Whether you are moving from an SDR role into account management, or are already an AE and looking to switch companies, impressing in interview is crucial.
You can have all the relevant experience on your CV and have hit all your targets for the past three years, but if you can’t win round an interviewer then this won’t get you very far.
Here are six crucial things all AEs need to do to ace a SaaS account executive interview:
1. Have your elevator pitch for the company’s product nailed
This is perhaps self-explanatory but if you are seeking to become an advocate for the company’s product(s), it is crucial that you have a strong understanding of what they are, how they benefit customers and, ideally, in what ways they are better than the competition.
Do in-depth research into the offering, as if you were a prospective customer, and develop a clear sense for how the product is marketed – what features are prominently advertised? What benefits are pushed forward? And where do you think upsells can occur?
Condense this research into a brief, slick 30-60 second elevator pitch (but be prepared for follow-up questions).
2. Use the product and have an idea of how you would improve it
If possible, get access to the company’s product and have a good poke around. Whether that’s signing up for a free trial, requesting a demo, or even finding someone you know who uses it, try your best to get a feel for how the software actually works.
Reading all the marketing material in the world is no substitute for actual usage. You get a real feel for the user experience, onboarding, and perhaps crucially where features are less intuitive or harder to find.
Go to your interview armed with a clear sense of what works well and some suggestions for improvements.
3. Let your personality come through
There is a tendency among some people to close off a little during formal situations such as interviews. It’s a natural response to being under pressure but don’t fall into this trap.
You are being hired to work directly with other people, both internally and externally. You need to be relatable, personable, and charismatic to succeed in this role – so you need to be relatable, personable, and charismatic in interview.
4. Create your career narrative
Just like selling a product, selling yourself involves weaving a clear narrative around your career to date and how that experience has built you into someone the company needs to hire.
Aim to paint a picture of someone who, with each move in their professional life, has further progressed their responsibilities and enhanced their skills. Setbacks are natural but be sure to frame them as learning experiences and demonstrate how you have improved as a result of them.
5. Take on board feedback
Coachability is always key in SaaS customer-facing roles, so prepare to listen and learn, not just answer questions. It is a key indicator of a high-performer so you need to demonstrate this before you are hired.
Expect an interviewer to provide an immediate critique when you have answered a question, or even to stop you mid-answer, and let you know how you could improve. Then be ready to do the answer again, making the appropriate changes.
6. Ask the right questions
A good sales person or account manager will always have a sense of pertinent questions to ask which will get to the heart of an issue.
An interview is a great opportunity to demonstrate this ability and to show you are thinking about how you can succeed in the role. Enquiries such as ‘What is the biggest challenge faced by your account executives and how will I be able to help overcome it?’ cuts to the heart of the job and shows the mindset of someone who wants to do well.