Development teams may build cool stuff, but sales teams are vital for the success of Chicago’s tech ecosystem. We talked to three Chicago startups about what they look for in sales candidates, and it turns out a background in sales isn’t vital. Check out their answers below to see what it takes to join their ranks.
Hireology focuses on finding sales staff with aptitude and drive, and not necessarily someone who’s ready to sell on day one. In fact, a strong training program and ongoing learning opportunities help sales pros and newbies alike succeed.
“As a growth company, we are looking for employees who can grow with Hireology. We look for candidates who are driven, ask meaningful questions, and fit our core values" said Vice President of Sales Max Lowenbaum. "We’re more interested in hiring people who can help us shape the future, versus a short-term fit for today.”
However, first impressions are still vital in sales, and Hireology looks for salespeople that communicate how they stay organized and measure their achievements.
“As a top 100 Inc. 500 growth company, we’re looking for eager salespeople who work smarter and harder to help us maintain our growth trajectory and company evolution,” Lowenbaum said.
At ReviewTrackers, a sales background definitely isn’t a requirement. The company has hired salespeople who previously worked as social workers and restaurant general managers.
“Some of the best salespeople we have hired didn't come from a traditional sales background,” said vice president of sales Josh Fosburg. “We have worked with fantastic salespeople who were teachers or those who are in the middle of writing novels. We guess what we are trying to say is we don't let resumes do all the talking.”
Instead, the company examines what each individual position requires to make sure an applicant would actually be a good fit. Of course, they also look for some traits that always make for a stronger sales team.
“We look for hardworking and kind people who are polished but not robotic, competitive but not at the sacrifice of being a team player, and can ask smart questions to connect the conversational dots,” Yoh said.
Since OfficeLuv sells clean offices, their sales prerequisites aren’t what’s often seen in the digital tech industry. While attributes like high energy, creativity and drive are important, a fun-loving attitude is also vital.
“We look for candidates with a great sense of humor — they tend to be more confident, resilient and great at relationship building,” said Director of Sales Olivia Beckman. “After all, we sell a service responsible for cleaning up after people, you have to have a good sense of humor!”
According to Beckman, the sales team’s focused efforts are the driving force behind the lively office environment.
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