How do I nail an interview process for a role Iโ€™m under-qualified for?

A recruiter reached out to me for a role that's way out of my league.
I've been doing mid market SaaS for 2 years, SMB for 2 years prior to that. Average deal size about 50k selling to companies between 500-5000 employees.
The role I just got headhunted for requires 3 years of enterprise experience with managing deals with an ACV of 500k. Base 125k-140k, OTE about 280k.
I have a first screening with the recruiter next Monday and I would absolutely love to nail this interview because it's my dream to step up into this type of enterprise role, but I feel like once she hears my experience she's going to discard me.
The only two positive aspects are that a) it's close to the persona I've been selling into in my previous role (HR/Workplace Experience), and b) it's an EMEA-wide position which is what I've been doing throughout my entire sales career.
Do you think this is just a pipe dream or is there anyway I can have a real shot at winning this?
๐Ÿง  Advice
๐Ÿ—ฃ Interviewing
โ˜๏ธ Software Tech
16
lowhangersalesbanger
Executive
8
Director of Sales
They are interviewing you which means you have already impressed somebody enough that they are talking to you. It is probably still a long shot but highlight the experience you do have and lean in to the fact you are underqualified. Everyone doing that job has been underqualified until they had that job. Just own it and be confident.
detectivegibbles
Politicker
6
Sales Director
Come prepared to the interview with a 90 day plan if hired. "Based on the job description, I highlighted what my goals and strategic initiative would be for the first 90 days."

Since you have an idea of the persona, I'm sure you could curate a list of strategically targeted accounts.

Use the "inexperience" as a positive in that you're extremely teachable and able to learn from leadership how to best sell their products.

Be sure to curate a list of questions for the interviewer. Many people don't do this and it's lazy. You should be digging into what their biggest issues are, what the 1-5 year goals are, find videos on speaking engagements recently from the CEO/C-level executives.

Good luck!
HVACexpert
Politicker
2
sales engineer
This! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป. Come in with data on past performance as well, especially if you have exceeded expectations. They will gush over a well thought out business plan and specific questions. Make sure to research the company as much as possible to talk intelligently.
CuriousFox
WR Officer
1
๐ŸฆŠ
Gibbles got that medical sales experience- trust him ๐Ÿ’ฏ
0
Sales and Growth Consultant - Advisor - Mentor
I wouldn't do that for the recruiter but assume EVERY job wants a 90-day plan...if you need a template, I have built and reviewed many.
oldcloser
Arsonist
5
๐Ÿ’€
You've been recruited on purpose. There is something in your background that adds up for them. Find out what it is and leverage it to the gills. Make yourself the only candidate who can offer such a uniquely tailored bucket of experience.
WheelofCheese
Opinionated
3
Sales Executive
First, if you know who the company is.. do your research! Then during your interview, you may want to explain why this role and company interest you based on that research. I would also be prepared to highlight your accomplishments thus far (in your current role) and why you believe you might be a good fit. It also isn't a bad idea to ask them what they are looking for in a candidate. You'll glean a lot from their response-- be it positive or negative. Hopefully this recruiter isn't just throwing spaghetti at the wall and wasting your time. That said, just be confident in your capabilities and ask good questions. Finally, don't forget to "close the sale" with them if you like how the conversation went (Something like: "Based on our discussion so far, it sounds as though you'd like to continue the conversation with me. Am I correct in that assumption?") This is a sales role after all. If all goes well, send a thank you note/email (next day is a good idea). Good luck!
CPTAmerica
Opinionated
2
President/CRO
If it were me I'd tackle the possible objection head on, first thing.
After the pleasantries and the interview begins I would go with something like this "Hey, before we get started could I run a concern by you?" Wait for them to answer, probably an enthusiastic "Yes, of course". Then you go "Listen I've worked in this market, product, industry, etc. for X years and I'm very confident in my ability. However, I see you're requiring 3 years of ent. experience which I obviously don't have yet. I'd hate for both of us to go through this process only to find out at the end that I can't receive and offer because I didn't tick that box." Now stop talking and see how they respond. If they're serious the interviewer will start telling YOU why they think you might be a good fit for the role or at the very least confirm whether or not the requirement matters.

A lot of psychology at play in going that route and it's the exact same technique I would use in a complex sale where I know there's a major roadblock coming but not yet discussed. If I was interviewing an AE and they came with this approach they might get the job on the spot.

