5 Skills You Need in Sales at a Tech Startup

Working in sales for an up-and-coming tech business is great: You can wear jeans to the office, play Bingo during work-sponsored happy hours, and tell everyone you work for a startup (so cool). But how do you know if you’re cut out for the actual sales part? Victoria Thornton, talent acquisition manager for cloud-based waste and recycling company Rubicon Global, shares five qualities that make sales candidates stand out from the rest.

  1. An entrepreneurial streak. Sales experience isn’t necessary, but a go-getter attitude is. “Real entrepreneurs want to come in because we haven’t figured out all the rules,” Thornton says. “We want people to be proactive and give us some ideas of what they might do.”
  2. An understanding of their career path. You may not plan to stay in sales forever, but it’s important to explain how the job fits into your long-term plan, like advancing in the tech field. “If I ask what a candidate wants to do in three years and they say, ‘Be a teacher,’ it’s probably not going to work out in the long run,” Thornton says.
  3. A competitive personality. Whether it’s on the soccer field or with a big customer, a demonstrated desire to compete and win is a big plus. “Even if it’s a candidate’s first job, I like to hear how they’ve excelled in a leadership role at school,” Thornton says.
  4. Flexibility. Working for a rapidly growing startup is exciting, but it also means figuring some things out as you go along. “We love people who are willing to try new things, and who can bounce back if it doesn’t go exactly as planned,” Thornton says.
  5. Storytelling skills. Effective selling means getting people to believe what you’re telling them. “One of our hiring managers will ask candidates to tell him a story, any story,” Thornton says. “If they can take control of the conversation, he’ll hire them.”

Attention, entrepreneurial storytellers: Rubicon is looking for you. Check out our job listings and apply today!

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