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9 Steps To Hack Your Sales Job Search Process (And Land More Interviews)

Richard Harris

May 18th, 2017

sales job search process get interviews

My wife thinks I’m crazy for saying this, but I love the sales interview process. And no, I don’t mean interviewing candidates, I mean interviewing as a candidate. I love it so much that a close friend, Scott Leese (SVP of Sales at Qualia Labs) and I often joke about how we would do it full time if we could make money just by landing job interviews. That’s exactly why I’m going to show you how to hack the sales job search process, get more interviews, and ultimately land a great sales job. 

Treat Your Job Search Like The Sales Process

Landing, and of course, nailing job interviews is an invaluable life skill, and if you’ve ever had to wade through the job market, you probably know that your single greatest point of leverage is securing multiple job offers simultaneously.

This puts pressure on employers to take you more seriously and make hiring decisions more swiftly. Therefore, the purpose of this post is not only to help you master the job search process – but to help you score more job offers.

While this guide is written from the sales perspective, I have given this advice to many friends, all of whom say it works flawlessly.

The following guide is structured with a sales funnel in mind.

A sales funnel is the process which customers journey through before making a purchase. When you’re searching for a new gig, you must journey through a similar funnel, one which leads you from job posting to job offer.

sales job search funnel

Image Source: Prepary.com

Step 1: Update Your Resume

  1. Include real data.
  2. Put numbers first
    • Good Example:
      • Achieved 105% of goal Q4 2016
      • Achieved 102% of goal CYE 2016
      • Conversion rate of 75% from qualified to closed won.
    • Bad Example:
      • 105% Q4 2016
      • 102% CYE 2016
      • 75% Conversion Rate

Step 2: Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Use professional pictures (no party pics)

  • Update jobs and dates.
    • Ensure your LinkedIn timeline matches your resume timeline.
    • Ensure your LinkedIn metrics match your resume metrics.
  • Get recommendations (not endorsements) from colleagues.
    • Nothing sells you better than your own customers (in this case co-workers)
    • Include your phone number in your contact info.

Step 3: Know Your ICP (Ideal Company Profile)

  1. Do you want to work for a Fortune 500 company?
  2. Do you want to work for a start-up?
    • What stage, early, expansion, growth, exit?
  3. What Sales Cycle do you thrive under?
  4. What type of selling? B2B or B2C?
  5. Identify the position at your targeted company.

Step 4: Apply To The Position

  1. Apply using the company’s website.

Step 5: Identify The Hiring Manager (or Who is Likely To Be The Hiring Manager)

  1. Connect with them on LinkedIn.
  2. Personalize the message using a variation of the following:

Hi _____,

I just applied to the open position on your website. Assuming you are the right hiring manager, what’s the best way to get 15 minutes on your calendar to discuss? If you are not the right hiring manager, can you please direct me to the correct person?  

Sincerely,
XXXX

  1. If you are unable to connect, send them an InMail with the same message:

Step 6: Find The Company’s Head of HR

  1. Connect with them on LinkedIn.
  2. Personalize the message using a variation of the following:

Hi _____,

I just applied to the open position on your website. I understand there is a process for applying, but I certainly want to do everything I can to make myself stand out from the rest of the candidates.

What is the best way to get 15 minutes on your calendar for an initial discussion?

Sincerely,
XXXX

Step 7: PICK UP THE FRIGGIN PHONE!!!

  1. Call the potential hiring manager and leave a similar message to the one you sent on LinkedIn. Of course, feel free to be a little more creative.

Hi _____,

I just applied to the open position on your website. Assuming you the right hiring manager, what’s the best way to get 15 minutes on your calendar to discuss? I sent you a connection on LinkedIn as well.

Oh, and I promise I’m not stalking you, I’m just excited about the role and don’t want to leave it all up to a single click on the “Apply” button on your website.

Step 8: PICK UP THE FRIGGIN PHONE AGAIN

  1. Call the potential HR person and leave the same message.

Step 9: Wash, Rinse, Repeat After 48 Hours

  1. Be sure to keep it creative. Don’t say you’re “just following up” or checking in on your resume submission. Spice it up.
  2. Leave the following message for both the HR person and the Hiring Manager.

Hey, I know you’re probably busy with 10 other things on your to do list. Would you do me the courtesy of letting me know where things stand so I don’t have to keep bugging you?

Thanks again for your time.  This is _____ and I am the one who sent you emails, left voicemails, and sent a LinkedIn request regarding ______ position. Here’s my number _______.

FAQ’s

channel sales vs direct sales strategy

  • What if I am not a 100% match?
    1. It doesn’t matter. Apply for everything (within reason) and you may be able to network a bit, help someone else find a job, and in short put out good karma in your job search.
    2. Stop creating a false belief-system!  Far too often people do not apply for a job internally at a company because they don’t feel they meet the requirements.
  • In my communications, should I mention that I am also reaching out to the hiring manager or HR department?
    1. No, let them do their own detective work. They can ask you about it in the interview if they want. You are then in the driver’s seat.
    2. If they ask you if you have reached out to others, then by all means answer truthfully. Keep your reply simple and brief. For example, “Yes, I have.” Elaborate further and you will be at risk of “talking past the close.”
    3. Remember, a magician never tells his secrets.
  • What if the HR person and hiring manager compare notes?
    1. They will agree that they appreciate the extra effort
    2. They never compare notes (really, they don’t)
    3. They will think it’s overkill (and trust me you wouldn’t want to work for someone who cannot appreciate your hard work).
  • Who else can I contact besides HR or the Hiring Manager?
    1. Someone on the Board
  • Does all this really work?
    1. YES (See below)
  • Do you prefer email or LinkedIn?
    1. I prefer using all means necessary. I would even direct tweet them. You have absolutely nothing to lose. Below is a LinkedIn example that has worked.
  • Can you target other people besides HR and the Hiring Manager?  
    1. Yes, by all means. I have even reached out to a board member and gotten a referral.

Real Life Cold Email Example To Recruiter

cold email example to sales recruiter

Conclusion

Whether you’re applying to be a VP of Sales for a tech start-up’s Inside Sales Team, or you’ve got your eye on a marketing manager position at a Fortune 100 company, following the above steps will guarantee you more interviews.

And for those still unsure about this sales job search process, no, you’re not being annoying.

There’s something called “Persistent Pestering”, and with so much competition and ever-increasing standards, the only way to distinguish yourself from the masses is to step out of your comfort zone and digitally tap on a few shoulders.

About the author

Richard Harris

Richard is founder of The Harris Consulting Group and the Director of Sales Training and Consulting at SalesHacker. He is a seasoned SaaS sales leader and trainer with 20+ years experience helping early stage and expansion stage start-ups build their sales infrastructure and train their sales teams to "get there faster". Clients include: Gainsight, Udemy, TopOpps, LevelEleven, PushPay, and SocialChorus

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