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I Think I Want to Pivot to PreSales. Where Do I Start?

In March of 2020 I couldn’t ignore the itch any longer – I was ready to explore roles outside of oil and gas (O&G), where I could more intentionally pursue my love for technology, influencing innovation, and problem solving. 

When I stumbled upon a job posting on LinkedIn for a Solutions Consultant, I knew I had found the career path for me. Over the next few months, I scanned probably a hundred different PreSales jobs until I was absolutely certain that this was the right move. In December of that year, I accepted a Solutions Consultant role at Quantrix. 

If you find yourself like me in March 2020, pulling a move into “the best job nobody has ever heard of,” it can be overwhelming to figure out how to take that first step. 

I’m sharing an outline of the steps I took in those roughly eight months. A disclaimer: This is not the only way to break into PreSales. My hope is that this list gives you four critical (but attainable) actions that you can get started on today. 

Step 1: Get familiar with PreSales job descriptions

Once I read the first Solutions Consultant job description on LinkedIn, I can honestly say I was hooked. It was so clear to me that this is what I wanted to do. But I’m also an engineer by background, and while I felt the pull of something outside of oil and gas, I truly liked many aspects of my career at ExxonMobil, so I needed to weigh the pros, cons, and risks very carefully.

To do this, I spent at least two full months casually perusing every PreSales, Solutions Consultant, and Solutions Engineering role I could find on LinkedIn (pro tip: set up a job alert to get these updates and new postings sent to your email each week – you can even filter them by location, years of experience, etc. I suggest not limiting your search to only a few key companies or a singular industry – more on that below). 

As you begin exploring these job descriptions, ask yourself these questions:

Do I have a strong industry background that would translate well to the subject matter of this role?

Do I want to move to a completely new industry vertical?

I wasn’t interested, per se, in joining another O&G-focused company, but I wasn’t completely closed off to it either, so I kept my options open. It’s important to also think beyond your list of “top brands;” it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of the big technology companies with massive PreSales organizations, but it’s important not to limit your search this early on in the exploration phase. You can always refine your search later as you hone in on where you can most effectively find your first SC role.

What unique, important skills do I have that would be effective in helping bring perspective to the customers this company works with? 

This is one of the most important mind shifts that helped me. While I had experience with tools like SAP, Power BI, Excel, and JavaScript from ExxonMobil, I realized that experience didn’t necessarily make me a shoo-in for those companies (or companies who sell those products). What did set me apart was my ability to learn software extremely quickly, create and deliver effective, memorable presentations to VP-level stakeholders, and my natural inclination to build analytical models to understand data. 

What requirements of this job do I lack?

This is the other side of the coin to the question above. Remember, you’re pivoting to an all-new role (and possibly a new industry) — you won’t have all the boxes checked, and that’s okay. Apply anyway. But also, be sure to keep a list of recurring job responsibilities that you don’t feel confident that you meet; this is a great opportunity to grow and also tends to be great material for an interview (more on that below).

Step 2: Reimagine your resumé

After you’ve scanned dozens of SC job openings, I promise you’ll begin to see patterns: common responsibilities, things that excite you, and things that intimidate you. Keep a document of all these things and copy and paste them into these three buckets, or categories: 

These three sets of information are the secret sauce to transforming your resumé to one that is effective for PreSales positions. If you are coming from a non-technical or non-sales background, do not fear! While I had a strong technical background, I didn’t have a shred of true sales experience. But, after compiling my notes for the first and second buckets, I knew exactly how to reframe my resumé to show that I would be effective at selling. 

Before you begin reframing your resumé for PreSales, be sure you have an existing one to work from. It should be clean and simple with a list of your jobs, accolades, and accomplishments — the more numbers you have to support those, the better. 

Next, write down the answers to these questions:

How have you helped people both within and outside your company improve a process, try a new idea, or change a technology or product? Have you ever had to influence a decision without actual superiority or authority?

If you’re a teacher, dentist, or even an artist, consider your company or your place of business, and think about who your customers are (students count!).

What do your colleagues, customers, and mentors say about you?

Think specifically about your unique skills and how they would translate to bringing value in a Solutions Consultant role.

