You’ve just finished your MBA.
Or, you’re a Junior or Senior in college.
Perhaps you are foregoing school for the next one to two years. Regardless, one thing is certain and it’s your desire to work in tech.
You have endless lists of leadership and communication skills paired with impressive text book knowledge. You are Internet savvy, interested in startups and can find any job opening online.
After submitting application upon application for startups, small to medium sized businesses and software companies, you have heard no response.
What’s the hang up?
Before you can even worry about applicant tracking systems and the likelihood of getting through, there’s another important factor to consider: your work experience or lack thereof has you pigeonholed outside of tech.
If you’re in the MBA camp, perhaps your work experience speaks to a specific industry vertical. The only trouble is you want out of that industry and into the tech industry. The business development experience you previously had in insurance sales taught you all about prospecting, and handling customer objections. Why can’t employers see that on your resume?
If you’re a Junior or Senior, you may be asking yourself, “How am I supposed to demonstrate actual work experience while studying for exams and contemplating student loan payments? Besides, I am social media savvy. My entry way into tech will be through digital marketing.”
What you may not know—or be thinking about—is that one of the best ways to start and grow your career in tech is by way of sales. According to data from the Sales Education Foundation, 60% of business majors in college hold their first job in a sales related role.
How To Find Technology Sales Jobs While You’re Finishing Up School
Vincent Matano, Mid Market Account Executive at Demandbase recently shared his experience on Linkedin. “In college, I didn’t even know what sales careers were available. I visited my career services department often and they would recommend sales jobs within Insurance or other industries. The whole world of SaaS and technology sales was new. However, once I stumbled crossed it, I never looked back.”
Because sales teams at tech companies are tasked with revenue generation and growth, there are a variety of roles within the team, many of which are multiplying as the company scales. You can intern or start entry-level as an SDR and gain experience from there. The latter was the path Vincent followed, first as an SDR for almost two years before moving into an AE role.
Starting in Tech Sales as An SDR: What Does That Acronym Actually Mean?
Sales Development Representative (SDR) roles are a great way to get into tech and SaaS sales regardless of whether you have sales experience or not. They do require you to be customer centric, driven and motivated.
What does an SDR do? Our friends at SalesHacker keep the definition simple. “SDR’s are responsible for outside prospecting, rather than closing new deals. Successful SDR’s are educators who leverage insights to solve a problem a customer is having.”
Of course, that’s not the only role available in tech sales. If you have prior sales experience, consider account management, sales ops or the role of Account Executive.
How Do I Become an SDR or Account Executive in Tech?
While there are many different approaches to becoming an SDR and AE, and getting your resume considered for both roles, we’ll give you the path of least resistance.
First, enroll in a course that provides practical job simulation and helps you demonstrate your ability to do what’s required.
Unlike reading a textbook and memorizing definitions, practical job simulation mirrors work scenarios you encounter on the job.
Exercises in this domain allow you to record video based assessments, participate in customer facing role plays and offer the opportunity to identify challenges and room for growth while also strengthening your skills based on actual responsibilities and tasks, not theoretical content.
Of course, you can also subscribe to Youtube channels, podcasts, read books on sales, follow sales leaders content and learn on your own.
But a course that teaches you SDR and AE best practices while allowing you to practice and receive feedback on your skills is priceless.
The second recommendation is to take a course that also helps with job placement for graduates. At Aspireship, the top 10% of our graduates are invited to participate in our talent network.
On Connecting with the Sales Community Online for Knowledge and Tech Job Opportunities
Hopefully, we’ve opened your mind to tech sales.
We’ve suggested how to learn the skills you need.
What else will prepare for your next tech role?
NETWORKING. Now. Not when you graduate.
In tech and SaaS sales, community is everything. Not only can a strong sales network lead to referrals and a warmer approach to job prospecting, if you’re new and coming from an outside vertical, it will also help you learn the language of sales and remove any outside stereotypes you have.
Yes, coffee is for closers, but you’ll quickly learn in SaaS and tech sales that closers can hear what their prospects are sharing and adapt their follow up strategies based on the information they receive: not by pressuring or guilting their desired customer.
Here are a few of our recommended sales communities for SDR’s, career changers and those wanting to get into tech.
In closing, if you’re facing graduation a few months out or forgoing college all together and want to work in tech, consider opportunities in tech sales.
The salaries are competitive, the benefits, both from challenging yourself and learning to work collaboratively, are plentiful.
Most importantly, the community and camaraderie in tech sales will have you trying to recruit all your friends and family members into the space.
As one Aspireship grad, Michelle, put it, “I feel so fortunate to have found the Aspireship program at this point in my career. I am confident that completing the program helped speed up my job search. As a HUGE bonus I am very happy be aligned with such a wonderful, supportive community of SaaS professionals.”
To sign up for the Aspireship SaaS Sales course, click here.