Preparing for a sales job? Here's some advice from an expert - CloudCall

Preparing for a sales job? Here’s some advice from an expert

By October 16, 2014Sales
female preparing to land a sales job

Hey you, yeah you, are you looking for a sales job?

We thought so… But do you know what recruiters and businesses are looking for when searching for a new salesperson? Not so much? Well fear not….

We’re excited to bring you this exclusive insight from Paul Manning, Partner at The Bowdoin Group, an executive search firm based outside of Boston, MA.

During his tenure, Paul has completed over 350 searches with clients that range from venture backed pre-IPO to Fortune 100 in size. So he really knows his stuff when it comes to filling a sales job.

Paul Manning Headshot

Keep reading for some invaluable insight into what he looks for when placing a sales candidate….

So, what does a recruiter look for when trying to fill a sales job?

When looking for a person to fill a sales job, there is no exact criteria to consult; there are, however, traits that serve every sales rep well. When these traits are embodies, individuals are able to build the foundation needed for a successful sales career….

Personal motivation

In sales you will have success and failure no matter how good you are as a sales person. The key carrying on is motivation. Your most successful sales people generally have a personal motivation that will help them push through the failures by learning from them. And they won’t stop trying to improve when they are having some success.

Love of competition
sales team in competition

In sales someone always gets the business while others won’t. But if your team are highly competitive, they will always be searching for ways to beat the competition. This can be a very powerful motivator and when used properly can be a key factor in a successful salesperson. And a successful sales team.

Desire to learn

A desire to learn is demonstrated in two ways…

  1. Desire to become an industry expert
  2. Desire to learn more about your prospect or customer so you can provide value to them.

Good salespeople are always trying to be the most informed person in the room no matter how much knowledge they have.

Relentlessness pursuit of excellence

High energy is a must in sales. However it’s not the type of energy that has someone bouncing up and down in an interview. You want a focused energy that allows someone to pursue their goals throughout the day, week, month, quarter and year.

woman in sales job

People buy from people they trust. Even if you have the best product that will solve the customer’s problem, any situation (big or small) that calls into question your integrity or trust will forever change your buyer’s perception of you and your company.


This one’s simple. In today’s service driven world great sales people must have the ability to relate to the customers’ needs.

Communication skills

Effective communication skills are essential for a salesperson. And I’m not just talking about the ability be articulate and speak intelligently about the product, market and business situation. It’s also about the ability to ask the right questions to get the person on the other side of the desk to share information.

And there we have it!

All the traits you need to develop to become a high quality salesperson.

Big thanks to Paul for his useful advice for sales candidates!

Here’s a little more about Paul, and his role at The Bowdoin Group.

Paul has filled countless sales jobs, and has successfully placed professionals in senior level sales, marketing and sales management roles in the technology industry since 1991. He joined The Bowdoin Group in 2000.

For six years prior to joining the firm, Paul served as founder and managing associate of Open Solutions, a boutique sales and marketing technology placement firm. Prior to Open Solutions he spent three years as a top producer for a thirty-year-old East Coast-based executive search firm. Paul has received numerous awards throughout his career for sales successes, as well as for his contribution to the success of the company. Paul is a graduate of Roger Williams University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing with a minor in Business Information Systems. He is married and has two sons.

Robyn Hunt

About Robyn Hunt

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