How is success defined for PreSales roles (going back to the last section)?

Align your resumé as much as possible to these responsibilities and descriptions — keeping honestly as first priority. A good SC is one who is transparent and doesn’t inflate facts for the sake of a sale (or, ahem, a job). This is your first test: You must learn to sell yourself effectively and accurately before you can sell someone’s product in the same way.

Note: if you are casting a wide net across several industry verticals, you may want to consider creating a few different versions of your PreSales resumé to best reflect your transferable experience. 

Step 3: Start preparing early for interviews and demos

Once your reimagined resumé is print ready, it’s time to apply to those PreSales job postings! There are published statistics that women, in particular, often will not apply to roles unless they meet nearly 100% of the job requirements. Do not let the unchecked boxes keep you from applying if you have experience (from that fresh, new resumé) that can support your capabilities and potential for a given role.

Be patient. It may take some time to get an interview, so don’t be discouraged. It took over a month of applying to PreSales roles before I got my first few calls. Use this waiting period to prepare for introductory calls and interviews so you’re ready when the time comes. 

As you prepare for interviewing for your first PreSales role, consider these tips and steps. 

Interviewing Fundamentals

First, focus on the basics of good interviewing. Refresh on STAR (situation, task, action, result) responses to interview questions. Most PreSales interviews I had consisted of about 70% behavioral questions and only 30% technical or demo-focused. In job interviews and customer presentations, having the ability to answer questions succinctly and effectively is an important skill. Consider your answers to questions like:

  • Have you ever made a presentation to a large, mixed audience?
  • Have you ever had to compile a project justification or make a case to change something or introduce something new?
  • Have you ever had to deal with an unhappy customer or resolve an issue?

Remember, Solutions Consultants do much more than just product demonstrations (as you’ve learned by now from jotting down PreSales job descriptions), so think beyond how you demo a product. Practice interviewing as much as possible, especially if you tend to get nervous or uncomfortable or struggle to succinctly answer questions. Grab a friend, family member, or mentor to help. 

In addition to preparing to answer questions, come with specific questions of your own. Jot some down that are meaningful to you, whether it’s about culture, employee resource groups, mentoring, career progression, etc. 

Pro tip #1: With any interview, always research the company ahead of time. Learn their industry and have a general understanding of their products. See what title they use for their PreSales professionals and use that terminology in the interview. I also always research at least one competitor and identify how they differ (you can also ask this question to the interviewer; it’s always interesting to hear them explain their company’s core differentiators!).

Pro tip #2: Take notes during the interview. Whether it’s on paper or on your phone makes no difference — choose what you can do quickly while still concentrating on the discussion. Note taking is a signature of every strong SC. It not only shows the interviewer you are invested in the conversation, but also alludes to how you’ll actively listen with customers and prospects.

Demo Practice & Preparation

Nearly every PreSales interview will have a demo component in the evaluation process. Early in this process, think about what you want to present (some companies may decide this for you, but many leave it up to the interviewee to decide). This should be something you know well, are comfortable talking about, and ideally, something that genuinely interests you — an emotionless demo is a lackluster one.

I would advise resisting the urge to demo the company’s product, especially if it’s something you have not ever used in an official capacity in the past. In most cases, the demo interview is less about how many obscure details you know about the product, and more about how you relay value, engage the audience, and handle objections. This goes back to your resumé: Confirm that your bullet points communicate value and ensure your interview responses do the same. Instead of saying, “I was responsible for helping reconcile accounts at the end of each month, so I managed five spreadsheets and tracked account billing details using PivotTables,” try, “I helped reduce our month-end closing time by four hours when I discovered that we could use Power Query and PivotTables to refresh and summarize our accounting data.” 

Get comfortable using tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams with which you will likely need to share your screen for presentations. Being comfortable with the camera (hello, video interviews) and switching between tabs and screens will help, especially when the nerves kick in. 

Pro tip: When you are researching a company, be sure to look for any existing product demonstrations on their website or YouTube account. There’s no better way to see what a “good” SC at Company X looks like than watching one of them in action. See if you can incorporate any of their techniques into your demo.

