Philip Jansen worked in Real Estate and ministry for several years in Nashville; but after the adoption of his son, he wanted to future-proof his career by breaking into the tech industry. Philip chose to switch careers into software sales with the help of online Sales Bootcamp preHIRED. See how the preHIRED job guarantee worked, what he did to land a Sales Development Representative role at Outreach.io, and why Philip believes there’s “a lot of faith and humility involved when switching careers.”
What led you to change careers and attend a Sales Bootcamp like preHIRED?
I wanted to do better for my family and our future. I had been in ministry for several years and my income was strapped. I was a staff pastor at our local church and participated in missions work. So I did not generate a ton of income for my family at that time, even though we understood that was part of the sacrifice in the life of ministry.
My wife and I loved working in the church, but when our son came along, things began to change. I switched jobs and worked at a real estate company. I had been involved in Nashville real estate for several years doing fix-and-flips, personal investments, and admin work, so it was an industry I knew very well; I could just show up and get to work. But, I was still not making enough to support my family. I drove for Uber and delivered for Uber Eats four or five nights a week just to make it. I considered doing real estate sales, but I had questions about how the real estate vertical could be impacted by new and emerging technologies like Zillow, Redfin, and OpenDoor. I didn’t have a lot of confidence about building a business in an industry that I believed was due for disruption.
I started thinking, “What’s an industry that’s not going anywhere? What are we becoming more dependent on as a society?” – and the answer is the internet, software, and artificial intelligence! I started my research and pulled the trigger pretty quickly.
A lot of people attend bootcamps to become a web developer – how did you know that you were suited for a software sales career?
I did a lot of introspection, soul-searching, and personality tests to figure out my next steps. I started listening to some new voices via audiobooks and podcasts while I was delivering food. I’m a high communicator – I am the ‘I’ on the DISC profile which is well suited for people in sales. I also don’t type as fast as a developer should type, and I did not want to sit behind a computer coding all day. I was a communications major in college, I enjoy talking with people, I’m good at public speaking, and I’m confident talking on the phone – sales was a no-brainer for me.
Did you research other bootcamps or college courses? Why did you choose preHIRED?
I was researching online about software and software sales when a preHIRED advertisement about making six figures selling software appeared. I’ve taken different webinar classes in the past where you pay a few hundred bucks, and then you turn your knowledge into a stream of income. I know that those types of programs work for me as long as I follow what it tells me to follow – so I enrolled.
What was the application and interview process like for you?
I applied online and then had a phone interview. It was a 30-minute call and after they heard my story, the preHIRED team felt like I was a good candidate for the bootcamp.
PreHIRED is online – did you work with other students during the course?
There’s a launch date where students start at the same time on different courses, but when I took the course, there was no online interaction with other students. If I needed some help from Josh, the Founder and CEO, or other preHIRED staff, I had the opportunity to reach out via email or online chat. But I rarely sought help because the course material was pretty self explanatory.
What was the sales learning experience like at preHIRED — tell me about the curriculum, a typical day and the teaching style?
It’s a fully online course that you work through at your own pace, but I was putting in about 4 hours a day. It involves reading materials, watching videos, and completing assignments. There was no live teaching. The program includes detailed overviews of many of the major CRM software tools such as Salesforce and Hubspot, as well as exciting sales engagement platforms like Outreach. That’s where I was introduced to the potential at Outreach.io.
I was working at the real estate office when I first enrolled in preHIRED, and a few days later, I decided to go all in, so I put in my 2-week notice and started implementing the course material full-time. I had completed it in about 3 weeks.
Was the curriculum project-based? Did you do any real-world Sales projects?
The main project, or goal, of the entire program, is to teach you how to initiate a sales cycle to land a job as an SDR. So preHIRED shows you how to position yourself as an attractive hire, they teach you the major tools that you’re going to be using, and then they focus most of the instruction on how to prospect and follow up with hiring managers. Then it’s up to the student put in the work and trust the process.
How did the PreHIRED job guarantee work for you? When did you start looking for a job?
preHIRED’s job guarantee is tied to your ability to find a job. The whole course is geared toward landing a job with a software company as a Sales Development Representative (SDR). preHIRED teaches you how to use software to prospect into companies to land a job on a company’s sales team. Part of the final project requires you show the skills that you’ve been taught, by showing evidence of your research, interviews, and landing a job in sales – and that’s how you receive your certification.
How did PreHIRED prepare you for that job hunt?
preHIRED prepares you in advance. There’s a lot of content in the curriculum about what to expect in the interview, types of questions you’ll be asked, software languages, and terms you’ll need to know. I had never heard of 95% of the software being used in the course. Yet, when I started getting job interviews, preHIRED helped prepare me with the appropriate sales knowledge and lingo. I was fielding software sales interview requests during my last days of work in the real estate office. Fortunately, I was hired at Outreach about 10 days after my last day on the job.
Tell us about your new sales job at Outreach!
The program worked really well for me. Because I had quit my job in real estate, I was all in, and there was no plan B. I received 3 job offers, and they were all really great opportunities. Based on where the company is heading and their reputation, I held out for an offer from Outreach as a Sales Development Representative (SDR). In short, Outreach is a sales engagement platform that optimizes the reps’ sales process and allows them to power through outreach and follow-up activities at three times the speed.
We essentially solve 3 major pain points sales teams have:
Two weeks after getting the offer, I moved my family from Nashville to Tampa. The next week, I flew to Seattle for Outreach’s onboarding bootcamp and in my class, I was the first SDR to achieve a sales accepted lead, which is how we gauge our success as SDRs. In my first and second full months, I achieved 300% of my quota. I’m currently in my third month where I’m number two on a team of 11. I’m performing at the same level as very experienced Sales Development Representatives at Outreach. I’ve been very fortunate.
How has the first few months been in the new world of software sales? How does Outreach ensure you’re ramping up and continuing to learn?
I’ve been drinking from a firehose – there’s so much content, all the time. The company is at about 350 employees, but two years ago they were at 70 – it’s a rocket ship. Our onboarding process includes a buddy program, and there’s a specific step-by-step process and four-month ramp to follow. Your quota progressively increases during the four months, so my quota is not a full SDR quota. Although, I actually did hit a full quota last month. Next month, I’ll be a fully ramped-up SDR and expected to hit full quota.
What’s been the biggest challenge or roadblock to switching to software sales?
It’s completely different than anything that I’ve ever done in my entire life. Something Tony Robbins says has been super important for me – “success leaves clues.” Whenever you’re changing careers so drastically, realize that successful people were successful way before we came along. There are tons of successful SDRs, SDR managers, and account executives at Outreach, so if you literally follow what they tell you to do and trust the process, 99% of the time you are going to be successful. People try to reinvent the wheel too frequently. If you need to tweak the process down the road once you feel more comfortable, go for it. You can’t think you’re an expert in a completely new field. I adopted that concept very early on – humility goes a long way when changing careers.
What advice do you have for people making a career change through a bootcamp?
preHIRED is built for you to succeed. Bootcamps are built for career changers. If you’re curious, there are really strong online bootcamp courses to help you be successful. I’ve been successful with other webinar courses in the past, but this preHIRED course is definitely going to yield the most sustainable fruit in my life. And that’s the whole purpose – preHIRED helps you to be successful in a career change. Trust the process, even if it looks like it’s not working out, continue to trust the process. There’s a lot of faith and humility involved when switching careers. If you choose to enroll in a bootcamp – follow the instructions A to Z, and make it happen.