SALES DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATIVES (SDRs) play a critical role in B2B organizations. They are responsible for inbound lead qualification and outbound prospecting. SDRs drive revenue pipeline for the business, by qualifying (and disqualifying) prospective accounts.
Interviewing well for a spot on the sales development team is equally critical. Just as SDRs must give fabulous first impressions to potential customers, interview candidates should do the same to hiring managers.
Use these 7 tips to nail the face-to-face interview and ensure a next step in the hiring process.
#1 Know Your Audience
Find as much intelligence as you can on the company and the hiring manager. Make sure to also research anyone else interviewing you. Your findings will help break the ice and drive your questions.
Gather information from management team bio’s, press releases, upcoming events, and customer case studies. This will acquaint you with who buys from the company, as well as what’s most important to the company’s ecosystem.
How involved the hiring manager in the industry? How long have they worked at the company? Where were they before? Who do you know that might know the hiring manager? What milestones have they accomplished in their career, so far? Perhaps there’s a video of them as a panelist or giving a presentation.
Your awareness will give you a sense of company and manager personality, interest, and disposition. Your preparation will immediately differentiate you from the other candidates.
#2 Prepare A 30-60-90 Day Plan
New SDRs consume value, or “ramp up,” for the first 4 ½ months in the role. When they reach the “breakeven point,” they start to contribute value to the organization. The faster you touch the breakeven point, the better – everyone wins.
Go into the interview having outlined a plan for tackling the first 30-60-90 days in the role. When you invest time thinking about and visualizing the first three months, it’ll amaze you how many deep, thought-provoking questions will surface. Write these questions down and have them with you at the interview.
#3 If You’re On Time, You’re Late
Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the meeting. Work closely with your recruiter or hiring manager to confirm time, location, and people involved with the interview.
#4 Look Sharp
Legendary UCLA coach, John Wooden, personally showed players how to properly put on socks and lace shoestrings, to underscore attention to detail. “A casual approach to executing the details of a job,” he once said, “ensures that the job will be done poorly. And then another job will be done poorly. It grows.
”Hiring managers want the best version of you. They want you to demonstrate that you’ve got your act together, that you “want the ball.”
Dress sharp. Contrary to popular belief, gentlemen still wear suits and ties to the interview. And ladies still wear business suits. This also includes having copies of your resume, a pen, and a notebook on-hand. Every detail is noticed.
#5 Keep It Conversational
The best interviewees (and SDRs) keep things conversational and ask open-ended questions. You need to do the same.
Based on your research (see #1), have at least three relevant points to mention or inquire about during the interview. For example, you can bring up a recent article, video, or event that featured the company or interviewer: “So, in learning more about the company, I came across an article where you said ‘Innovation is at the top of our list this year.’ Tell me about that! What areas will you focus on first?”
Start from a macro level – think corporate initiatives, industry trends, product innovation, competition, and market cap. Then move to a micro level – think SDR team, recent performance, expectations in the role, needs of the hiring manager. Macro-to-micro questions will make for a productive, informative conversation.
Lastly, avoid asking yes-no questions. They limit discussion and box you and the interviewer into a corner.
The best managers hire candidates with great attitudes!
Managers also look for integrity, work ethic, intelligence, and a proven ability to get things done and accomplish goals.
Sales Development is freaking hard work. It’s a grind that requires fierce discipline, time management, exceptional communication, pure determination, and overcoming rejection. It is not for the faint of heart, the miserable, the unorganized, or the rain clouds.
Exude enthusiasm, confidence, and leadership from the outset. People always remember how you made them feel. Prospective customers will, too. Know “how others would describe you,” particularly your references.
#7 Close ‘Em!
Closing the hiring manager at the end of an SDR interview is imperative. It is your duty and obligation, as a fledgling sales professional.
“So, can you tell me what the next step is?” is not a closing question.
Consider asking these closing questions:
– “I enjoyed our discussion today! Based on what you learned about me, are there reservations you have that I can address right now?”
– “Considering what we’ve talked about today, how do I compare to current SDRs on the team?”
– “I’d welcome an opportunity to join the team. Based on today’s conversation, I’m confident I’ll immediately contribute. If it makes sense, can I spend a few minutes talking with your best SDR?”
Closing this part of the process also means closing the loop. Thank everyone involved. A follow-up email is important, but a handwritten thank you note is essential.
Start Preparing Today
The need for great SDRs will continue to increase. Be mindful of these seven tips when interviewing for a Sales Development Representative role.
You will have an advantage over competing candidates, leave a strong impression in the hiring manager’s mind, and likely advance to the next step in the process. Use the slides below to keep you on track and go get that job!