose their fire. Each failed attempt seems to chip away at their hopes of success and leads them to lose their vigor. Even more so, some salespeople also seem to give up from simply not being able to get a hold of someone and assume that a lack of response means that there’s a lack of interest.

The great salespeople go to great lengths to ensure they get an answer from their prospect, whatever that answer might be. They’ve developed thick skin and are able to persevere in the face of all these difficulties, knowing that it’s only a matter of time until all their hard work pays off and they land that one huge success that makes it all worth it. They don’t let the small losses affect them because they understand that these are minor roadblocks in their inevitable path to success. They’re professionally persistent and optimistic that an opportunity always exists until there’s definitive proof that demonstrates otherwise.

2. Emotional Intelligence

Great salespeople are also very effective at understanding their customer’s needs. The reason they’re so great a this is because of something that’s widely known as emotional intelligence. They’re able to put themselves in their customer’s shoes to really understand what’s important to them. What are the needs versus the wants? What are the biggest pain points and challenges the customer is facing? What are the risks involved with going forward or not going forward with the deal from the perspective of your buyer? These are all questions that a great sales professional should easily be able to answer when evaluating a deal.

They understand that the customer is not concerned with how large the commission check will turn out to be and are instead more focused on the value they will recognize from buying the product or service that is being offered. The greats are able to recognize that if they properly identify this value, they can use that knowledge to quickly close business with agreeable terms.

Another reason that great sales professionals develop their emotional intelligence is that they understand that there’s a premium associated with trust. Trust will beat price any day, which the reason why brands that people know and love are so valuable. Unless price is the most important factor in your prospect’s criteria, building trust and value is the best way you can increase your odds of winning that deal. If the price difference is marginal the customer will almost always go with the vendor they’ve developed the most trust with during the buying cycle.3.

3. Time and Task Management

Being busy does not always mean that you’re being productive. So you’ve made a hundred dials today and had 15 or so conversations? So what? If those 15 conversations were with the wrong people or at companies that don’t fit in with your ideal customer profile, you may find out in a few weeks that those opportunities may never amount to anything.

In sales there truly is a benefit to working smarter and not harder. Therefore the great salespeople know how to effectively manage their time and recalibrate their focus on the most important priorities. They identify the target companies and prospects that have the highest likelihood of bringing in business and they focus extensively on those.

Those highest on the leaderboards are also very cognizant of the health of their pipeline. They recognize that even if they have a ton of deals currently in the works, if there’s nothing filling up the top of the sales funnel, they’ll eventually find themselves with a dead pipeline somewhere down the road. Therefore these guys are ALWAYS prospecting, no matter what. If they work at an organization that doesn’t provide business development support, they find the time to put in even just a few hours each week to make sure they are finding ways to continue feeding their pipeline. In doing this, they’re able to keep their results consistent unlike the average sales professional who may fall victim to more streaky sales as a result of improper pipeline management.

4. Navigating an Organization

This may seem fairly straight-forward but there’s a slight finesse that’s required in effectively navigating an organization. Most people probably think that you just need to get a hold of the right titles with the right message and everything will be golden but that’s not always the case.

There are situations where you may just catch someone on an off day and therefore won’t be open to any messaging no matter how it’s positioned. Additionally, there’s always the chance of something getting mis-communicated or misunderstood. Therefore it’s important to understand how your prospective company is organized so you can use that knowledge to your advantage when trying to figure out who the best alternative people are to reach.

For example, let’s say you pitched to a Director at Company A but for some reason he or she just didn’t buy into your value proposition as strongly as you would have liked. The deal cycle starts to stagnate and not much activity is happening within the account. You’ve sent 15 emails and dialed them over 10 times. Instead of pestering that same person and potentially souring the relationship it may be better to find someone else who can champion your company internally. However, there would be no point in reaching out to anyone else in the same team as it would roll back up to the same Director and he or she will ultimately come to the same conclusion that your company’s value is questionable.

You should instead understand how the company is mapped out and find another relevant Director, or even someone at the VP level, to re-pitch your product or service to. Explain things to your new prospect in a way that makes sense to them and let them convince your old prospect to change their mind. The same message can sometimes be received very differently depending on the source.

5. Storytelling

Of all the skills on this list, the ability to effectively tell a captivating story is probably the most important. There’s something about the human mind that makes it easier for us to remember stories better than lists of facts. Great sales professional use this to their advantage by weaving their value propositions and previous achievements in throughout the course of a story.

Where the average sales person may come to a meeting to simply ‘show up and throw up’, the seasoned professional will take a minute to bring some calm and comfort into the situation. They’ll spend a few minutes building up rapport and then find ways to lead the conversation towards the ways in which their company is working with or has worked with other clients for their benefit.

Compare the following two examples.

Example 1:

“Hello Mr. Client, thank you for your time today. I’d love to talk to you today about the new amazing features our product is capable of and how it will benefit  you moving forward. With Feature X, your employees will be able to accomplish their daily tasks with 15% greater efficiency. Additionally in switching to our product, our other clients are also seeing cost savings as high as 5 to 10%, resulting in an average ROI of 135%. Most importantly, we keep our customers happy and can even prove it with our 95% retention rate.”

It might get a few people’s attention so not bad. But…

Example 2:

“Hello Mr. Client, thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. I understand that you’re currently looking for a new solution that can help you save some money while also helping increase the productivity of your employees. Is that correct? Great. Let me introduce you to Acme Corp, one of our current clients. Their business isn’t exactly the same but it’s fairly similar to yours and they actually approached us because they were facing issues that mirror much of what you’ve been telling us about so far. They’re workforce was not as productive as they would have liked and they thought they were overpaying with their previous vendor. After switching to our product, they were able to increase their company’s productivity by 15% and save 8% on their yearly contract. After only 2 years of using our product, they realized an ROI of 135%. To this day, John, their CEO, says that he couldn’t be happier with his decision, which is actually not uncommon for us to hear given that we have a retention rate of 95%.”

