Many of the most valuable firms in the world are located in the tech sector. As tech has grown in importance, so has the number of tech sales positions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth in sales managers’ jobs is anticipated to be at least five percent from 2031. With roles such as account executives earning more than the average U.S. salary, it’s an attractive field.
Here we will cover everything you should learn about the tech sales job, which includes the definition of tech sales, the advantages and disadvantages of the position, and tips on how to make it in the market.
What Are Tech Sales?
Tech sales typically involve selling software (SaaS) to other companies. In contrast to insurance or retail sales, tech sales focus less on marketing products than helping customers resolve problems and entice them to purchase. Because tech products are typically dependent on subscriptions, sales teams develop connections and assist consumers in understanding the benefits of the product in the long term.
Tech sales are often a more complex process that requires building relationships with various employees within a business. To make it easier, companies usually rely on sales methods that concentrate on assisting the salesperson to provide value to the buyer and urgency to close the deal.
What Does a Tech Sales Rep Do?
The day-to-day routine in a technology sales position is dependent on the job you are in and your rank. However, some fundamentals apply to sales positions all over the world.
Tech sales usually require identifying new sales prospects and speaking to customers about their challenges or how your solution might assist them. For some, this could involve cold calling clients or contacting leads from the past, or identifying new leads via networking.
Others who work in sales for tech could focus on demonstrating the products or services to customers. It could be anything from a casual chat with a customer to a more formal demonstration of how the product functions or a discussion of the value previously brought to customers.
Contacting existing clients and customers is also crucial for many tech sales jobs. It could mean sending quick emails or scheduling check-ins via phone or video chat.
Most senior tech sales positions require the use of data to set goals and measure the results. It also means helping others within the company to know how it is performing financially and highlighting its products’ benefits by obtaining customer testimonials and feedback.
Being able to report on and communicate relevant sales data to teams in other departments is crucial for sales professionals in tech positions.
What Skills do You Need In Tech Sales?
When Andrew started his sales career in the late 2000s, he was frequently advised it was an art, and you’re either good at it or don’t.
He was a success in his first sales position as a serial entrepreneur. However, he began struggling in his tech sales job. He quickly realized that success in one sales position does not necessarily translate into another. It’s about mastering the tools, sales skills, and workflows to resolve client issues.
There are many distinctions between the tech industry and other sectors; however, the two primary abilities tech managers seek in their candidates are universally applicable: listening and communication.
The ability to communicate the story behind the product will ensure that customers know the benefits of the product. Listening attentively is essential since salespeople must be able to meet clients’ needs and understand their client’s needs.
Certain software companies also check to determine if the candidate is familiar with modern sales methods and can be a part of the modern sales culture. It could range from gap selling to enterprise sales.
Top Skills For Tech Sales
- Storytelling and communication.
- Being understanding and listening to the needs of customers.
- Establishing relationships.
- Experiences with CRM.
- Task and time management.
- A thorough understanding of sales techniques.
The ability to recognize new opportunities.
Many tech companies offer jobs requiring software sales experience, even for entry-level positions. Andrew said it is an obstacle that prevents highly skilled sales reps from other fields from being considered.
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“They want proof that you can do the job better than most other applicants,” he said.
In some cases, Andrew said, the hiring process could boil down to whether the candidate can manage tools such as Salesforce and Outreach, understand how to communicate and listen well, and master techniques such as relationship selling.
Continuously advancing your career in sales is an essential element of staying current with the latest trends and techniques in sales. The field of tech sales hosts conferences where professionals can get together and network, take part in classes and lectures, and test new techniques.
Sales professionals can access numerous podcasts and books to assist their studies and enhance their abilities.
What Types of Tech Sales Jobs Are Available?
Most people start their careers in sales for tech as a sales representative (also known as a business development rep). This type of job requires making cold calls to customers, delivering emails, and assisting clients who want more information on the product. The objective is to determine the eligibility of clients and set up a time with the account manager.
Account executives coordinate product demonstrations and closing contracts, performing many of the same outreach duties as an SDR or BDR. Account managers and customer success managers help existing customers and try to sell them additional products and services.
Some of the senior tech sales roles comprise sales director or director of sales. Sales managers manage and train teams of sales. Apart from their training duties, they’re accountable for establishing quotas based on sales statistics as they determine pricing for their products and sales-related budgets.
