Typically, the hiring process for sales, CS and pre-sales positions involves a presentation component, so we took to our community to ask, What are the Do’s + Don’ts that you would tell a candidate before presenting to a SaaS company?
Cindy Wang, Manager, Customer Success @ Zscaler
- Be yourself
- interview is a 2 way assessment, you want to present yourself in your most comfortable state, guess what – you’ll have to live the character daily once you’re hired;
- Be punctual
- Dress professionally / appropriately
- especially if its virtual, interview is an interview – that’s the only way interviewees know how you’ll be presented in real situations
- Listen, read and understand the case carefully
- know what you’re being assessed on, so that you can better position your presentation & be more effective
- Be succinct in your slides & speech.
- Set expectations – if you welcome questions throughout your presentation or if you prefer the audience to hold questions till the end of your presso.
- Ensure to finish on time to allow Q&A.
- Prepare and research about the company, products/services, strategies, industry awards, customer reviews, challenges etc ask yourself questions – what kind of person would they want to hire?
- Talk to friends/connections who may know about the company, this may give you insights re recent purchases, industry recognition etc to build into your pitch
- Rehearse, out loud
- rehearse, rehearse, rehearse- in front of a mirror, record on zoom and playback for corrections,
- present to friends or family – provide them sufficient background, they may help you prepare Q&A.
- Don’t assume – if you’re unclear about anything – ask;
- Don’t read a script – they can tell when you’re reading
- Do not rehearse quietly, it doesn’t have the same impact.
Alicia Payne, Account Executive ANZ @ Supermetrics
- Directly ask the hiring manager/interview panel any questions that you may have about the presentation assignment, well ahead of your scheduled session. Not only does this show initiative and preparedness, but it also shows your attention to detail and coachability.
- Practise your presentation to friends, family and peers. The more comfortable you are with the content, the more relaxed you’ll be when it comes to show time!
- Ask someone in the existing team if you can chat with them about their hiring process, and any tips and tricks they can help with.
- Put all of your content on each slide. Use speaker notes- and bring your own personality to each of the key points of the presentation.
- Don’t get too caught up in the technical side of things if you’re not a technical person. If you’re applying for a sales role, and you’re doing a role play as part of your presentation assignment, focus on the questions that you’re asking, the story that you’re telling and the flow that connects each slide. Your ability to tell a story, and ask open ended questions, will serve you well and impress the interview panellists.
- Don’t stress too much if you don’t get everything right, or there are concepts that you don’t understand. No one expects you to know all the detail straight away, they’re looking to see how well you prepared, and your potential to succeed in the role
Sophie Pereira, Senior Account Executive @ Xref
- In Tech presentations aka a sales meeting – Stories & Stats are where it’s at. Check the company’s website, they should hopefully have some customer case studies where you can get some stats & a good story to use as part of your presentation. If they don’t, get creative and make something up! 🙂
- Confidence and body language are key – 90% of communication is non-verbal and people will rarely remember what you say as much as how you made them feel. Over video conferencing, you need to up the anty in your presentation style. If this isn’t your strength, Youtube tips on presenting with confidence (and as per point 1, your amazing stories & stats that wow the audience will help them feel something, as opposed to risking them switching off)
- Allow yourself a few moments of silence when asked a question and take a breath or 2 before you answer. This is important in any interview or high-intensity business setting. Don’t rush through the presentation, pace and impact is key.
- Overload yourself in getting to know the ins and outs of the Tech you’re selling. You want a high-level focus on solution selling e.g – what is the market issue and how is the Tech going to help combat it? It takes years to learn the ins and outs of a platform so don’t get bogged down.
- Don’t forget to research your audience (not just the tech or company itself) Who are the people you’re presenting to, what are their personality types, research their LinkedIn, Facebooks, google search their names – whatever it takes for you to feel confident in knowing how to speak to their values.
- Very basic – but as with any interview, don’t forget to check the Video Conferencing link works ahead of time, check your slides are all in order & your internet connection is strong. If you’re in person, familiarise yourself with the office location, parking, transport options etc to ensure you’re at least 15 mins early to the Presentation and ready to go.
Alexandra Jorissen, Strategic and Enterprise Accounts ASEAN @ Recorded Future
- Try to learn as much as you can about the product, features, USP’s and what their general pitch looks like, so that they can see that you have come prepared.
- Think that you can learn everything about the product/company or that this is expected
- The interviewers need to hear about YOUR USP’s, what your main strengths are, how you are planning to be successful at the company and WHY they should hire YOU. Make the pitch about yourself as well!