Not for everyone but that's what I'd do.
Sunbunny31
Politicker
1
Sr Sales Executive ๐Ÿฐ
I wouldn't call those your "only two positive aspects". Those might be absolutely critical aspects, and might be why they reached out. Hone in on what's key for them in the role, and how you can meet those standards.

The differences between SMB & MM compared to Enterprise isn't just the deal size - it includes being able to multithread, talk to all the personas involved in the decision, and understanding what's important to each role. If you're doing something similar today, be prepared to bring that up.

If it does come up that you don't have the experience they're looking for, I'd ask why they reached out to you. There's got to be a reason why they headhunted you - what is it?

Finally, go in with some confidence. If this is the role you've been working toward, great! Someone thinks you may be ready to have that role - prove them right.
Maximas
Tycoon
1
Senior Sales Executive
You got a 2 years experience doing the same role,only difference I can see is mainly the deals size and anyways do you think that all the other employees working there already were having an Enterprise experience at the first time they joined,don't think so!
You may even have better skills and experience more than they do at the first time they started and I do think if you weren't a good fit in the first place you would have never been contacted.
Give it a shot and go get it,you can do it bud!
RelationshipMaker
Opinionated
0
Head of Sales
Rehearse! Get someone to ask the questions you've mentioned above and be confident. Act as if the role is already yours and speak with authority.
Good luck.
0
Sales and Growth Consultant - Advisor - Mentor
I agree with Lowhangersalesbanger. I went from selling spray on wax in a gas station parking lot in 2008 to AE at an adtech start-up. Every move up from there I wasn't qualified for and definitely got massive raises for every move I made. Why? I didn't give them a reason not to...now I am looking at CRO roles. Am I qualified? Absolutely...

Confidence is everything. Talk about your wins and losses. Run at the negative as Chris Voss says. I know I don't fit the description but here is how I crushed the last 4 years and here is how I think I am qualified to fill the role and grow with CompanyX.

!!!!Don't forget the best interview close question in the world!!!!

Do you have any concerns about moving me forward with the position?
0
Division Sales Manager
Use a process: Over-prepare.

I learned from a sales pro and train on a specific process that is marketed by Tom Freese, called Question Based Selling. Tom deserves the credit and our company paid for his copyrights to continue training now that he is retired. His process for uncovering customer issues and implications can be applied to interviewing.

Take the bulleted job description, qualifications, and/or eligibility requirements and do this: by bullet, think of as many "one word" or two-word things that come to mind and write them down as an issue. 10 times 10 bullet items.

Then take the 10 issues, 1 by 1 and think of the next 7-10 implications (problem under the surface) that come from it.

Now you have at least 100 ideas to discuss at the top of your mind during an interview. You feel overly prepared, which brings confidence, and you will significantly increase your probability of winning the role.

You can win because of your volume of ideas, and depth of conversation!

Review them before in-person interview, or keep the notes handy to reference if you are virtual. Blessings fellow Spartan!
0
Enterprise Account Executive
Also focus on sales process, steps to close, etc. Steps to close for companies in the 500-5000 employee range can often require a similar sales process as a 500k deal - especially if it is with the same size customer. The value might require some additional signature approvals but you can bake that into the steps to close. Maybe show an example of a recent 50k deal that was a complex sale to a 5000 employee company.
0
Regional Vice President
Donโ€™t be afraid to address the elephant in the room- you can state- I may not have the exact experience, but I do have the grit and determination and a plan to execute. Then be prepared to outline your plan.
also, call out the differences in how you run MM versus SMB and how you would apply that to the next shift to Enterprise.
0
Account Executive
You are NOT UNDERQUALIFIED. You're ready to move up to this level, and it's where you want to go.

Instead of focusing on why you don't match their job description, list out all the reasons you're a great fit, and believe it yourself. What you've listed here already is a great start.

If you can get to that place, then you can convince others to believe in you also. It will be a great experience to interview for the role you really want!
4

Heap AE Interview

Question
8
15

AE Interview Question: โ€œYouโ€™ve proven that youโ€™re able to manage 3 month sales cyclesโ€ฆ How do you plan to manage longer (6-12 month) cycles in this new role?โ€

Question
17
10

Final Stage Interview for SDR Leadership role - Presentation & Meet the Team

Advice
11