When it comes to tech sales, your traits can tell a hiring manager more than you might think. So if you want to get hired as a Sales Development Representative (SDR) and launch a career, it’s important to know how to speak to your abilities. Once upon a time, a college degree on your resume could have spoken for you, but that doesn’t tell today’s sales hiring managers enough.
In this blog, we’ll give you tips to play up your traits so that you shine in tech sales interviews! You’ll learn how to speak to your ambition, courage, curiosity, optimism, coachability, dependability, strong communication, enthusiasm, grit, competitiveness, and self-confidence.
Successful tech sales reps are ambitious. They set goals, and they are determined to conquer them. SDR managers are looking to hire someone who exudes ambition and determination.
To speak to your ambition, take a look at your past experiences. Did you ever start an organization or club in your school? Take additional classes to finish your degree early? Develop a better way to do something at your past job? Use these real examples to speak to your ambition in interviews.
What’s the last courageous thing you did? It takes real courage to embark on a new career, switch careers, or make a step outside your comfort zone. Becoming a tech sales rep is an incredible opportunity to get on a lucrative career path, and it’s going to require that you believe in yourself. SDRs spend a lot of time on the phone talking to new people, so it’ll take courage as a new sales rep to take the leap and keep dialing even when it feels scary. It’s also rewarding!
To show courage in your tech sales interviews, speak about times when you’ve taken on new tasks or learning pursuits (be it a language, program, hobby, or method), or share a story about you standing your ground on something you know was correct. Make it clear you don’t shy away from challenges.
Are you fueled by a strong desire to know or learn? People with innate curiosity often do well in tech sales roles because they are genuinely interested in helping people solve problems, which is what being a tech sales rep is all about. The best sales reps lean into their curiosity and employ active listening skills to ask meaningful questions and drive a conversation forward.
To demonstrate curiosity, prepare to ask the hiring manager insightful questions during your interview process. Most hiring managers will save time for you to ask questions at the end of the interview, and trust us, you do not want to show up empty handed. What do you want to know?
When something goes wrong, are you quick to wallow in the negative or focus on the positive? An optimistic attitude is an asset in tech sales and an important element of maintaining a growth mindset. Show the hiring manager that you see challenges as opportunities as successful tech sales reps move through rejection quickly.
To display your optimism, think of a time when you had to be positive in the face of a challenge you experienced. After introducing the challenge, you can tell the hiring manager, “I didn’t let that affect me and continued to remain positive, and I did [XYZ] to keep moving forward.” You can even tell them that you have a growth mindset, and really value lifelong learning!
When someone gives you feedback, are you quick to feel slighted or motivated to implement the feedback? Feedback can be difficult for anyone to hear, but someone who is coachable has the ability to see the value in it and takes pride in swiftly making changes to improve. For athletes seeking tech sales jobs, coachability is a superpower to showcase! It means you are receptive, motivated, and disciplined. Coachability is a highly desired trait in tech sales hiring.
To showcase coachability in your tech sales interview, speak about your ability to take direction, your desire to receive feedback, and that you’re always working to get even better. Tell a story about a time you received feedback, how quickly you implemented it, and the outcome.
Do you consider yourself trustworthy and reliable? Is honoring your commitments of the utmost importance to you? Dependability is important, and hiring managers need to know they can count on you as a new SDR. You need to demonstrate that you’re not the type of person to drop the ball on your commitments, and if something does slip through the cracks, you take responsibility for your actions and move forward with greater intention.
To speak to your dependability, talk about the importance of completing your tasks on time and within the scope of expectations or budget. Think about times when you’ve upheld commitments while working with a team. This could’ve been with classmates on a project, coworkers during a busy restaurant shift, or anything in between; how did you show up? How did you balance everything and get it all done? Lean into your organization skills and reliability.
