Have you ever wondered how sales job opportunities “open up”? Is it because someone left the company? Did someone not hit their number and get fired? Does it come from the budget surplus of a sudden growth initiative? Maybe there was extra budget left over in Q4, and management is saying “it’s got to go somewhere!” or the hiring manager has the “use it or lose it” mentality.
These are just a few reasons why sales jobs open up, and from someone outside the hiring company, it can be a total black box. That’s why your dream sales job is probably not open exactly when you want it to be. I have spent a large percentage of my career in internal recruiting and get asked a lot about tips on how to get a job. One of the first things I like to remind people when it comes to jobs and hiring is to “respect timing.” Timing is everything when it comes to jobs and hiring and when you suddenly try to play the traditional game of job boards, “just in time networking” and agency recruiters, most often it’s an uphill battle. Even if you are the perfect candidate for a company, you may have applied after an offer has been deployed or the recruiter on the other side just didn’t have time to get to your resume.
Your network contact may be referring you to a job not know it is going to be filled by an internal promotion. The recruiting agency may be pushing another candidate with a higher salary so they can optimize their own comp plan. Why leave it to chance? If you just want a sales job, play that game. If you want to find your dream sales job, you have to be proactive and get in there before they know they need to open that job
Research + Relationships = Opportunity
The first step is always identifying the right companies with the right cultures, hot products to sell and strong market momentum. This can be challenging and if you want to be thorough, can be time-consuming. Nowadays, doesn’t it seem like every single company claims to be great places to work? I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit overwhelmed and get sucked into the ever growing volume of “employment branding” hitting our social feeds.
It’s also hard to trust the anonymous employee review sites that seem to be littered with bitter under performers and/or strategically reviews from current employees. Sure there is some really great organic content about a workplace or team you may across and some great recruitment marketers telling some authentic stories I love. There is also thoughtful, neutral and fair reviews are out there. Online research can be a good first filter, but it can take you down a rabbit hole and is surface level – not deep enough. You need to build relationships with employees, salespeople and sales management at these companies, talk to customers, check out the product, etc… The problem is, when you are cramming all this together in a short time frame with the serendipitous nature of when jobs become open, the odds are more than likely working against you. It takes time to do the research and build the relationships, but that is where you get the best information and can start to earn your way to your very own job opening on your timeline.
Create Your Own Destiny
My buddy Mark Birch is doing a fantastic job building a strong, growing and global community with the Enterprise Sales MeetUp (I highly suggest you check it out in a city near you). He recently told me that one of if not the best things about being in sales is you have the ability to control your own destiny. I think that same thinking applies to advancing your career in sales and finding the best fit for a new opportunity.
I have always loved that you can easily calculate how much you cost a business and figure out the personal ROI you offer them. I’ve spent years managing internal recruiting teams presiding over different types of job openings simultaneously (sales, engineering, marketing…). When it comes to sales talent, it has been the only area that different business leaders on multiple occasion have said something like, “I don’t care if we have open headcount, if you have a great salesperson, we should figure it out and make it happen.” One of those leaders was a CEO who used to run a sales teams earlier in his career. He knows that one of the keys to making the best sales hires is to scoop them up when the opportunity presents itself because they will pay for themselves and then some.
Get in Early, or Someone Else Will.
Not all CEO’s, HR / Recruiting leaders or even Sales leaders have that same perspective and/or flexibility, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your case. If you want to push your career forward and keep your options open to land your dream job, you need to be proactive. Chances are, if you wait until things slow down for your pipeline, it’s likely happening elsewhere and it will become harder to get hired, even if you are the #1 Rep at a reputable company, trending over your goal.
According to a recent survey from Career Builder, 75% of Employees are open to or actively looking for new jobs. Another survey with similar numbers from Jobvite states, “…looking for a new job has become the de facto state for many.” There seems to be an ever-growing amount of competition out there who are “always open to new opportunities.” If you wait for a job to open up, get in line and good luck. Just a few nights ago, I heard bestselling author and sales thought leader Mike Weinberg talk about how consistent trends he notices in salespeople who struggle. One, in particular, struck a chord with me – they tend to not get into deals early. The same applies with hunting down your dream job. If you’re not in early, someone else is. Landing the best job at the top of your list won’t be easy, but getting proactive will help you start to know where you stand and what you need to do to get there sooner.
How to be Proactive and Still Perform
Being your best and a high performer takes a lot of time and effort, leaving little left to put the time in to ensure you always keep your best options open. To start, I advise that you try to operationalize meeting contacts at your upside companies reasonably, maybe one contact per month. If you are in SaaS technology sales in the NYC area and would like a more efficient way to connect with the right top employers proactively, check out our homepage here: Upsider. We recently launched in NYC and use your actual sales performance metrics (AOV, Sales Cycle, Comp, etc…) and data about your selling environment and industry to connect you to a custom shortlist of the best employers consistently throughout your career.
We think context is critically important, which is why we can help employers and salespeople communicate with context (timing). Upsider is not just another jobs site, it’s specifically built to help you track your career sales data and identify and manage the right sales career relationships proactively, not reactively. You’ll find top employers in our platform that are “hiring now” or “hiring soon” and you can choose an “always open to new opportunities” status when you sign up.
It’s early, but we’ve been encouraged by the number of meetings happening before jobs are actually opening up and we are receiving strong feedback from salespeople and our employer partners. You can apply for early access here.