• Elisa Sheftic

So you're interested in fintech sales but you have no industry experience?


Here's how to increase your odds of getting an interview...


These days, it seems as though many sales professionals are trying to transition into a fintech sales role. We see many applicants applying to our fintech sales job postings that have backgrounds in investment product sales, research sales, sales trading, etc. – fields that are somewhat related or in the neighborhood, but not actually fintech. With fintech being such a buzzword now, I thought I would share some insights to increase your odds of having a hiring manager or recruiter consider you for an interview.


Make your transition clear

Your resume should indicate in the executive summary that you are specifically seeking a transition into fintech sales. If you send a resume without noting this, it appears that you are sending a generic resume without intent to focus on a specific industry or product. The applicant who has done the research and made an educated decision to focus on that specific industry will be viewed more positively than other resumes that don't mention it at all. Additionally, you want to make sure your resume shows the keywords financial technology (fintech), so it can make it past the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).


Tell the story -- why fintech?

We receive many resumes that correctly mention their intent to transition into fintech sales, but based on their experience and education, there is no story evident as to why this choice was made. Your desire to join a growing, innovative tech field is admirable, but not sufficient. Have you been proactively furthering your knowledge about the industry?


The key is to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals, to know how fintech is commonly being used in various financial services and how it is developing in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, and other directions. There are online courses on fintech sales that you can complete and show on your resume. You might try Coursera.org, where many courses from top universities can be taken online. Harvard, Penn, Cornell, and others also offer more in-depth online courses, but they can be expensive. There are also plenty of fintech webinars and conferences (hopefully in-person conferences can return in the fall, post-Covid), and these can boost your resume and also provide you with great networking opportunities. This is the case for senior positions as well.


Lastly, reach out to alumni from your college who are working in fintech environments and see if they would be willing to chat with you about their insights on the industry, software, solutions, job search suggestions etc. Many people are open to this kind of conversation with an alum and even more so now that everyone is working from home post-Covid.


Quantified sales achievements: Track record/Quota history

Some companies and hiring managers are open to candidates from peripheral industries if they have a strong quota track record. Some aren't. But increase your chances of an interview by including a Sales Achievements section on your resume where you quantify your record. The proof is in the numbers.


 For example, bullet points like these:


- Exceeded sales quota by 150% on average from 2015-2019

- Consistent Top Producer with a track record of sales success. Structured, negotiated and closed $300M+ in recurring revenue contracts for ABC Corp. from 2005-2019.

- Among the top 10% in total contract value sold each year at ABC Corp.

- Expert Relationship Builder and Team Leader who successfully partnered with 10 different brokerage firms to design and negotiate solutions, each deal generating revenue of over $1M/year.

- Recognized High-Performing Sales Closer, achieving prestigious ABC Achievers’ Club 6 of 8 years, exceeding quota by 110% on average.

- Earned Chairman’s Club (Top 10%) in 6 of 7 years.

- Brought in x new clients from 2018-2019 with deals valued at x.

- Extensive network with C-level executives in the hedge fund and private equity industry (buyside).

-Built RFP pipeline of x in 2019.


Core competency section a must

 This should be under the Achievements section of your resume and include some shared core competencies which span multiple industries:


 For example:

-Driving B2B Revenue

-Quota Outperformance

-Account Management Growth

-Consultative Selling / Sales

-Prospecting

-Cold-Calling

-Networking

-Closing/Negotiations

-C-Level Relationships


Review job descriptions of roles that interest you

 It is important to review job descriptions that interest you and note keywords that should be on your resume. For example, if the job description mentions selling into RIAsas a core requirement and this is experience you have, albeit with a different type of product, make sure Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are front and center on your resume.


Identify target companies

 You probably already have some companies in mind where you would like to work. From there, do some research to widen your list. For example, you can start with:

 Forbes fintech 50: (https://www.forbes.com/fintech/2020/#1fa13bec4acd), https://www.businessinsider.com/fintech-companies-startups

Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/fintech-companies-startups

 You can also set up targeted alerts on job boards for a steady stream of fintech openings, and you will get a sense of who is hiring and connect with employees on Linkedin.


Practice your response

You will be asked ‘Why fintech?’ when networking and, of course, in an interview. Be ready to answer. Some of your responses may include elaborating on the following:


 - The innovative ways companies are leveraging technology to deliver a wide spectrum of financial products and services.

- Growth potential professionally and financially

- Opportunities to be consultative in the sales process and offer real solutions to client problems and challenges

- Positive reviews by contacts you have spoken to in the industry or at a particular company

- Courses you have taken and the conferences you have attended to further your knowledge and network


In closing, the above strategies will increase your odds of getting an interview, but preparation, tenacity, and persistence will ultimately get you there. 


About the Author:


Ms. Sheftic is currently the President and Managing Partner of Right Executive Search, LLC. Her main area of expertise is actively sourcing and placing mid to C-level professionals in the Financial Services, Fintech, and Professional Services industries. She is also responsible for all aspects of sourcing strategy development, client service, operations, and administration.

Prior to starting her own firm, Elisa was a Partner and Senior Managing Director for The Patton Group LLC, a national search organization, where she managed the New York/New Jersey office. Previously, she was employed with R&L Solutions, a boutique Executive Search firm in the Tri-State area. Additional experience includes Associate Director positions at Quellos (Blackrock) and Bear Stearns as well as tenures in the Private Client divisions at Salomon Brothers and Morgan Stanley.


She received her BA from Rutgers University and received her MBA from New York University's Leonard N. Stern School of Business, with a concentration in Finance/Marketing, in 1995. Additionally, Elisa completed post-graduate studies in Human Resources at Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

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