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Evaluating a Sales Role: Your Fit
The last frontier to cross in thinking about your next opportunity is evaluating your own fit for a role. In other words, can you & will you be good at it. This is not a plea to have you shy away from exciting or challenging opportunities, but a recognition that there is a difference between what is hard & what is wrong. Getting this right requires deep introspection, and coming to terms with the things you aren’t great at. It also requires thinking deeply about whether or not you care about the problem your company is solving, and how that impacts customers. I find the “most days” framework helpful here. It’s not possible to be excited on all days, but on most days can I be excited by solving my customers’ problems, engaging in my sales motion, and interacting with my team. It’s a gift to recognize if the answer to any of these is no early on - let’s dive into thinking about them.
Solving customer problems
This is a proxy for the “meat” of what your company does. Is the industry interesting to you? Is the buyer a type of person you would be excited to help? Would you be proud to become an expert in the subject matter?
When we sell, we live & breathe the industry we sell into. If you find it boring or uninteresting, you will probably miss the nuanced details that separate good from great. During my time at ZocDoc, it was always clear who the best reps on the floor were as they genuinely found the problem of patient access interesting & could speak to it at an expert level with doctors.
Rule #1: If it’s not interesting to you, you probably won’t be good at it.
Engaging in the sales motion
This is a proxy for how deals are done at the company. Is it transactional or consultative? Is it a two-week, two-month, or two-year deal cycle? Is it call heavy or email heavy?
This is the work we will do every day and is where “fit” breaks down most often. Sales is unique company to company, and understanding the motion is key to understanding if you will have the will to do it. For example, if you enjoy small pipelines & building deep relationships, transactional is not for you. On the flip side, if you enjoy immediacy & lack of ambiguity in deal closings, it might be.
Rule #2: If the motion makes you uncomfortable, you probably won’t be good at it.
Interacting with the team
This is a proxy for your at-work community. Can you see yourself meshing with the people at the company? Does leadership’s communication style resonate with you? Would you be excited to have a coffee or lunch with someone from your interview panel?
Contrary to popular belief, the number one source of sales burnout is not workload but breakdown in community. We are capable of remarkable outcomes when we feel supported, and are equally incapable when we are not. You have to enjoy the team.
Rule #3: If you leave your interview unenthused about the people you met, you probably won’t be good at it
That concludes the series on evaluating your next sales role - I hope you enjoyed it! There is a lot of information jam-packed in these posts but to sum it all up: gather information, evaluate the team, evaluate the market, & evaluate your fit. If you need assistance, I’m happy to chat, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lastly, shameless plug, but we are hoping to get to 500 subscribers soon. If you’ve found this information valuable, and think of others who might as well, it would mean the world to me if you could share it on LinkedIn or any of your social channels. There are 56M salespeople on planet earth, and 22.5M of them will not earn their full compensation this year. I am hoping to change that. In return for a share, I would be happy to provide a free hour-long coaching session where we can jam on deals, career stuff, or discuss the best slice of pizza in NYC - just drop me an email once you’ve posted!