Step 4: Seek out formal training when it makes sense

Not every aspiring Solutions Consultant needs to run out and get a Salesforce or cybersecurity certification on day one of job searching. In fact, I advise against this unless you know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what you want to do and you already possess tangential skills for this industry. Certifications can certainly help if you do not have any technical background but can be costly and time consuming – be sure you have a clear sense of the industry you want to support before investing. 

Instead, I recommend joining the PreSales Collective as soon as possible (I did not know about PSC until I was already hired into my first SC role, but since then it’s proved to be utterly invaluable). Not only does PSC have limitless (and mostly free) resources for learning the tricks of the PreSales trade, but there are designated resources for those looking to break into PreSales. The PreSales Academy offers hands-on, focused prep for landing your first SC role. If you find yourself particularly struggling with demo interviewing, the curriculum of PSA includes lots of practice opportunities. This is a great program with a proven track record of job placements for graduates and can be especially helpful if you want to stay focused or need to deliberately carve out a game plan to get moving into PreSales and out of your existing job. 

About Lyndsey Weber

Lyndsey Weber is a Senior Solutions Consultant at Quantrix. Prior to switching to PreSales, she spent three years leading global teams at ExxonMobil and helping improve processes through adoption of new technology. Lyndsey loves combining her skills in design and art with demoing and technical problem solving, and using these abilities to inspire customers to try new things.

Unlock this content by joining the PreSales Collective with global community with 20,000+ professionals
Read this content here ↗

I Think I Want to Pivot to PreSales. Where Do I Start?

In March of 2020 I couldn’t ignore the itch any longer – I was ready to explore roles outside of oil and gas (O&G), where I could more intentionally pursue my love for technology, influencing innovation, and problem solving. 

When I stumbled upon a job posting on LinkedIn for a Solutions Consultant, I knew I had found the career path for me. Over the next few months, I scanned probably a hundred different PreSales jobs until I was absolutely certain that this was the right move. In December of that year, I accepted a Solutions Consultant role at Quantrix. 

If you find yourself like me in March 2020, pulling a move into “the best job nobody has ever heard of,” it can be overwhelming to figure out how to take that first step. 

I’m sharing an outline of the steps I took in those roughly eight months. A disclaimer: This is not the only way to break into PreSales. My hope is that this list gives you four critical (but attainable) actions that you can get started on today. 

Step 1: Get familiar with PreSales job descriptions

Once I read the first Solutions Consultant job description on LinkedIn, I can honestly say I was hooked. It was so clear to me that this is what I wanted to do. But I’m also an engineer by background, and while I felt the pull of something outside of oil and gas, I truly liked many aspects of my career at ExxonMobil, so I needed to weigh the pros, cons, and risks very carefully.

To do this, I spent at least two full months casually perusing every PreSales, Solutions Consultant, and Solutions Engineering role I could find on LinkedIn (pro tip: set up a job alert to get these updates and new postings sent to your email each week – you can even filter them by location, years of experience, etc. I suggest not limiting your search to only a few key companies or a singular industry – more on that below). 

As you begin exploring these job descriptions, ask yourself these questions:

Do I have a strong industry background that would translate well to the subject matter of this role?

Do I want to move to a completely new industry vertical?

I wasn’t interested, per se, in joining another O&G-focused company, but I wasn’t completely closed off to it either, so I kept my options open. It’s important to also think beyond your list of “top brands;” it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of the big technology companies with massive PreSales organizations, but it’s important not to limit your search this early on in the exploration phase. You can always refine your search later as you hone in on where you can most effectively find your first SC role.

What unique, important skills do I have that would be effective in helping bring perspective to the customers this company works with? 

This is one of the most important mind shifts that helped me. While I had experience with tools like SAP, Power BI, Excel, and JavaScript from ExxonMobil, I realized that experience didn’t necessarily make me a shoo-in for those companies (or companies who sell those products). What did set me apart was my ability to learn software extremely quickly, create and deliver effective, memorable presentations to VP-level stakeholders, and my natural inclination to build analytical models to understand data. 

What requirements of this job do I lack?

