I currently own a successful retail business that I started 2 years ago. The business is fairly hands-off now and I have decided to put myself back in market for a startup sales role. Prior to my business, I worked as a Biz Dev Dir. at a failed startup and before that as an Account Exec for a software comp selling enterprise software solutions successfully. I've interviewed with many startups. For some I know the fit is not right, but for others I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Any advise or guidance would be immensely awesome.

It's great that you have a ton of experience in sales and business growth, and this will likely boost your credibility in many ways. However, startups are often looking to hire folks who can be extremely agile and switch to a new strategy as soon as they learn that the current one isn't working.

I'd be careful, in communicating your background and deep experience in the industry, that you don't go saying something like, "I know exactly what tactics will and won't work," (because at a startup, you really don't know til you try) but rather, "Because I've done sales at companies of different sizes, in different industries, some of which have failed and some of which have succeeded, I know how to quickly identify when a given sales approach is or isn't working, and shift to a new approach to better target that particular audience and increase close rates." Give examples. Talk about deals you've saved, times you've had to change your approach.

Also, chances are - if you're joining an early-stage startup, you'll play a key role in helping define their sales strategy as the company grows. Have you done this before? Talk about how you've approached this at other companies.

Hope this gives you a better framework for thinking about how to communicate your value. Best of luck!

Answered 5 years ago

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