Sales directors collaborate with sales managers to design and implement plans for sales teams. They usually assist with onboarding and training and create quotas and goals for the sales team.
The most important job on a sales team is vice president of sales. The vice president of sales is accountable for overseeing the sales team, which includes onboarding new customers or reps and conceiving new strategies for sales. Sales VPs usually present information about sales to crucial individuals within the company. They also collaborate with finance teams in setting goals.
Why Work in Tech Sales?
ADVANTAGES OF A CAREER IN TECH SALES
A job in tech sales has many advantages, including the possibility of working from home, a high average salary and earning potential, and flexibility in the job.
Since more and more companies offer remote working or hybrid solutions, the requirement to go into the office to make sales is decreasing. Remote sales benefit companies and salespeople by giving reps greater autonomy and businesses to save money on travel and office space costs.
High Earning Potential
The median salary of a tech sales rep across the United States is around $84,000 in 2023. It is around 25 percent more than the U.S. average. It is a significant factor to consider when choosing a profession for tech sales. Those working in sales can earn base salaries and commissions or bonuses based on the contracts they negotiate.
A tech sales job provides career advancement and growth opportunities. Marketing and sales jobs ranked as the second most-demand jobs in 2022. It means that there are many available tech sales jobs.
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While most tech salespeople begin as representatives, there’s usually an obvious career path within the company that employees can pursue. A good example could be a sales representative who moves to account manager, after which they move to AE, then sales manager.
DISADVANTAGES OF A CAREER IN TECH SALES
Like any other profession, there are disadvantages to tech sales jobs.
Difficult to Switch Industries
The sales process for tech companies differs from the more conventional sales-based industries. Representatives in insurance or retail typically sell to customers at the end of the funnel.
Andrew said that buyers have already decided, and the primary distinction maker is whether or not the rep is appealing to them. The same is only sometimes the case regarding tech sales, as buyers have more options, and deals are more complicated.
The culture of sales teams in the tech startup sector could also cause some issues. Some candidates come from countries where they still have the “coffee is for closers” culture. They might believe that their ability to market sawdust to a lumber mill is a good merit, but it’s an instant turnoff for hiring managers in tech firms.
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One of the most significant drawbacks to sales in the tech industry can be the need to achieve quotas. It is not uncommon across all sales professions. However, tech companies depend on subscription renewals from clients more than other industries.
The pressure to keep an ongoing relationship with customers is essential to their success and a significant challenge for accounts managers and reps for sales.
How to Break Into Tech Sales
When Jacob Robert applied for an open tech sales position at Atlanta, he thought Atlanta wouldn’t want someone similar to him, an outsider in the tech field. Although the applicant already had five years of experience in sales but a lack of tech experience is usually all required to send a resume down the heap.
He was aware that he’d need to be able to compete with his rivals for the job, so this is what was done.
“The central thesis of how I broke into Atlanta was that I have to show them that I’m significantly more creative than anyone else they can hire,” Robert stated.
His perseverance paid off. However, his experience also demonstrates the lack of a well-defined way to enter sales in the technology field.
There are several routes you could take to find a job in sales for tech. A bachelor’s degree could result in higher-paying jobs with greater job mobility and managerial opportunities. The most commonly cited degrees tech salespeople hold include marketing and business degrees.
A bachelor’s degree is one of many options to enter the field of tech sales. Some companies do not require a degree. Many sales bootcamps, courses, and training programs teach students how to develop a sales pipeline and utilize CRM, and communication strategies, sales techniques, technical product presentations, and coaching methods.
If an applicant follows the following tried-and-true strategies, they will increase their chances of securing an interview and employment.
Tips For Breaking Into Tech Sales
- Join and network with other tech sellers to acquaint them with the business. Learn about their books and the sales techniques they suggest.
- Display your listening and communication abilities and make the hiring company and their manager like a prospective. Find out about their team, products, and mission, then use this information to inquire about their products and services.
- Find new ways to share your story and demonstrate your talents. Send a video or audio clip to the manager in charge of hiring to make your name stand out.
Connect With Other Tech Sales Professionals
After he joined LinkedIn at the end of June 2020, it took him little time to notice that tech sales were a language with its jargon and values.
