How to Start a Career in Tech Sales

Published on October 13, 2022
Matt Jennings
Sales Professional

Guest Blog By Matt Jennings, Sales Professional.

If you want to learn how to get into tech sales, you’ve come to the right place.

Tech sales can be a fantastic career whether you are a recent college graduate or looking to make a change in your career. The tech sales industry is booming, with thousands of tech companies cropping up daily. As long as you have the determination, you’d be sure to find a job in tech sales. 

Furthermore, it’s not uncommon for a tech sales job to offer over $100,000 per year in salary and commission. So, if you’re searching for a more exciting career that pays well, consider a career in tech sales.

However, it’s a good idea to establish a solid understanding of tech sales employment before you start bombarding every tech business with your CV.

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In this post, I’ll discuss what tech sales are, why tech sales roles are in demand, and provide some concrete steps on how to enter the field.

Tech Sales Defined

Tech sales involve selling technology products and services to businesses and consumers. It’s a broad industry that covers anything from enterprise software to consumer gadgets.

There are two main types of tech sales: business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C).

B2B tech sales involve selling products and services to other businesses. In contrast, B2C tech sales directly sell products and services to consumers.

The steps involved in making a sale are similar regardless of whether you sell B2B or B2C, but the product knowledge required and the sales process can vary greatly depending on what you’re selling.

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For example, B2B tech sales often require a deep understanding of the product and how it can be effectively used to solve specific business challenges.

B2C tech sales, on the other hand, tend to be more transactional and require less product knowledge.

You can think about four specific areas of specialization when considering how to get into tech sales. These areas include:

Hardware Sales

This type of tech sales involves selling physical products such as laptops, smartphones, printers, and other types of hardware.

I started my career in photocopier sales, which was highly lucrative but also challenging as the product became commoditized and the market overly saturated.

The key to success in hardware sales is understanding the features and benefits of the products you’re selling and effectively communicating these to potential customers.

You’ll also need to be familiar with the different types of hardware available on the market so that you can advise customers on which type of hardware best suits their needs.

Software Sales

This type of tech sales involves selling software products, such as operating systems, productivity suites, and security software. Today, the most common form of software sales is in the form of SaaS – a software-as-a-subscription service model in which software is sold as a subscription service. These services are often hosted in the cloud making it easier to deploy and scale.

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Customer Relationship Management, of which Salesforce is the largest, started this trend in the year 2000. Now even Windows, Adobe, and other business software such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Conversation Intelligence Tools such as Rafiki.ai, Gong, etc are all sold using this model. 

With the SaaS business model, you sign up with a credit card and often pay on a user basis per month. As a tech sales professional in the SaaS industry, you’ll be someone who exhibits a strong understanding of how the tools work within the customer environment and fit into their business model. 

You will also be responsible for tracking the trial process, engaging the prospect throughout the sales cycle, and closing the business online. 

Cloud Sales

This type of tech sales involves selling cloud-based products and services, such as cloud storage, cloud computing, and cloud-based security.

Most software products are hosted in the cloud these days, so if you’re interested in software sales, it’s essential to understand what being in the cloud actually means and how it works.

Selling cloud solutions is great in that they are easy to deploy and can be scaled quickly to meet the customer’s needs.

IT Service Sales

IT service technology sales is another in-demand tech sales area. IT service sales involve selling service-centered solutions such as managed services, IT support, and consulting.

As an IT service sales rep, you’d often sell the expert knowledge of the company you represent rather than a physical product.

Consequently, it’s critical to have a thorough understanding of the services you’re selling and communicate the value of these services to potential customers.

Whatever area of tech sales you decide on, it’s important to understand that no tech sales role will ever be the same. Each position will present unique challenges and benefits, making a career in tech sales rewarding.

Tech sales specialists need to master the following skills, depending on the type of products they sell:

  • Knowing what products a customer needs and providing the best solution while complementing the product’s features and directly addressing the customer’s problems.
  • Putting together software packages that meet the current and future needs of the specific client.
  • Closing deals, executing contracts, booking, invoicing, and managing business with great care and accuracy to the customer’s requirements.
  • Making use of CRM software and other sales-supporting tools effectively.
  • Maintaining order, efficiency, and attention when managing multiple prospects at once at various phases of the company’s sales funnel.
  • Connecting and following up with prospects and consumers using technology solutions.

Four Reasons to Work in Tech Sales

As mentioned earlier, now is a fantastic time to consider a job in tech sales. There is money to be made, and there are plenty of jobs available at a time when other sales jobs are on the decline.

Compared to retail sales or advertising sales jobs, tech sales jobs offer a much higher salary. The median base pay for a tech sales job is USD 85,000 annually.

The above reasons aside, here are four other reasons why you should consider a job in tech sales:

You don’t need a degree.

Unlike other jobs that require years of schooling and thousands of dollars in tuition, you don’t need a degree to enter the field of tech sales.

While some companies may prefer candidates with a degree, many are more interested in your ability to sell and your understanding of the product.

You can learn on the job.

Not only do you not need a degree to get into tech sales, but you can additionally discover all there is to know on the job.

