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Grin's hiring an Account Executive–how can I stand out from the crowd?

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Mitchell Earl answered

If you have no prior sales experience to fall back on, I’d recommend focusing on the low-hanging fruit: how can you prove you can bring value to the table?

In an account executive role, you’ll need to be able to close deals. Often, companies have anyone without prior closing experience start in a lower sales role–like a sales development rep role. So, if you don’t have experience, I’d focus on showcasing a mid of AE- and SDR-type skills: like product knowledge, how to find leads, and how to prospect. Then, I’d package it nicely in a pitch tailored specifically to the person most likely to be making the hiring decision.

Skills / Responsibilities that stand out:

• Responsible for generating leads and meeting sales goals
• Virtual sales presentations and product demonstrations
• Negotiating and closing contracts
• Exceptional at prospecting

Product Demo and Market Research: First, go demo their product. Get a sense for how it works. Take note of how an end user might benefit from the product. How easy is it to find a relevant influencer and connect? What is the price point? Who might be willing to pay that?

Then, look around on their website. Get a sense of who their customers might be–what titles at what companies might indicate a good buyer? What companies have a budget that might fit? What companies have a product that makes influencers a potential good traction channel?

Lead List: Using the info you collected in the market research section, go hit LinkedIn, Crunchbase, and AngelList. Look for companies that fit the profile you came up with.

Then, look at the companies’ employees–filter for titles that include marketing. Make a list of anyone that works in marketing who you think might be able to benefit from Grin’s platform.

Project: With the list of leads you have in mind, come up with a few steps you could use to get in touch with these people.

I recommend coming up with a three- to five-step sequence of emails and phone calls for getting in touch with them. Document this process (you don’t necessarily have to do this, but spell out how you would do it if you did have the job).

Bonus points: I’d recommend researching what types of influencers might benefit them–and including that with the notes for each prospect. Imagine a cold email campaign that includes a few different influencers with tens of thousands of followers: “I can get your brand in front of hundreds of thousands of people for a fraction of the cost of what you spend on ads. Imagine this person sharing your product.”

Tailored Pitch: Assuming you’ve run the above process, now it’s time to bring all the steps together.

I recommend using two tools to highlight everything you’ve done in this exercise: Google Slides and Loom.

Start by creating a new slide deck. Add the company’s logo and colors to the cover slide with your name and the role you’re interested in. (Example: “Hey Grin, I’m [your name], and this is why I’ll crush it as an Account Executive.”)

To take this to the next level, go use LinkedIn to try to figure out who the hiring manager for the company might be (even if it’s just your best guess).

For this role, I’d look for anyone in the Sacramento, CA office with a title of Sales Manager or VP of Sales. Address the presentation to that person. It makes it feel even more personal.

Then, in a few slides, outline what you like about the company, why what they do matters to you, and how the skills they ask for translate well with your existing skills (even if you don’t have a ton of experience).

Then, spend two to three slides outlining the results of the exercise you put together. Don’t go too into the weeds here–you’ll cover this in the Loom video.

On a final slide, add how they can get in touch with you.

Once you have your deck finished, hop on Loom, and record yourself on-camera talking through the slides. Explain the content, and go into a little more detail about what you learned through the exercise and how you can apply that to be successful in the role.

Then, last step–this is critical: after you send in your application, go back to LinkedIn, find the person you think might be the hiring manager and message them. Share your video, slides, the lead list, and project you created. While you’re at it, go ahead and send an email as well–something like, “I want to make sure you saw this”.

If you don’t hear anything back, follow up every 24-72 hours until you hear something.

This is sales–so you’re trying to get a response (even if it’s a "no"). If you can prove you’re capable of persevering through rejection until you hear something, then it’s a good signal. Sure, use your judgement, and try not to be annoying.

But remember, if you don’t have any experience, leveraging your effort and willingness to work hard can both be secret weapons.

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