Do you have what it takes? Sales leaders reveal how to make the cut on NYC's top teams

by Katie Fustich
March 14, 2018

In the world of NYC tech, landing a spot on one of the city’s top sales teams is no easy feat. It takes polish, determination, punctuality (and perhaps a dash of spell-check) to make an impression. Fortunately, Built In NYC spoke to some of the city’s foremost sales leaders, and got the scoop on exactly what you should (and shouldn’t) do to make an impression, and potentially land a job offer, at a top tech firm.

Trustpilot
image via trustpilot

At Trustpilot, the mission is to empower companies and customers with honest, community-driven reviews. When it comes to building up the sales team, Katie Ditano, director of account development, aims to find candidates who can offer up that same level of honesty and self-awareness.

 

When you’re looking to add a new member to your sales team, what makes a candidate really stand out?

We’re always seeking people who are motivated to be in sales, coachable and adaptable. During an interview, someone will stand out if they've done their research, are prepared to discuss the role and company and ask thoughtful questions. Being self-aware about what you’re looking for in your career and in a company is huge.

 

On the opposite side of things, what are immediate red flags you see in a candidate?

The biggest red flag is not being able to communicate why someone wants this job or wants to work at Trustpilot. The ADR role is a grind, but it's set up to build the foundation of what it takes to be successful in sales. If you can commit to giving it your all, then you will go very far here and chances are that you will be incredibly successful as an account executive. Someone who is hungry to succeed, enjoys achieving goals and working alongside an amazing team will go very far here.

 

TheSkimm
image via theskimm

TheSkimm’s Chief Business Officer, Brian Berger, believes that for a salesperson to form a meaningful relationship with the client, they must truly understand the company product on a foundational level. At any news organization, research is key — and at theSkimm, that love of learning and hustling extends far beyond the newsroom.

 

When you're looking to add a new member to your sales team, what makes a candidate really stand out?

We're looking for athletes. We're looking for bright and resourceful candidates who are both creative and strategic; who can flex different muscles depending on what needs to be done. We're looking for candidates who have the innate ability to understand both the clients' needs and the business needs and how theSkimm's products and services can bridge the two. We're also looking for a willingness to learn and an excitement to hustle.

 

On the opposite side of things, what are immediate red flags you see in a candidate?

When a candidate hasn’t done their homework and does not understand our brand — those are immediate red flags. We want to see that you understand our audience, company mission and are familiar with our suite of products. While our products may not be part of your current routines (totally okay), we'd like for you to demonstrate that you understand how we tell brand stories and appreciate that the relationship with our audience is one of our most valuable assets.

 

Sisense
image via sisense

In recent years, business intelligence software developer Sisense has grown rapidly — expanding both their product’s reach and their sales team. Talent Acquisition Specialist Alyssa Rose told Built In NYC that the company has curated one of the most collaborative sales teams in tech, and is searching for unique talent to expand their vision.  

 

When you're looking to add a new member to your sales team, what makes a candidate really stand out?

First and foremost, our account executives are bold. Startups are fluid and the only constant is change. Our strongest employees recognize that and want to be on the cutting-edge of that change, consistently presenting the team with ideas that are going to challenge the status quo. In any sales cycle, no matter where you are, you’re going to encounter hiccups along the way. How well can you work through those obstacles? A ‘Sisenser’ never stops trying.

Responsiveness and support are also of paramount importance — both internally and externally. We work hard, we work together, and we work obsessively towards the success of our customers. The work-life balance we have here is more than healthy but when we’re on, we’re on, and always working toward a common goal.

Of all of those qualities, what’s most important to me is passion. Sisense is what gets us out of bed in the morning. If you come here with passion, dedication, and a hunger to help your team and your customers, the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can accomplish here.

 

On the opposite side of things, what are immediate red flags you see in a candidate?       

More than anything, it’s showing up to our call unprepared. If you can’t show me that you have a general sense of who Sisense is or what we do, not only can I not sense your passion, I can’t trust that you’ll show up any more prepared for a sales meeting. Apathy and arrogance will also end the conversation pretty quickly. If we can’t get the sense that you’ll care immensely about your customers and coworkers or that you can’t be adaptable and coachable, it would be almost impossible to succeed in a tight-knit, collaborative group.

 

Bizzabo
image via bizzabo

At event success platform Bizzabo, personal success metrics are key. Senior Director of Sales Michael Morris told Built In NYC that his team is seeking salespeople who are proven problem solvers, eager to make a difference within a team, and have the statistics to back up their work.

 

When you’re looking to add a new member to your sales team, what makes a candidate really stand out?

Having three-plus years of relevant experience with title increases over those three years is something that really stands out. It implies that a candidate can be committed to an organization and a valuable team member. That said, people moving around isn’t necessarily bad. Especially in the startup world, companies come and go and people sometimes get "pulled" to other companies by previous bosses. That's why it's essential to have tangible sales results to share. Being able to name quota attainment, sales achievements, any awards earned and big customers can help you make your case.

Once it comes to the interview, we really appreciate it when someone shows a ‘We Own It’ attitude (one of our core values). Someone who has seen something not optimal in a sales process and has then decided to work through the right channels to fix that problem — instead of waiting for someone else to address it — shows that they’re thinking about the big picture.

 

On the opposite side of things, what are immediate red flags you see in a candidate?

An interview is analogous to a sales pitch. It’s an opportunity to sell one’s skills and achievements. If someone does not put in the time to research our product, market, culture or history — how are they going to approach a call with an actual prospect?

 

Datacamp
image via datacamp

At growing interactive learning platform DataCamp, Chief Sales Officer Robert Daniel looks for candidates who share the learning spirit that powers the platform. As the company ramps up its operations with clients like Harvard and eBay, Daniel noted he aims to bring on only the best and brightest.

 

When you’re looking to add a new member to your sales team, what makes a candidate really stand out?

I am looking for candidates that show high potential, are hungry, very interested in our product, team players, competitive, want to learn and who can describe why they have succeeded at previous jobs.

 

On the opposite side of things, what are immediate red flags you see in a candidate?  

Too many job hops, not doing research on our company, being late for an interview, not having questions prepared in advance.

 

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