A Career In Tech Sales: Everything You Need to Know
My first experience in tech sales started almost ten years ago – it involved selling document solutions, including software and hardware related to the effective operation of an organization.
Today, the term tech sales is more used when talking about SaaS sales – the booming industry where a sales job should be easy to find if you know where to look.
A job in tech sales has many perks; good money, flexibility, work-from-home opportunities and career progression, to name a few. A job in tech sales can put you among the top earners for your country, and you don’t even need a degree to do it.
In this post, I will run through everything you need to know about tech sales Including, the definition of tech sales, the difference between tech sales as it relates to information technology, the roles and responsibilities of a sales rep in tech sales, as well as tech sales as it relates to SaaS. Finally, I will explain why a job in tech sales is so hot right now and why you should consider it if you like the idea of working in tech.
Technology Sales Defined
The term “tech sales” can mean different things to different people. For this post, I will focus on two types of tech sales:
- Tech sales as it relates to software-as-a-service (SaaS)
- Tech sales as it relates to hardware sales
- Tech sales as it relates to information technology
Both types of tech sales have one key thing in common: they both require a good understanding of the technology you are selling. If you want to be successful in tech sales, you need to be able to understand the products and services you are selling inside out. Today, technology sales can include anything from software product sales, hardware product sales, and even IT service sales. Depending where your interests lie and what options are available will play a big part in where your career in tech sales may end up.
A more detailed breakdown of the tech sales job that might be available to you can be found below.
Software or SaaS Tech Sales
With the rise of the internet and the digital age came the software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry – which has revolutionized the tech sales landscape.
SaaS products are typically delivered through the internet and can be used on any device with an internet connection. Because of this, SaaS products are much easier to sell than their traditional software counterparts – making them the perfect product for tech sales representatives.
As a SaaS sales rep, you will be responsible for finding and qualifying potential customers, building relationships, and closing deals. To succeed in SaaS sales, you will need to be an expert in the product you sell and understand the SaaS industry.
There are two main types of tech sales jobs regarding SaaS: inside sales and outside sales.
Inside Sales: An inside sales rep is responsible for selling a company’s products or services over the phone or internet. Because there is no face-to-face interaction, inside sales reps typically have a larger territory than outside sales reps.
If you are interested in an inside sales position, you must be comfortable making cold calls and handling objections. You should also be able to build rapport quickly and have a strong understanding of the SaaS product you are selling.
Outside Sales: An outside sales rep is responsible for selling a company’s products or services in person. Because outside sales reps have face-to-face interactions with potential customers, they typically have a smaller territory than inside sales reps.
If you are interested in an outside sales position, you must be able to build relationships quickly, be comfortable giving presentations, and be knowledgeable about the SaaS product you are selling.
A good way to break into SaaS sales would be to seek a role as a Sales Development Representative. This is a perfect entry to a career in tech sales, as companies are often happy to hire people with little to no experience.
Hardware Tech Sales
With the rise of new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable tech, and virtual reality (VR), the hardware sales landscape has changed dramatically in recent years.
A few years ago, if you wanted to buy hardware, you would have had to purchase it outright and install it yourself. However, with the rise of new technologies, many hardware products are now subscription-based – meaning that you only pay for what you use.
As a hardware sales rep, you will be responsible for finding and qualifying potential customers, building relationships, and closing deals. To succeed in hardware sales, you will need to be an expert in the product you are selling and have a good understanding of the hardware industry as a whole.
My first job in tech sales involved selling multifunctional photocopiers, a booming industry in the 80s, 90s and 00s. That role then progressed to software that supported the hardware, which made a nice transition into SaaS tech sales, where my tech sales career is now.
Hardware tech sales typically carry a higher ticket price, presenting the opportunity for some substantial commission cheques. In contrast, SaaS sales rely on a subscription-based model where the incentive is often much lower, but a significant opportunity lies with the possibility of earning recurring revenue.
The main difference between hardware and SaaS tech sales is that with hardware, you are selling a physical product that the customer can see and touch. With SaaS, you are selling a service delivered over the internet.
IT Services Tech Sales
IT services is a broad term that covers a wide range of products and services, from cloud computing and storage to cybersecurity and managed services.
