Military veteran Albert Villaviza was tired of working in commission-based sales and wanted more financial security to support his wife and four young children. Albert came across Prehired’s software sales bootcamp on Facebook, and found the job guarantee “irresistible.” He tells us about working through the online program, getting help and support from Prehired mentors and other students, and how he landed a job a week after graduating as a Sales Development Representative at multinational telecommunications company GTT!
What are your educational background and last career path before Prehired?
I was in the military for seven years, then I studied business at college and transitioned into digital marketing. I was in a business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing job, working on commission for a really small company. It was more like a trial process and I learned a lot about creating funnels and the sales process. However, it was all strictly based on commission, and I had to pretty much work remotely all on my own.
Why did you want to change career paths and get into software sales?
As a digital marketer, I was hanging out on Facebook, because that’s where my customers hang out. I was targeted with a Prehired advertisement there, so I looked into it because they did a good job of targeting me. I had no idea there was this whole world of business-to-business (B2B), and SAAS (software as a service) sales, specifically, sparked my interest.
What made you choose Prehired as a way to upskill?
I didn’t do much outside research. I followed Prehired’s onboarding funnel and liked how it was set up. I thought their offer was irresistible. They guarantee you get a job offer for at least $60,000 within 90 days, but some people in the program had results as early as 6 weeks.
So I spoke to David Stewart, one of their Admissions Advisors, who explained the process really well. He told me about his own experience with Prehired. He had no sales experience since he was a Christian pastor, yet he learned through the program. He was able to explain how the program worked and what SAAS was. I thought if a pastor like David could be successful with this program, then I definitely could be.
What was the learning experience like at the software sales bootcamp?
Everything is done online, through video-based modules. They also assign you a mentor, who immediately contacts you so you can get acclimated and ask any initial questions. Throughout the course, you have to learn and demonstrate that you understand the modules by sending in videos and completing certain tasks, such as how to do outreach to a target audience using tools regularly used by SAAS sales people.
I learned how to use CRM calendar tools, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, lead gen tools, lead nurture tools, video creation tools, and Gmail suite, among other software. I learned how to speak on the phone, including how to do sales calls and sales meetings in a smart way. I also learned how to create branding videos and put everything together into a step-by-step workflow. Once my Prehired Mentor approved my email sequence, I launched it to potential hiring managers with the aim of landing an interview and eventually getting hired.
How often did you interact with instructors and other students?
Initially I didn’t because I understood a lot of what they were teaching already, but towards the end, when I was about to submit my work for certification, I was able to reach my mentor often. I was also able to reach out to other members and students in our Slack community easily. The people in the group helped me with information on how their job interviews went, what was expected for the alumni, what is expected when you’re already on sales floor, the interview process, what interview questions were common, and how to answer them.
What is your favorite project or assignment that you worked on at Prehired?
I have plenty! I think my favorite was using this tool called InterSeller to launch my email sequences. But I also liked creating my brand video and doing my sales meeting demonstration.
Since this is a remote (online) program, how did you stay on track and focused? How long did it take you to finish the course?
The whole program took me the maximum time because I over-analyzed everything. It took me 6 weeks to finish and get certified, then it took me 7 days including the weekend to get my job offer and get hired. They definitely give you plenty of time to accomplish the tasks and submit your work. I spent less than an hour a day completing my tasks or preparing for my next task, probably 4 days out of the week.
It was not super intense because, in my existing job as a digital marketer, I was already using a lot of the skills I was learning at Prehired. The only thing that was different is, at that time, I was reaching out to the restaurant owner niche for my marketing work, rather than contacting SAAS sales managers. So it was a smooth transition.
How did Prehired prepare you for job hunting? What sort of guidance and support did they provide?
I got all the guidance I needed. I had a number of potential offers, and I could schedule time with my mentor for him to let me know if the company was demanding too much based on current standards, or if the offer was fair or not fair. Now I still get support from my mentor and the Prehired community via Slack, even though I'm already working. I’ll get that support for life.
The only challenge I had was all in my head. For example, I wasn’t confident about the design of my resume. But, when I started my job outreach, nobody even looked at my resume! I was getting all these interviews, and then afterwards they said, “By the way, send us your resume.”
Congratulations on your new job! Can you tell me about the job hunt process, and how you landed the job?
The reason my outreach was so successful was because I was bypassing every recruiter and speaking straight to the hiring manager or sales manager for a job, and then they would immediately schedule me for an interview. It worked so well, the company that hired me used my email template as a case study for how email should be written when you’re reaching out to your prospects!
Tell me about your job! What does the company do and what’s your role?
The company is called GTT Communications. We’re a cloud and network service provider. We specialize in cloud enablement voice over IP (VOIP) data security, and anything that’s a scalable network solution. We’re a global company, in the top 3 in the big telecommunications space. We run and operate a tier 1 internet service provider globally.
My title is Sales Development Representative. I prospect enterprise-level companies and speak to decision makers to inform them about our products. I set up appointments for my Account Director, who does presentations on how our company can provide value and solve clients’ challenges and needs. We connect people across different organizations anywhere in the world through phone and internet.
Are you using the skills you learned at Prehired or have you had to learn some new skills on the job?
I’ve had to learn new technologies, yes, but I’ve also used every single thing Prehired taught me. The industry I’m in now is really old technology that’s breaking into new tech, so a lot of the things we’re doing here revolve around calling prospects, versus what I was doing in my former role – creating ads online, doing organic strategies, and organic growth on social media.
How are you enjoying your new job? Was Prehired worth it for you in terms of return on investment?
In my new job at this current company, I see the growth potential, and I’ve definitely met some goals already. I still have access to Prehired’s community – I can always ask questions and pretty much mastermind best practices because I can reach out to other alumni for valuable insights and mentorship.
I’m a father of four children and my wife doesn’t work, so I’m thankful I now get paid a base salary and commissions, giving me the benefits of both worlds. It benefits my family because of the financial security. I also get to schedule my time more favorably. My old job was commission-based and very customer centric, so I was working all the time. Now I’m working a more fixed schedule of 8am to 5pm, 8pm to 4pm, or 7am to 4pm, so I’m at work while my kids are at school, then I see them when I get home.
What role has Prehired played in your success? Do you think you could have got a job like this eventually through self-study?
Yes, but it would have been very difficult. I would definitely say Prehired has not only expedited my journey, but has equipped me for the role – I believe I was trained more, and in more cutting-edge technologies, at Prehired than in my actual job. The team at GTT is brand new, and my manager is brand new – she comes from the old world of picking up the phone and calling people, so she’s not used to the outreach funnels.
What advice do you have for people making a career change through an intensive online bootcamp?
Prehired takes the risk out of everything by offering its job guarantee. If I, a combat veteran and father with four young children and a wife who doesn’t work, can do it, I think any person who wants a position in SAAS sales can do it (and be on track to make six figures within a few years). A lot of companies are hiring because there’s a great demand for sales people who understand what emerging SAAS companies need. That’s not going to go away because the whole world is shifting to software.
Prehired and their support are just incredible, and their community is invaluable.