What is Technical Sales?
In tech sales, you’ll specialize in promoting, demonstrating, supporting, and (most importantly) selling software and tools. Technical sales is how software companies generate new customers, revenue, and gather feedback to improve their products. Tech sales is a booming, competitive field with thousands of new professionals added to the pool each month. As long as you’re willing to compete, tech sales might be the most accessible way to enter the tech field without learning how to code.
How to Get a Job in Tech Sales
Technical sales as an industry is quite competitive. With sales bootcamps like SV Academy getting over 1,000 applications per week to fill 100 slots per month, you will need to be prepared to compete. Educational requirements vary depending on the product you are selling. For tech sales, a bachelor’s degree is not a prerequisite but it is almost always preferred. You’ll definitely want to brush up on basic knowledge of computer programming and the industry you’ll be entering.
Most technical sales positions expect you to have experience before applying for the job. Experience can be gained through internships if you’re still in college or a tech sales bootcamp. Some companies offer training programs for beginner sales representatives or a 1 year probationary contract that involves an onboarding training program and a ramp-up period.
Sales bootcamps last between 3-13 weeks and cost anywhere from free to $10,000. Free bootcamps like SV Academy typically stay afloat with funding from companies who want to hire their graduates. Some bootcamps will even pay their students or graduates if they do a fellowship at a participating company. Check out Course Report's 2021 List of the 7 Best Tech Sales Bootcamps!
Tech Sales Jobs
The opportunities for upward mobility in these fast-paced tech sales jobs are unlike any other if you have the chops! Some jobs may require a degree, others might want a background in sales, and some simply require you to prove your skills during phone screenings and interviews.
Here are some common tech sales jobs:
- Sales Development Representative
- Sales Engineer
- Outbound SDR
- Inbound SDR
- Inside Sales Representative
- Outside Sales Representative
- Enterprise SDR
- Associate Customer Success Manager
- Customer Success Manager
- Account Executive
Tech Sales Job Description
Those in tech sales jobs are expected to promote and sell their company’s product by demonstrating how it works and why it is the best product for a customer. As a tech sales professional, you will most likely start working in sales development, acting as a liaison between sales managers and clients. Distinguishing between business development and sales development is important. Sales is how revenue is generated within a chosen market segment while business development is finding a fit between the product and a segment of the market.
What Does a Sales Development Representative (SDR) Do?
A Sales Development Representative (SDR) cold emails and cold calls potential clients. They work with other teams within their company to learn, promote, and improve the product. A good SDR will use tools like SalesForce and other CRM software to manage their leads pipeline. An SDR will work with their sales manager or team lead as a liaison for clients, to effectively sell the product, and to understand how the product is the most useful tool for their customers. A strong SDR will also examine similar products in the field to understand how their product is different from rival companies. Some SDRs might also gather information on how the product could be improved and what new products should be offered.
Here’s what real technical sales professionals say about their jobs:
“I started as a Sales Development Representative sending emails, cold calling, and using sales software. After five months, I got promoted to Associate Customer Success Manager and I now make sure the client is getting the best return on investment and using the platform properly. Nine months later, I was promoted to Customer Success Manager. Now, I talk to clients about their goals, conversion rates, how to use our platform, and we strategize about how to get them the most bang for their buck.”
– SV Academy graduate Baba, who is now a Customer Success Manager.
Tech Sales Salaries
Tech Sales Skills
Tech sales representatives will need to know some software and have a basic understanding of computer programming. More importantly, they will need to have the appropriate soft skills to sell a product convincingly and convert as many clients as possible.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator - LinkedIn Sales Navigator is an advanced sales tool that helps sales representatives build customer relationships on the LinkedIn network. This tool provides special search features and filters to show sales representatives the right potential customers to reach out to.
Apollo - Apollo is a data-focused account-based engagement platform that helps sales representatives increase the number of quality conversations they’re having. It defines who to target, how to reach out, and how in-depth they should get.
- Cold Calling - Tech sales professionals cold call potential customers and talk to them about why the product they are selling is the best solution for them. They want to convert that potential client into a user of their product.
- Cold Pitching via email - Tech sales professionals draft emails to send to potential clients multiple times a day, often in batches. These email pitches are comprised of compelling copy that gets potential clients interested in your product.
SalesForce - SalesForce is a CRM tool used to connect marketing, sales, commerce, and service departments.
CRM Tools - CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM is any tool, strategy, or process that is used to organize and access customer data. CRM tools connect various departments, organize notes, track activity, and record metrics all in one place.
- Technical Support - A Technical Sales Representative will provide technical support to clients to strengthen relationships. They might also demonstrate a product for a client.
- Soft Skills
- Communication - Communication is probably the most important soft skill for technical sales. You will need to be able to demonstrate over the phone or in an email why the product you're selling is the best product for the customer. You will also need to be able to interact with your team, manager, and clients in your pipeline with clear correspondence.
- Listening - Building relationships with potential clients will rely on good listening skills as much as good conversation. A potential client that feels heard is more likely to convert.
- Time Management - Tech sales representatives and managers alike will need to know how to manage their time in order to hit their expected metrics.
- Storytelling - Fast facts about technical products is not going to convert the layman the software was made for. Tech sales reps need to know how to sell a product by relating it to the potential customer’s experiences.
Do I need to be a software engineer in order to do tech sales?
You do not need to know how to code to work in technical sales. However, you will need to be able to grasp technical concepts of how a product functions, be able to demonstrate those functions, and how it might work better for your clients. Basic knowledge of coding will help you give your customers a deeper understanding of your product or service. With coding skills, you will likely end up doing technical support once you’ve been promoted from an entry-level sales position.