This is the other side of the coin to the question above. Remember, you’re pivoting to an all-new role (and possibly a new industry) — you won’t have all the boxes checked, and that’s okay. Apply anyway. But also, be sure to keep a list of recurring job responsibilities that you don’t feel confident that you meet; this is a great opportunity to grow and also tends to be great material for an interview (more on that below).

Step 2: Reimagine your resumé

After you’ve scanned dozens of SC job openings, I promise you’ll begin to see patterns: common responsibilities, things that excite you, and things that intimidate you. Keep a document of all these things and copy and paste them into these three buckets, or categories: 

These three sets of information are the secret sauce to transforming your resumé to one that is effective for PreSales positions. If you are coming from a non-technical or non-sales background, do not fear! While I had a strong technical background, I didn’t have a shred of true sales experience. But, after compiling my notes for the first and second buckets, I knew exactly how to reframe my resumé to show that I would be effective at selling. 

Before you begin reframing your resumé for PreSales, be sure you have an existing one to work from. It should be clean and simple with a list of your jobs, accolades, and accomplishments — the more numbers you have to support those, the better. 

Next, write down the answers to these questions:

How have you helped people both within and outside your company improve a process, try a new idea, or change a technology or product? Have you ever had to influence a decision without actual superiority or authority?

If you’re a teacher, dentist, or even an artist, consider your company or your place of business, and think about who your customers are (students count!).

What do your colleagues, customers, and mentors say about you?

Think specifically about your unique skills and how they would translate to bringing value in a Solutions Consultant role.

How is success defined for PreSales roles (going back to the last section)?

Align your resumé as much as possible to these responsibilities and descriptions — keeping honestly as first priority. A good SC is one who is transparent and doesn’t inflate facts for the sake of a sale (or, ahem, a job). This is your first test: You must learn to sell yourself effectively and accurately before you can sell someone’s product in the same way.

Note: if you are casting a wide net across several industry verticals, you may want to consider creating a few different versions of your PreSales resumé to best reflect your transferable experience. 

Step 3: Start preparing early for interviews and demos

Once your reimagined resumé is print ready, it’s time to apply to those PreSales job postings! There are published statistics that women, in particular, often will not apply to roles unless they meet nearly 100% of the job requirements. Do not let the unchecked boxes keep you from applying if you have experience (from that fresh, new resumé) that can support your capabilities and potential for a given role.

Be patient. It may take some time to get an interview, so don’t be discouraged. It took over a month of applying to PreSales roles before I got my first few calls. Use this waiting period to prepare for introductory calls and interviews so you’re ready when the time comes. 

As you prepare for interviewing for your first PreSales role, consider these tips and steps. 

Interviewing Fundamentals

First, focus on the basics of good interviewing. Refresh on STAR (situation, task, action, result) responses to interview questions. Most PreSales interviews I had consisted of about 70% behavioral questions and only 30% technical or demo-focused. In job interviews and customer presentations, having the ability to answer questions succinctly and effectively is an important skill. Consider your answers to questions like:

  • Have you ever made a presentation to a large, mixed audience?
  • Have you ever had to compile a project justification or make a case to change something or introduce something new?
  • Have you ever had to deal with an unhappy customer or resolve an issue?

Remember, Solutions Consultants do much more than just product demonstrations (as you’ve learned by now from jotting down PreSales job descriptions), so think beyond how you demo a product. Practice interviewing as much as possible, especially if you tend to get nervous or uncomfortable or struggle to succinctly answer questions. Grab a friend, family member, or mentor to help. 

In addition to preparing to answer questions, come with specific questions of your own. Jot some down that are meaningful to you, whether it’s about culture, employee resource groups, mentoring, career progression, etc. 

Pro tip #1: With any interview, always research the company ahead of time. Learn their industry and have a general understanding of their products. See what title they use for their PreSales professionals and use that terminology in the interview. I also always research at least one competitor and identify how they differ (you can also ask this question to the interviewer; it’s always interesting to hear them explain their company’s core differentiators!).

Pro tip #2: Take notes during the interview. Whether it’s on paper or on your phone makes no difference — choose what you can do quickly while still concentrating on the discussion. Note taking is a signature of every strong SC. It not only shows the interviewer you are invested in the conversation, but also alludes to how you’ll actively listen with customers and prospects.

