Build Your Portfolio
About four years ago, I was interviewing a former top rep from Indeed. He came to the interview with his cover letter & resume, which are obviously table stakes, but he also brought something else. Attached to his resume was a second sheet that had screenshots of his month-over-month performance from the CRM showing his average attainment & team ranking - it was terrific. It took a couple of minutes to go through some formalities, but I now had a tool that cut through the noise of self-reported information on his resume as an interviewer. He got to the top of my pile.
Salespeople do a tremendous amount of amazing work over the course of their careers. Winning complex deals, providing great customer experiences, soliciting feedback for product iteration, coaching others, winning quarters, and piloting new sales methods are just some examples. Unfortunately, we often do a poor job of keeping track of these accomplishments & we very rarely have an artifact we can show as “proof-of-work.” As an interviewer, especially in sales which tends to hire at a high frequency, having something tangible and relevant to show can immediately move you ahead of the pack. This type of online portfolio already exists for most other professions. Just look at this Angellist sign up form:
If it works for engineers, designers, influencers, & content creators, why can’t it work for those who drive revenue at these same companies? Let’s go through a few examples of what a good sales portfolio would include:
Verified performance & accomplishments: Are you a consistent above quota performer? Have you ever won a month, quarter, or year? Have you ever been acknowledged at a town hall or SKO? If you have, here are things you can do:
If your company has your performance managed in a report in SFDC or Hubspot, export it as a CSV or take a screenshot.
If you get commission emails that show your percent to goal, always forward them to your personal email.
If you win an award, always ask for the deck and/or to take a photo with your manager showing the award.
Take a screenshot of yourself at the top or near the top of the dashboard.
Customer testimonials: If you have customers you have a great rapport with, always ask them to leave a review mentioning you by name on Trustpilot or whatever review site is used. Those are public & live forever on the internet, so you can go back and pull them to show future employers at any time.
Communication samples: I am a HUGE fan of writing samples you can show or link to. Whether it’s an article, community contribution, short post, marketing material you created, a script or training deck you made, etc. This helps show your thoughtfulness & ability to convey complicated ideas. Rule of thumb, whenever you create something for your company, always send it to your personal email.
In addition to the above, you should be able to speak to the top end of the sales motions you’ve managed. What ICPs or large customers do you have experience with? What is the high end of the ACVs you’ve worked on? What was the frequency of deal closings in the environments you’ve worked in?
None of these will be silver bullets but having some or all of these will certainly help you stand out in your next round of sales interviews.