You have just landed a B2B sales interview—congratulations! Now you need to prep for the interview so you can land the job.
If you’re new to sales, it’s critical to understand the difference between transactional sales and enterprise sales. Transactional sales tend to close relatively quickly. The seller usually only talks to one or two people during the entire process. To succeed as a transactional salesperson, you need to quickly earn the trust of your prospect and make a strong pitch for the product. But, you’re usually not responsible for building long-term relationships.
Enterprise sales is a fundamentally different game. These deals involve much more money, and have higher risk for buyers. They want to make sure that the decision is sound. As an enterprise salesperson, you’ll be in contact with many people to close a single deal. You will need to manage multiple relationships successfully across a longer period of time.
All of this matters for hiring managers. When hiring for enterprise sales positions, they’re looking for people who can build relationships and think strategically. It’s not enough to be great at pitching. You need to carry stakeholders through the entire sales process.
Here’s what you need to do to make sure that you’re at your best for your b2b sales interview.
1. Research the product and understand the stakeholders involved in purchasing decisions
Researching prospects is a critical skill in enterprise. You can demonstrate your strengths in research by conducting thorough research on the company where you will be interviewing. Go beyond the basics. You want to really understand the product, the market, and what pain points the product solves.
Even if you don’t have industry experience, it’s important to be able to speak about the different stakeholders involved in purchasing decisions. This signals that you understand the enterprise sales process.
2. If you have previous sales experience, speak about your numbers and provide context
Interviewers will want to know your numbers. Make sure you’re able to discuss all the key metrics: quota attainment, average deal size, and average sales cycle. You should also be able to provide context for the numbers by comparing your performance with your peers.
If some of your numbers aren’t what you’d like them to be, speak honestly about it. Don’t blame others for your performance. Take full responsibility. Talk about what you’ve done to improve your numbers—and back it up.
3. Practice introducing yourself
Introductions set the tone for the entire interview. Practice giving a firm handshake and succinctly introducing yourself.
Remember: Interviewers will be trying to imagine you meeting with stakeholders in a sales setting. Make sure you project confidence, professionalism, and trustworthiness.
4. Prepare for a mock pitch
It’s very likely that you will be asked to pitch something during the interview. This could be an everyday object like a water bottle or a more complex product. Even if you feel confident in your abilities, you should practice your pitching skills so that you’re prepared when the time comes. Try pitching a variety of different products so that you’re prepared for anything that might come your way.
Practice with someone who you trust to give you honest feedback. Use their feedback to hone your approach.
5. Prepare for common interview questions
One nice thing about B2B sales interviews: Many of the questions you receive are predictable. Research the most common B2B sales interview questions and prepare your responses. It’s important that you avoid sounding overly rehearsed, but you do want to have a general idea of what points you want to hit for certain lines of questioning.
Here are some examples of questions you might be asked:
- What are your goals for the next five years? The next ten years?
- What’s one skill that you struggled with early in your career and how did you become better at it?
- Can you talk about your most successful/least successful deal? What factors led to the outcome and what did you learn from it?
- How do technology tools fit into your sales process?
You should also expect a few unexpected questions, however. Interviewers will be looking to see how well you think on your feet.
6. Prepare intelligent questions for your interviewers
One of the most important parts of the interview is when the interviewer asks, “so, do you have any questions for us?” Make sure that you’re not caught off-guard. Prepare thoughtful questions ahead of time. Avoid questions that can be easily answered if you spend a few minutes on the company website. Instead, use your research to formulate specific questions about the company and where it’s at. You can also use the opportunity to learn about the company’s sales process. Your interviewers want to know that you’re interested in the intricacies of process.
7. Prepare to walk them through your sales process and how you consistently hit your goals
Your interviewers will want to know the details about how you work. Even if you’re new to enterprise sales, you should know how to discuss your transactional sales process. Your explanation should include details. Don’t just say, “I cold call prospects.” Explain your strategy for handling cold calls. You should also be able to speak to your broader work habits. How do you juggle competing demands? What process do you use to keep yourself on track with goals? How do you make time for continued learning?
8. Be prepared to explain why you want to go into B2B sales
“Why do you want to be in sales?” is a very common interview question, yet many job candidates struggle to articulate a strong response. Before your interview, do some serious thinking about your motivations and be prepared for this question.
9. Learn about the company culture
Expect to be asked why you want to work at this particular company. Do your research and prepare to give a response that speaks to the company’s culture and values.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that you are prepared to nail your b2b sales interview.