"So tell me why you want to get involved in Inside Sales?"
As a hiring manager at a rapidly growing software company I get to ask this opening interview question on a regular basis.
The response is almost always some version of how the candidate wants to get a foot in the door so that they can become the best Inside Salesperson ever, and then proceed through the organization into other sales positions and become a successful sales professional.
Almost everyone I interview tells me some version of this story as their long range career plan, and quite frankly, it's a decent answer.
However, following this response I always seek to understand what the candidate's answer really means, so I'll say:
"Tell me what you have been reading recently."
The candidate typically responds in one of two ways:
- A citation of one or two of today's most popular novels, or
- A blank stare followed by some type of deferring question aimed back at me.
I don't believe this outcome is limited to the candidate pool. If I were to poll my current team, past team or any team led by any of my colleagues in the profession, the responses would likely be something similar to what happens in these interviews.
Fact: you're accountable for your own career development and advancement
I will believe you if you tell me your goal is to achieve success in Inside Sales and become a sales professional. But if this is really true...
Why, then, are you not making the choice to educate yourself on ways to achieve this success?
Why are you not spending a few minutes a day understanding this profession from a different perspective?
Why are you not seeking input from some of the top minds in the industry in order to improve your skills?
Because the truth is, you're accountable for your career development and advancement.
As someone who makes a living in Inside Sales, I spend several hours a week reading intriguing, educational and thought provoking articles and posts by other coaches, mentors and leaders in the profession.
(To name just a few, I regularly follow Jill Konrath, Ken Krogue, Colleen Francis, Art Sobczak and Jamie Shanks. Go check them out.)
I've also sought out mentors and guidance from people in and outside of the sales profession to help me learn and to grow. These relationships have provided unique opportunities to learn, grow and forge ties.
Being successful in your career means more than just doing the job
Career success - however you define it - requires ambition. That ambition will drive you to seek knowledge. And, in seeking that knowledge, you should look for the input of other professionals who have "been there" and "done that." Learn from them and understand what kind of guidance they can offer.
So here's the great news...there is an abundance of useful and relevant information (and people!) you can tap into. Some of this information is only a Google search away.
Whatever the challenge you need to overcome, or goal you want to reach, there is someone out there who has not only been in the same position as you, but written something about how they achieved success.
So tell me, what have you been reading recently?