Your current sales job isn’t working out, and you’re ready to move on to greener pastures. But as you start looking for jobs, you notice that every post looks the same. So, how do you choose the right one?
To find the best jobs, you need to do more than apply to every position that comes your way — you need to evaluate employers, learn as much as you can about the job, and choose the best one for you and your career. But where do you start? And what should you look for?
Use these steps to start your search for the best sales jobs:
Step #1: Research, research, research
The job search starts with research, and to find the best sales jobs, you need to look at the products and services you would be selling. The 2016 Best Places to Work in Medical Sales survey, conducted by my employer MedReps, found that 52 percent of respondents said a strong product line is the most important factor when evaluating top medical sales companies.
Do your homework and research the company and its products. Pay attention to what investors, business outlets, and leaders are saying about the employer. Even more importantly, what are customers saying?
What do their recent press releases say about the company’s stability and performance? Where is the company headed and what innovative products are they developing?
Don’t just look for products that are strong in the market; you want products that interest you, as well. What impact do they have? Why do customers want them? Would working with the products or services give you a sense of purpose?
Step #2: Get the inside scoop
Now that you’ve narrowed down your search for the best sales jobs by product line, it’s time to look at company culture. You can see yourself working with the products, but can you see yourself at the organization itself?
It’s a tough question for job seekers to answer. A survey of more than 10,000 professionals who recently changed jobs, published by LinkedIn in August 2015, found that 49 percent of respondents said the biggest obstacle in the job search is not knowing what working for an organization is actually like.
To get a realistic sense of the company culture, you need to go beyond the company’s website and talk to people. Reach out to contacts you’ve made from industry-related events, past positions, and social media who have worked for the employer or who know someone who does. Ask them about the best and worst parts about the job, what it takes to be successful at the company, and what the work environment is like.
Step #3: Ask the tough questions
You’ve narrowed down your short list of employers, applied to some jobs, and you’re ready for the interview. But to find the best sales jobs, you need to interview the employer and ask some tough questions.
Before the interview, draft a list of questions that are most important to you. Some good places to start are asking why the last person left the position or asking about the main challenges of the job. You want to know what to expect from the job — the good and the bad. Even the best sales jobs will have downsides, but you may be equipped to deal with certain challenges better than others. Another way to position this question is to ask about the typical ramp up period for sales reps. In other words, how long does it take for new employees to get up to speed and start making commission?
It’s also a good idea to ask about work-life balance. Today’s workers are looking for better balance, and sales professionals are no different. In fact, 62 percent cited work-life balance as one of the most important values of an employer in the 2016 Best Places to Work in Medical Sales survey. Ask what a typical work week is like and how they reward top performers. While you do want a job that challenges you, you also want to know that the employer values you and your time.
Step #4: Talk money
Understanding compensation is critical when evaluating sales jobs, but talking about money with potential employers can get a little awkward. But to find the best sales jobs, you need to know your income potential and what the commission structure is like.
If the employer brings it up in the interview, great. Don’t shy away from the topic. Ask questions to get a better idea of the earning potential, and answer any questions about your current compensation as accurately and honestly as possible.
If the interviewer doesn’t mention it, bring it up toward the end of the interview. You don’t want to ask about the exact numbers until you’re negotiating an offer, but you can get an idea by focusing the conversation on the commission structure. Ask how performance is rewarded and if top performers are awarded bonuses or other perks.
Finding the best sales jobs will take some work, but the results are well worth the effort.
What is the number one thing you look for in sales jobs and employers? Share in the comments below!