If he wanted to work in tech, he realized he’d need to be seen as part of the technology sellers’ group. He was fortunate to find it a community that welcomed anyone who wanted to learn and join in the fun.
To get immersed in the field and learn more about the industry, he joined sales forums such as RevGenius and engaged with people through the comments on sales posts that caught his eye. If a rep mentioned something he wanted to know further about, the rep would contact them to inquire if they’d be interested in having a conversation via Zoom to discuss the topic. Most of the time, they agreed.
He took advantage of these occasions to inquire about the frameworks and techniques they considered beneficial. Then, he purchased the sales books and began reading them. As time passed, he learned the most critical sales terminology in the tech industry, such as average recurring revenue(ARR), embedding/iFraming, and mutual plans.
He became proficient in various sales techniques. When he submitted his application for Atlanta, he could speak and think like a tech sales representative.
Alongside learning, mentorship relationships could significantly influence a prospective candidate’s chances of becoming a tech sales professional, Robert said. Expanding mentorship opportunities is an essential element of the sales community for Black sellers. He later founded the organization, which is known as Sales for the Culture.
Robert often sought feedback from his mentors regarding preparing for every interview. One time, one of his mentors informed Atlanta that the selling routine he used to run at his current position in the recruitment of talent would be different from the one Atlanta used to run and that he’d have to change his script to meet the demands of the manager for the meeting.
He also contacted some acquaintances to see if they’d recommend his application to Atlanta. The notes they left addressed to Atlanta’s hiring managers contributed to helping him obtain the job.
Showcase Your Listening And Communication Skills
Tech sales are all about understanding the customer’s needs and perspective, defining it to them, and then demonstrating how to solve the issue and what’s for your product. Even if the rep isn’t a specialist in sales techniques, as long as they can demonstrate the ability to listen and communicate and listen, they’ll be successful in being successful, Andrew said.
One of the best ways to display the skills you acquired during the interview process is to research the company like a prospective client. Andrew said to review the company’s mission, products, and team. Find the hiring manager’s name before the deadline, learn about the job description, and then read about the most recent news from the company.
In the course of your interview, you should take the time to describe your role in the mission of the company and how you can assist in solving a problem that is pertinent to the position you’re seeking, Andrew said. In the interview, ask relevant questions like how a round of funding or introducing a new product could influence the company’s growth.
If a candidate can do this, it proves to the supervisor that they possess the necessary skills to be successful in sales.
“That requires effort. It shows they’re willing to learn and thirsty,” Andrew said. “They have taken the time to take the time to conduct the necessary research and prove that they are concerned about the mission of our company and me as well as my team. It sets them apart.”
Find Creative Ways To Tell Your Story
Whatever the candidate communicates their talents, they must get past the barriers of experience.
It was one of the most difficult challenges faced by Robert when applying to Atlanta. The company sought five-year tech sales professionals to fill their open executive positions in its accounts. If you wanted to fill one of these positions, he’d have to make a mental note — a small voice within the manager’s head that was doubting this requirement due to his expertise.
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Robert began by expanding his network within Atlanta. He initially connected with an ex-HR manager through LinkedIn, and then she connected him with the most senior account executive on the team.
He then wrote her a message asking whether she would be willing to make contact. She was able to provide insight into the working environment for Atlanta as well as introduced him to both the director of sales as well as the HR manager.
After that, he emailed the director of sales a report that he felt was relevant to him and a video message hinting at the background of Robert. He also said the follow-up would be after having his initial interview. It proved to be vital.
Ultimately, he learned that the HR director should have recommended his candidature after the initial interview. Although he seemed a good cultural fit, she advised him they were seeking an experienced candidate. The manager loved his passion in his first video, and his following video message added to his enthrallment.
“I did a few things, like tell a little bit about my experience, weaved in values, and tied them to the original story, and at the close, I did something humorous to make my story stand out. I sliced an entire crayon, (the name of) an opponent, and then said, ‘I’m thrilled to assist you in helping you beat them and win,'” Robert said. “I don’t know what sales director isn’t like, ‘I want to meet that guy.'”
Each of those steps helped Robert stand out in the eyes of the director for sales. They also protected him from being excluded from the process due to his lack of experience.
“You are in a sales process like any other, and you need to sell yourself against your competition,” Robert stated. “So get good at concise storytelling that [provides] evidence of who you are.”
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