Perhaps not the most eloquent of examples but I hope it makes my point. Given that it will likely be a few hours or even a few days before your prospect will have to share his or her thoughts with the rest of the team on what you’ve presented, it will be the second example that will be the easiest to remember. Unlike the first example, it juxtaposes the situation before and after the decision to do business with your company and does so in a logical manner that’s easy to follow.

There are of course many other skills a true sales professional will likely want to develop beyond those on this list but focusing on these 5 should be a good start for those looking to get themselves to the next level. If you’re lacking in any of these areas right now, spend the next few weeks really working on developing these skills. You may be surprised at how quickly they will start to have an impact on the success you’re seeing with your own deals.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

Get approached by tech companies offering tech sales jobs.

SPIN Selling

SPIN Selling: A Legendary Sales Methodology To Guide Your Discovery Calls

In this post we’ll breakdown everything you need to know about SPIN selling, and how to use it to guide your discovery calls. 

What Is SPIN Selling?

Spin selling guides the sales conversation once a prospect is engaged. It helps the sales professional understand what types of questions they should be asking in order to conduct an effective discovery call. Let’s take a closer look and go over what each letter in this acronym stands for. We recently did a breakdown of BANT, so check that out too if you’re curious. 

S – Situation

S stands for Situation and these questions are used to help you get a better understanding of what’s going on in your buyer’s world. Through this line of questioning, you should be able to uncover what’s been happened with the prospect historically and what led them to begin a conversation with you. You should be trying to identify the key facts that help you effectively understand the background of your buyer and his or her organization.   

Here are a few examples of Situation questions you can ask on your next discovery call:

  • What are you currently doing today and how does that compare to what you were doing in the past?
  • What’s leading you to explore a new solution now?
  • What tools are you using and what does that process look like today?

Once you have a clear understanding of the facts and where your customer stands you can move on to the next part of the acronym, which is the P.

P – Problem

P stands for Problem questions and these should be used to have your customer divulge to you their pains. You should aim to learn what’s causing them trouble and pushing them to look for a solution.

Much like the situation questions, you are simply collecting facts. You want to get a solid understanding of what is bothering them and what it is they are trying to fix. After all, the job of a great salesman is to be a helpful consultant. How can you consult on an issue if you don’t even know what their problem is?

Here are a few problem questions you can look at as examples of what you should be asking:

  • How much time are you spending doing this process manually?
  • Do you ever have instances where something falls through the cracks?
  • Is this issue having a negative impact on your business?

I – Implication

Now what comes next is I which stands for Implication questions and these should be used to highlight a cause and effect relationship based on your understanding of the buyer’s current situation.

Truly skillful salesmen set themselves apart through their masterful use of these types of questions. By asking the right questions, the sales rep can bring the prospect to realize themselves the severity and importance of the problem at hand without explicitly telling the prospect. When done effectively, the customer will essentially come to sell themselves on the idea that something needs to be done, and FAST.

To help you better understand what implications are and how you can use them, check out a few of the examples below:

  • If you don’t do anything to change your current process, what do you foresee happening to your business moving forward?
  • If you don’t address these inefficiencies, how much would that cost your business on a yearly basis?
  • What’s the opportunity cost of not bringing in a new solution and addressing this issue?

If you’re really good at utilizing this framework you can even piggyback off your problem questions to lead into the implication ones.

Let’s take some of our examples from earlier to help illustrate what I mean:

  • How much time are you spending doing this process manually?
  • If you continue to go about this in the same fashion, would that negatively impact your other responsibilities?
  • Do you have instances where something falls through the cracks?
  • What was the business impact in those kinds of situations?
  • Is this issue having a negative impact on your business?
  • If you don’t do something about it now, what do you think the annual cost to your business will be?

N – Need Payoff Questions

N stands for Need-payoff questions. What this means is that you should be using these questions to highlight what the customer stands to gain by choosing to move forward with your product or service.

What are the benefits in working with you and what do they stand to gain by doing so?

Below are a few examples of need-payoff questions to help you better understand what they are and how you can use them in your own sales processes:

  • By automating processes that you’re doing manually today, how much time do you think you’ll be able to save?
  • What are some ramifications you can foresee from having more freed up time?
  • By implementing a solution to address this issue today, understandably you’d be saving a lot of money. What would those savings mean for your business?
  • By using a tailor-made system built just for your business, you’ll likely see a huge jump in efficiency and ultimately your business’ reputation which is actually something you can advertise. Do you find value in having something like this as a competitive differentiator?

Conclusion: SPIN Selling

Granted the examples I’ve provided may not be the perfect match for every situation and every product or service but hopefully, it provides you with a basic understanding of what this framework is and how to use it. Using this simply as a model to guide your future sales processes, hopefully, you’ll be able to conduct extremely effective discovery calls that will ultimately lead to greater sales.

Additionally, because we are condensing the book into a short blog post these are essentially just the fundamentals. If you want to take a deeper dive and really expand your knowledge on how to most effectively use the SPIN selling technique I’d recommend picking up the book and giving it a read yourself. There’s much more detailed information in there around the effective use of this framework that we aren’t able to cover here.

-Dean Park

Dean Park is a seasoned tech sales professional that’s been involved with a wide range of organizations from startups to enterprise businesses. Dean is also a sales mentor at GrowthX Academy in San Francisco.

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