Demo Practice & Preparation

Nearly every PreSales interview will have a demo component in the evaluation process. Early in this process, think about what you want to present (some companies may decide this for you, but many leave it up to the interviewee to decide). This should be something you know well, are comfortable talking about, and ideally, something that genuinely interests you — an emotionless demo is a lackluster one.

I would advise resisting the urge to demo the company’s product, especially if it’s something you have not ever used in an official capacity in the past. In most cases, the demo interview is less about how many obscure details you know about the product, and more about how you relay value, engage the audience, and handle objections. This goes back to your resumé: Confirm that your bullet points communicate value and ensure your interview responses do the same. Instead of saying, “I was responsible for helping reconcile accounts at the end of each month, so I managed five spreadsheets and tracked account billing details using PivotTables,” try, “I helped reduce our month-end closing time by four hours when I discovered that we could use Power Query and PivotTables to refresh and summarize our accounting data.” 

Get comfortable using tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams with which you will likely need to share your screen for presentations. Being comfortable with the camera (hello, video interviews) and switching between tabs and screens will help, especially when the nerves kick in. 

Pro tip: When you are researching a company, be sure to look for any existing product demonstrations on their website or YouTube account. There’s no better way to see what a “good” SC at Company X looks like than watching one of them in action. See if you can incorporate any of their techniques into your demo.

Step 4: Seek out formal training when it makes sense

Not every aspiring Solutions Consultant needs to run out and get a Salesforce or cybersecurity certification on day one of job searching. In fact, I advise against this unless you know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what you want to do and you already possess tangential skills for this industry. Certifications can certainly help if you do not have any technical background but can be costly and time consuming – be sure you have a clear sense of the industry you want to support before investing. 

Instead, I recommend joining the PreSales Collective as soon as possible (I did not know about PSC until I was already hired into my first SC role, but since then it’s proved to be utterly invaluable). Not only does PSC have limitless (and mostly free) resources for learning the tricks of the PreSales trade, but there are designated resources for those looking to break into PreSales. The PreSales Academy offers hands-on, focused prep for landing your first SC role. If you find yourself particularly struggling with demo interviewing, the curriculum of PSA includes lots of practice opportunities. This is a great program with a proven track record of job placements for graduates and can be especially helpful if you want to stay focused or need to deliberately carve out a game plan to get moving into PreSales and out of your existing job. 

About Lyndsey Weber

Lyndsey Weber is a Senior Solutions Consultant at Quantrix. Prior to switching to PreSales, she spent three years leading global teams at ExxonMobil and helping improve processes through adoption of new technology. Lyndsey loves combining her skills in design and art with demoing and technical problem solving, and using these abilities to inspire customers to try new things.

Unlock this content by joining the PreSales Leadership Collective! An exclusive community dedicated to PreSales leaders.
Read this content here ↗

I Think I Want to Pivot to PreSales. Where Do I Start?

In March of 2020 I couldn’t ignore the itch any longer – I was ready to explore roles outside of oil and gas (O&G), where I could more intentionally pursue my love for technology, influencing innovation, and problem solving. 

When I stumbled upon a job posting on LinkedIn for a Solutions Consultant, I knew I had found the career path for me. Over the next few months, I scanned probably a hundred different PreSales jobs until I was absolutely certain that this was the right move. In December of that year, I accepted a Solutions Consultant role at Quantrix. 

If you find yourself like me in March 2020, pulling a move into “the best job nobody has ever heard of,” it can be overwhelming to figure out how to take that first step. 

I’m sharing an outline of the steps I took in those roughly eight months. A disclaimer: This is not the only way to break into PreSales. My hope is that this list gives you four critical (but attainable) actions that you can get started on today. 

Step 1: Get familiar with PreSales job descriptions

Once I read the first Solutions Consultant job description on LinkedIn, I can honestly say I was hooked. It was so clear to me that this is what I wanted to do. But I’m also an engineer by background, and while I felt the pull of something outside of oil and gas, I truly liked many aspects of my career at ExxonMobil, so I needed to weigh the pros, cons, and risks very carefully.