7. Strong Communication
Your ability to communicate can make or break your success as a tech sales rep. You’ll talk to new prospects, leaders, and decision makers while building relationships throughout the industry during in-person events or on LinkedIn. It’s important that you communicate clearly and effectively, and if we had to focus on just one trait, this is the one you’ll need to showcase most in your job interview to land a tech sales position..
To demonstrate that you are a strong communicator, walk the hiring manager through how your communication style has benefited you in a past role or at school. Be sure your story is easy to follow from start to finish. Prepare to provide strong, clear, concise answers to questions. If you need more time to think about a question, or you don’t know the answer, simply admit that. Do not mumble and avoid the temptation to rush your thought process. You can respond with, “That’s a great question! Let me think for a moment on how I’d like to answer…(summarize question here).”
High energy is so important in tech sales. Even if you don’t consider yourself an enthusiastic person, in sales, it’s important that you know how to turn it on and get your prospect excited about the solution you have. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert (both can succeed), hiring managers want to know that you are excited about the opportunity before you and that you’re not just seeking a tech sales job for no reason. They’ll be evaluating your authentic energy, so lean in and be yourself!
To display your enthusiasm, your body language is so important. Are you actually interested in the conversation and showing it? It’s important to smile during interactions, maintain good posture, make direct eye contact, and remain engaged throughout your entire interview. Do your best to infuse some energy and pitch variety in your tone of voice to display this as well. Be aware that a flat or monotone way of speaking could be misinterpreted as disinterest. Practice!
Hiring managers know this term, so in case you’re not as familiar with it, grit is defined as “a personality trait characterized by perseverance and passion for achieving long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously to overcome challenges and maintaining effort and interest over time despite failures, adversities, and plateaus in progress.” When seeking a tech sales job, you must showcase your grit and ability to persevere. Successful sales reps have grit, are resilient and adaptable and can build their skills through rejection knowing something greater is coming.
To speak to your grit, tell a story about a time when you didn’t give up despite all odds. What kept you going when the going got tough? Was it your family? Your desire to grow and learn? What was waiting for you on the other side of your hard work and perseverance? Be honest.
Do you enjoy friendly competition? More importantly, are you motivated to break your own records? To be the best you can be? Sales is not an easy job, but the payoff can be grand, especially because it’s tied to your performance. People in sales have drive, and it’s not always about competing with their other sales reps, it’s about outdoing themselves. There can be a great comradery in sales culture that feeds on healthy competition. Your job is to drive revenue!
To showcase your healthy competitiveness, talk about a time when you set a goal for yourself and worked hard to exceed your own expectations to be better than you were before. Have you ever earned an award, beat a personal record, or driven others to do even better? There’s nothing wrong with saying that you like winning, but winning as a team is important, too.
11. Self Confidence
Maybe you’re born with it, maybe you work towards it. Confidence is hugely critical on your path to launching a tech sales career! It’s okay to be nervous when going into a tech sales job interview, but having the self confidence to lead with authenticity and be yourself will go a long way. Being a successful tech sales rep requires that you believe in yourself, even when it’s hard.
To exude self confidence, go into the interview having assured yourself that you’ve got this! Of course, preparation is key. But you landed the interview because they believe you have potential, so don’t discount yourself by speaking too quietly or downplaying your achievements. Share what makes you great! Take inventory of your past accomplishments and if imposter syndrome knocks on your door, don’t answer it. There is space in tech sales for you to succeed.
A Sales Apprenticeship Can Help You Get Hired in Tech Sales
Are you ready to apply your traits to a career in tech sales? At Vendition, a 12-week Sales Apprenticeship Program, we help people who identify with these traits break into tech sales every day through career readiness coaching and sales training. This comes at no cost to you, and if you’re accepted, you’ll experience on-the-job training with one of our partner companies as a new SDR.
The best part? We’ll pay you $9,000 to learn as you go! After the 12-week program, 9 out of 10 Apprentices are hired full-time and launch their careers.
For help launching your tech sales career, apply now to become a Vendition Sales Apprentice.