There comes a time in every salesperson’s career when it becomes evident that it’s time to make a change. Whether that change is an internal move, an industry switch, or taking on a role at another company, there are a host of challenges and worries that can be part of the process.
I recently transitioned from a sales role at one technology company to another and learned a lot in the process.
Here are six key points to keep in mind as you get ready to make your next change:
1. Nail the interview process
Once you’ve made the decision to look for opportunities outside of your current company, start thinking about how you can make the most of the interview process. First and foremost, you must realize you still have a job to do. Because sales offer substantial flexibility, it can be easy to spend time on your current job hunting for another role or take too much time off to interview with other companies. Make sure that you are doing right by your current employer.
When interviewing it is essential to have a complete understanding of the role and what will be expected of you. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions of the interviewer and realize that the best way to set yourself up for a great transition is to have a comprehensive understanding before taking it on.
Some great questions to ask during the interview process:
- What percentage of reps are hitting quota?
- What are the expectations around reporting and cadence?
- How has the territory historically performed that I am interviewing for?
- How closely will I work with technical and business development resources?
- What is the typical percentage of time spent traveling?
Make sure you talk with the person who would directly manage you and look through your network to see if you can have a conversation with a rep who is currently at the company that can give you a firsthand view of the role.
For specific questions to ask around salary, check out this post.
2. Leave your present company the right way
Aside from handing in your two weeks notice when resigning, there are some important actions you can take to make your departure easier for everyone. Something that was effective that I did was hand my manager a plan to transition my on-going opportunities. While you most likely keep your CRM up to date, there is always more color you can provide and being intentional about doing that is important.
I created a spreadsheet that clearly laid out the key contacts, the next expected action, and other details I thought relevant so she would have a complete view in one place of where each opportunity was. Once it was determined who would be picking up each account, I scheduled an introductory call with the prospect and the new rep to transition the opportunity. Since I’d been working with a number of these prospects for many months, I also gave them a call individually beforehand to explain what was happening and to ensure they had everything they needed.
The way you help your manager and team when you leave may be different, but as long as you keep in mind what each person may need from you, you will leave without burning any bridges.
3. Create a 30-60-90 day plan
One of the best ways you can make a positive first impression at your new company is to come on board prepared. A great way to do this is by creating a 30-60-90 day plan. While you will inevitably make adjustments along the way, putting in the effort upfront will get you off to a great start.
Some goals to consider including could be:
- Get to know team members/company culture (qualitative, I know, but we have to start somewhere!)
- Understand different deal structures and associated pricing
- Shadow calls and confidently deliver a standard pitch
- Create a list of target accounts and develop a strategy for outreach with sales development resources
- Have a certain number of qualified deals identified by a certain date
4. Use preferred communication methods
When you’re getting to know your team and manager, it’s a good idea to ask their preferred communication method – do they like instant messaging, or should you just walk over to their desk? What about when you’re not in the office – is an email or phone call better?
Getting an understanding of this early can help you reach people quicker because you’re operating in a way that each person is comfortable with. This proved to be quite the learning curve for me as my previous company culture was vastly different, and I’m so glad I asked this question upfront.
5. Soak up as much knowledge as possible
While some companies may have a formal ramp plan that keeps you busy every hour as you’re first starting out, other companies may leave you to your own devices to learn. If that’s your situation or if you’re somewhere in the middle, take a proactive approach to learning more. Think about goals from your 30-60-90 day plan and figure out ways you can gain the required knowledge. That could include asking top performers to shadow their calls or take them out to lunch, reading about your competitors and learning the space better, or spending time with the support team to hear from clients first hand.
6. Develop your confidence
Starting a new job can be stressful. Add to that the high expectations you have for yourself and getting to know new management, and you can end up not feeling nearly as confident as you did in your previous role (where you knew a lot more about what was going on)!
The best way to develop your confidence is to set weekly goals you can achieve and stretch goals to push yourself. Keep your expectations in line and realize that you aren’t going to be effective right from day one.
You can also think about what you need and ask that of your manager. Maybe you need to spend extra time with them talking through pricing, or you need help understanding the ideal profile of your customers, or you need to role-play responding to objections. Be vocal about what you need, in reason, and your manager will be more than happy to oblige because they want you to succeed!
There you have it, six ways to ensure that you have a smooth and successful transition from one job to another! By taking these points and keeping them at the forefront of your mind during this change process, you will be able to get up to speed quickly and win the support of those around you.
Alyssa J Freitas is an Account Executive at Looker. Looker brings data-driven decision making to every level of an enterprise with a data platform that creates a single source of truth so every business team can easily ask and answer their own questions. Previously, she was an Account Executive at IBM.