Red Flags

8 red flags for avoiding nightmare sales jobs

Just as companies are looking to hire the top candidates, you want to make sure the company you’re applying to meets your expectations. This is particularly important for sales positions where good company structure & processes are crucial to you meeting your bottomline. So what are the red flags you should look out for when prospecting for a sales role?

Need not apply if…

1. They offer commission only roles

Commission only roles, especially at entry level should set alarm bells ringing. No one should be expected to work for nothing. Research the industry standard for base in your industry and use that as a starting point when identifying opportunities.

According to a 2016 report compiled by the Bridge Group, the average SDR should be looking at a base of $46k with on-target earnings of $72.1k and a base/variable percentage of 64%/36%.

2. They don’t provide training

Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned pro or a relative rookie in the sales game, basic product/tech training should be provided as standard. If only to ensure that you know the product well enough to make the sale. It takes on average 3.3 months to get an SDR from hire up to full productivity.

What’s more, there really is no such thing as ‘bad training’, you should always learn something. If the trainer is good, it will be valuable because you will learn what to do. If the trainer is bad, it will be valuable because you will learn what not to do.

r4ed flags

If during the interview…

3. They avoid the specifics on pay & earning potential

Two fairly straight-forward questions: what’s the base & what does the commission structure look like? If they don’t address these two vital points either on the job spec or during the interview at some point, that’s a flashing amber at the very least.

Further, when discussing salary, make sure you’re getting the full picture of the potential earnings for your specific role. If the interviewer, is only referring to the top 10% of reps when discussing salary & benefits, then the fear is the other guys (future you) aren’t making enough worth shouting about. 

4. They don’t ask questions

If the interviewer appears more keen on highlighting the benefits of the job to you, than actually engaging and asking about your credentials.. That’s a red flag. Begs the question, who’s hiring who here?

Red Flags

So you’ve bitten the proverbial bullet and taken the job. Congrats! Here’s just a final few warning signals to get out… while you can.

Internal red flags…

5. High staff turnover

True, sales roles often have a high turnover. In fact, it’s estimated the average lifespan of an SDR is around 1.4 years, after which time they’ll generally be looking to move on. That said, if a company has an above average staff turnover, this can be grounds for concern. Check company reviews on, to pinpoint any major grievances. (Bearing in mind a high proportion of these reviews may come from disgruntled past employees).

6. No CRM or internal database system

It’s the 21st century, if the company is still working from excel sheets that should be ringing some serious alarm bells. How do they manage follow-ups? Are they following-up? What does their onboarding funnel look like? This information shouldn’t be difficult to find… if it is…problem.

7. Micromanagement

If there are good structures and systems in place, there should be no need for managers to micromanage their reps. Excessive involvement from top level management in the day-to-day, could be evidence of mistrust, which will have an impact on morale and productivity in the long-term.

8. Shady sales strategies

The days of the underhanded, ‘always be closing’, sales approaches are long since past. Any good salesperson knows that in order to convert a lead to a long-term, loyal customer, they actually have to want the product you’re selling. If your manager encourages you to make the sale by any and all means, including misleading the buyer… we’ll that’s on your conscience.

red flags

Our best advice? If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. And you’ll sense this too so go with your gut. Similarly, if you’re getting good vibes & the company seems like the perfect fit, with your only reservation being rewards… why not give it a try? Use the first couple of months to build your knowledge & skill, then prove your worth and use this as leverage for negotiating rates thereafter!

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