A career in tech sales focusing on IT services will often rely on both a hardware and software element and require the implementation of the solution, often requiring professional services fees to set up the solution.
For this reason, sales cycles can often be longer than SaaS sales, and other challenges may need to be addressed, such as implementation complexities, other parties that need to be involved and what portion of the deal you get paid commissions on.
That being said, an IT services tech sales role can be extremely rewarding financially and career-wise. As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the demand for IT services will only continue to grow.
If you are interested in a career in tech sales focusing on IT services, you will need to have a good understanding of the various products and services available, as well as the different sales models that are used. You will also need to be comfortable working in a consultative role, as you often advise clients on the best solution for their needs.
With all this in mind, it’s important to keep in mind what a sales professionals main goal should be, and that is to find out the challenges a prospect might face and then guide them through a sales process if your product can solve it. This rings true regardless of the tech sales job you are involved in.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Technology Salesperson
The roles and responsibilities of a technology salesperson can vary depending on the company they work for and the products they sell.
However, there are some common duties and responsibilities that are often required of tech salespeople, such as:
- Researching and identifying potential customers
- Building relationships with potential and existing customers
- Providing product demonstrations
- Answering customer questions
- Negotiating and closing deals
- Maintaining accurate records of sales activities
To succeed in tech sales, you will need to deeply understand the products you are selling and the industry you are selling them in. You will also need to be able to build relationships with customers, as customer satisfaction is key to success in tech sales.
It is also important to be comfortable with technology, as you will often need to understand how the technology is built and the competition you may be up against.
The role may also involve an element of business development – working with other parts of the business, such as marketing, to help generate leads and grow the business.
A tech sales career relies on exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal, as well as strong negotiation skills. You will also need to be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and be able to work under pressure.
Tech Sales Career: Ten Reasons Why
If you are currently at a crossroads when it comes to your career, just finished high school and working in tech seems appealing, or you just want to have more capacity when it comes to your earning capacity working in tech sales can be a great option to consider. Here are ten reasons why:
1. The earning potential is high
In tech sales, the sky is the limit regarding earnings. If you are driven, passionate and have the skillset needed to succeed, there is no limit to how much you can earn.
2. It’s a fast-paced environment
Tech sales is a fast-paced and ever-changing industry. This can be exciting for some people as it keeps you on your toes and provides a constant challenge.
3. It’s a foot in the door to the tech industry
Getting a job in tech sales can be a great way to get your foot in the door of the tech industry. If you are interested in working in tech but don’t have the relevant qualifications or experience, starting in tech sales can be a great way to get your start.
4. You can work anywhere in the world
The tech industry is global, meaning your job in tech sales can take you anywhere in the world. If you want to travel and see different parts of the world, tech sales can be a great career option.
5. You can work flexible hours
Another great benefit of working in tech sales is that you can often negotiate flexible working hours. If you have other commitments outside of work, such as family or school, you may be able to arrange your working hours around these.
6. You can be part of a high-performing sales team
You will often be part of a high-performing sales team when you work in tech sales. This can be a great way to learn, and being surrounded by other tech sales professionals can help you to progress in your career.
7. You can learn new skills
You will constantly learn new skills when you work in tech sales. As the tech industry is ever-changing, you will need to keep up-to-date with new products and developments in the industry. This can be a great way to develop your skillset and knowledge.
8. You can work with cutting-edge technology
You will work with the latest and greatest technology in tech sales. This can be exciting and allow you to see new products and developments before they are released to the general public.
9. You can make a real difference
When you work in tech sales, you have the opportunity to make a real difference to the company you are working for. Your sales can directly impact the business’s success, meaning your work can be extremely rewarding.
10. You can progress quickly in your career
If you excel in tech sales, you can progress quickly in your career. There are often opportunities to move into management or other senior roles, meaning you can have a successful and long-term career in tech sales.
If you are considering a career in tech sales, there are many great reasons to do so. The earning potential is high, and you can work flexible hours in a fast-paced and ever-changing industry. You can also make a real difference to the company you work for, and there are often opportunities to progress quickly in your career. So, if you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career, tech sales could be the perfect option for you.