To do this, I spent at least two full months casually perusing every PreSales, Solutions Consultant, and Solutions Engineering role I could find on LinkedIn (pro tip: set up a job alert to get these updates and new postings sent to your email each week – you can even filter them by location, years of experience, etc. I suggest not limiting your search to only a few key companies or a singular industry – more on that below). 

As you begin exploring these job descriptions, ask yourself these questions:

Do I have a strong industry background that would translate well to the subject matter of this role?

Do I want to move to a completely new industry vertical?

I wasn’t interested, per se, in joining another O&G-focused company, but I wasn’t completely closed off to it either, so I kept my options open. It’s important to also think beyond your list of “top brands;” it’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of the big technology companies with massive PreSales organizations, but it’s important not to limit your search this early on in the exploration phase. You can always refine your search later as you hone in on where you can most effectively find your first SC role.

What unique, important skills do I have that would be effective in helping bring perspective to the customers this company works with? 

This is one of the most important mind shifts that helped me. While I had experience with tools like SAP, Power BI, Excel, and JavaScript from ExxonMobil, I realized that experience didn’t necessarily make me a shoo-in for those companies (or companies who sell those products). What did set me apart was my ability to learn software extremely quickly, create and deliver effective, memorable presentations to VP-level stakeholders, and my natural inclination to build analytical models to understand data. 

What requirements of this job do I lack?

This is the other side of the coin to the question above. Remember, you’re pivoting to an all-new role (and possibly a new industry) — you won’t have all the boxes checked, and that’s okay. Apply anyway. But also, be sure to keep a list of recurring job responsibilities that you don’t feel confident that you meet; this is a great opportunity to grow and also tends to be great material for an interview (more on that below).

Step 2: Reimagine your resumé

After you’ve scanned dozens of SC job openings, I promise you’ll begin to see patterns: common responsibilities, things that excite you, and things that intimidate you. Keep a document of all these things and copy and paste them into these three buckets, or categories: 

These three sets of information are the secret sauce to transforming your resumé to one that is effective for PreSales positions. If you are coming from a non-technical or non-sales background, do not fear! While I had a strong technical background, I didn’t have a shred of true sales experience. But, after compiling my notes for the first and second buckets, I knew exactly how to reframe my resumé to show that I would be effective at selling. 

Before you begin reframing your resumé for PreSales, be sure you have an existing one to work from. It should be clean and simple with a list of your jobs, accolades, and accomplishments — the more numbers you have to support those, the better. 

Next, write down the answers to these questions:

How have you helped people both within and outside your company improve a process, try a new idea, or change a technology or product? Have you ever had to influence a decision without actual superiority or authority?

If you’re a teacher, dentist, or even an artist, consider your company or your place of business, and think about who your customers are (students count!).

What do your colleagues, customers, and mentors say about you?

Think specifically about your unique skills and how they would translate to bringing value in a Solutions Consultant role.

How is success defined for PreSales roles (going back to the last section)?

Align your resumé as much as possible to these responsibilities and descriptions — keeping honestly as first priority. A good SC is one who is transparent and doesn’t inflate facts for the sake of a sale (or, ahem, a job). This is your first test: You must learn to sell yourself effectively and accurately before you can sell someone’s product in the same way.

Note: if you are casting a wide net across several industry verticals, you may want to consider creating a few different versions of your PreSales resumé to best reflect your transferable experience. 

Step 3: Start preparing early for interviews and demos

Once your reimagined resumé is print ready, it’s time to apply to those PreSales job postings! There are published statistics that women, in particular, often will not apply to roles unless they meet nearly 100% of the job requirements. Do not let the unchecked boxes keep you from applying if you have experience (from that fresh, new resumé) that can support your capabilities and potential for a given role.

Be patient. It may take some time to get an interview, so don’t be discouraged. It took over a month of applying to PreSales roles before I got my first few calls. Use this waiting period to prepare for introductory calls and interviews so you’re ready when the time comes. 

As you prepare for interviewing for your first PreSales role, consider these tips and steps. 