While it helps to understand basic sales skills like how to leave an effective voicemail and how the software works, you don’t need to be an expert to sell tech products.

Many tech sales jobs will provide you with the training you need to be successful.

And if you’re selling cloud-based solutions, plenty of resources available online can help you understand the product and how to sell it effectively.

You can work your job in tech sales remotely.

Another great thing about working in tech sales is that you can often do it remotely.

Since you’ll be selling over the phone or over video conferencing, you can usually do your job from anywhere in the world.

So, if you’re seeking employment that will allow you to travel or work from home, tech sales is a great option.

There’s an excellent opportunity for career progression.

Finally, working in tech sales is a great way to start your career in the tech industry.

Many people who work in tech sales go on to have successful careers in more senior tech sales roles, such as account manager or sales director.

These roles give you more responsibility and challenges, leading to even higher salaries.

Best Advice for Landing a Tech Job Sales

The hardest part about getting a tech sales job is getting your foot in the door and getting a company to give you a shot. Fortunately, hundreds of tech sales jobs are available. So, your ability to break into tech sales will depend on your determination and desire to get a job in this space.

You’ll find it easier to get into tech sales if you come from one of the following backgrounds:

  • Software background engineer or developer
  • Product management.
  • Customer success or customer support.
  • Business development or sales in a non-technology sales role

While having a background in tech to get a job in tech sales is not necessary, it will provide you an advantage over your rivals.

Also, when it comes to selling, it’s more about your ability to push through objections, be persistent, and have grit. Finally, if you come from a sales background in any industry, you’ll likely find it easier to get into tech sales.

Distinguish yourself from other candidates for a prospective tech sales job with one or more of the following tactics:

Learn everything you can about your industry.

The best way to make yourself an attractive candidate for a tech sales job is to be knowledgeable about the industry.

Many candidates for tech sales jobs make the mistake of thinking they only need to know about the product they’re selling.

However, to be a successful tech salesperson, you need to understand the industry as a whole.

That means keeping up with the latest news and trends, understanding the competitive landscape, and knowing who the major players are.

The more you know about the tech industry, the better your chances of getting a job in tech sales.

Research the company you’re applying to.

When you’re applying for tech sales jobs, it’s essential to do your research on the company you’re applying to.

You ought to be quite familiar with their products, their target market, their competitive landscape, and their sales strategy.

The more you understand the business., the better your chances of impressing them during your interview and landing the job.

Additionally, when researching the company, look for any red flags that might make them a less-than-ideal employer.

For example, suppose you’re applying for a job at a company with a history of poor treatment of their employees. In that case, you might want to reconsider whether or not you wish to work there. You can look on sites like Glassdoor or even reach out to past or present employees of the company you are thinking of working for to get the inside scoop.

Some companies are better than others to work for in tech sales, so it definitely pays off to do your research!

Get some sales experience.

If you don’t have any sales experience, you can do a few things to get some.

One option is to look for internships or entry-level jobs at tech companies.

Many tech startups are looking for interns to help with sales, so this is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Another option is to look for jobs in other industries that require sales skills.

For example, jobs in retail or customer service can be good options. The more sales experience you have, the better your chances of getting a job in tech sales.

Some tech companies also offer training programs for people who want to transition into tech sales. These programs can be beneficial, but they’re often very competitive and not always available.

If you’re interested in a specific company’s training program, be sure to do your research and see if it’s a good fit for you. For example, some companies have very rigorous training programs that last several months. In contrast, others have shorter programs that last a few weeks.

Either way, these programs can give you the skills and experience you need to break into tech.

Learn the way the company you want to work for sells its product.

When applying for tech sales jobs, it’s important to learn how the company you want to work for sells its product.

Each company has its own unique sales process, and you need to be familiar with it if you want to be successful.

The best way to learn about a company’s sales process is to talk to someone who works there and find out if there are any specific methodologies they might follow. Examples of sales process methods include:

Challenger Sales

Spiced Sales Framework

MEDDIC Framework

Spin Selling

Agoge Sales Sequence

Once you know about the company’s sales process, you can start tailoring your resume and cover letter to match their needs.

When preparing for your interview, ask the interviewer about the company’s sales process. This will show them that you’re interested in the position and willing to learn.

Conclusion

When landing your first job in technology sales, researching and getting some sales experience under your belt can go a long way.

Additionally, learning about the company you want to work for and its sales process is essential to success in the role and standing out from your competition.

With a little effort, you can set yourself apart from other applicants and increase your chances of getting into tech sales, creating an opportunity for more significant earning potential and flexibility in your career. All the best for your first sales job!

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Author Bio

Matt Jennings is a Sales Professional with over seven years of experience across outbound, full-cycle account and business development management, sales management, and sales operations. His sales experience has had him working in Document, SaaS, and Financial Services vertical markets and booking some of the world’s largest companies exceeding multiple billion dollars in turnover. In addition, he has experience selling across APAC, EU, UK, and US regions. Matt now heads up Sales Operations at Sales Science and writes sales-focused educational content. You can read more at matjen.com.

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