Interviewing Fundamentals

First, focus on the basics of good interviewing. Refresh on STAR (situation, task, action, result) responses to interview questions. Most PreSales interviews I had consisted of about 70% behavioral questions and only 30% technical or demo-focused. In job interviews and customer presentations, having the ability to answer questions succinctly and effectively is an important skill. Consider your answers to questions like:

  • Have you ever made a presentation to a large, mixed audience?
  • Have you ever had to compile a project justification or make a case to change something or introduce something new?
  • Have you ever had to deal with an unhappy customer or resolve an issue?

Remember, Solutions Consultants do much more than just product demonstrations (as you’ve learned by now from jotting down PreSales job descriptions), so think beyond how you demo a product. Practice interviewing as much as possible, especially if you tend to get nervous or uncomfortable or struggle to succinctly answer questions. Grab a friend, family member, or mentor to help. 

In addition to preparing to answer questions, come with specific questions of your own. Jot some down that are meaningful to you, whether it’s about culture, employee resource groups, mentoring, career progression, etc. 

Pro tip #1: With any interview, always research the company ahead of time. Learn their industry and have a general understanding of their products. See what title they use for their PreSales professionals and use that terminology in the interview. I also always research at least one competitor and identify how they differ (you can also ask this question to the interviewer; it’s always interesting to hear them explain their company’s core differentiators!).

Pro tip #2: Take notes during the interview. Whether it’s on paper or on your phone makes no difference — choose what you can do quickly while still concentrating on the discussion. Note taking is a signature of every strong SC. It not only shows the interviewer you are invested in the conversation, but also alludes to how you’ll actively listen with customers and prospects.

Demo Practice & Preparation

Nearly every PreSales interview will have a demo component in the evaluation process. Early in this process, think about what you want to present (some companies may decide this for you, but many leave it up to the interviewee to decide). This should be something you know well, are comfortable talking about, and ideally, something that genuinely interests you — an emotionless demo is a lackluster one.

I would advise resisting the urge to demo the company’s product, especially if it’s something you have not ever used in an official capacity in the past. In most cases, the demo interview is less about how many obscure details you know about the product, and more about how you relay value, engage the audience, and handle objections. This goes back to your resumé: Confirm that your bullet points communicate value and ensure your interview responses do the same. Instead of saying, “I was responsible for helping reconcile accounts at the end of each month, so I managed five spreadsheets and tracked account billing details using PivotTables,” try, “I helped reduce our month-end closing time by four hours when I discovered that we could use Power Query and PivotTables to refresh and summarize our accounting data.” 

Get comfortable using tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams with which you will likely need to share your screen for presentations. Being comfortable with the camera (hello, video interviews) and switching between tabs and screens will help, especially when the nerves kick in. 

Pro tip: When you are researching a company, be sure to look for any existing product demonstrations on their website or YouTube account. There’s no better way to see what a “good” SC at Company X looks like than watching one of them in action. See if you can incorporate any of their techniques into your demo.

Step 4: Seek out formal training when it makes sense

Not every aspiring Solutions Consultant needs to run out and get a Salesforce or cybersecurity certification on day one of job searching. In fact, I advise against this unless you know without a shadow of a doubt that this is what you want to do and you already possess tangential skills for this industry. Certifications can certainly help if you do not have any technical background but can be costly and time consuming – be sure you have a clear sense of the industry you want to support before investing. 

Instead, I recommend joining the PreSales Collective as soon as possible (I did not know about PSC until I was already hired into my first SC role, but since then it’s proved to be utterly invaluable). Not only does PSC have limitless (and mostly free) resources for learning the tricks of the PreSales trade, but there are designated resources for those looking to break into PreSales. The PreSales Academy offers hands-on, focused prep for landing your first SC role. If you find yourself particularly struggling with demo interviewing, the curriculum of PSA includes lots of practice opportunities. This is a great program with a proven track record of job placements for graduates and can be especially helpful if you want to stay focused or need to deliberately carve out a game plan to get moving into PreSales and out of your existing job. 

About Lyndsey Weber

Lyndsey Weber is a Senior Solutions Consultant at Quantrix. Prior to switching to PreSales, she spent three years leading global teams at ExxonMobil and helping improve processes through adoption of new technology. Lyndsey loves combining her skills in design and art with demoing and technical problem solving, and using these abilities to inspire customers to try new things.

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