How to Get Into Tech Sales

 

How to get into tech sales as an SDR, BDR or AE.

If you’ve never held a tech sales job but are ready to make the transition into a tech sales position for the first time, you probably have some questions.

Will anyone hire me without tech sales experience? How will I stand out? What should I expect in a tech sales interview? Do I need to enroll in a tech sales bootcamp?

These are all very common questions, but don’t worry, there are literally thousands of people who were once in your shoes, but now have a successful career in the industry.

You don’t need to pay thousands for a tech sales bootcamp

With a little online research, you’ll probably come across a handful of tech sales bootcamps that want to convince you that it’s necessary to spend thousands of dollars on tuition, sign an income share agreement or a deferred tuition agreement in order to get the education you need to successfully land a tech sales job.

If you’re truly self-motivated, coachable and possess interpersonal skills, you can get all the education you need through low-cost on-demand programs like SaaS Sales Foundations from Aspireship to land tech sales interviews, secure a job and perform successfully once you’re in the role.

Can I get hired without experience?

While it can be uncomfortable knowing that hiring managers are looking for candidates with industry experience, don’t let it discourage you. There are tons of success stories out there from people who have transitioned into the field from other industries or job types.

You can get hired if you prepared for interviews, demonstrate your capability and stand out as a creative and dynamic sales professional.

What should I expect from a tech sales interview?

Tech sales interviews typically include 3-4 rounds of interviews and a live role play or take home project to assess your capability to do the job. 

The role play is by far the trickiest part of interviewing for a tech sales job. A role play is essentially a mock sales call, where you pretend to sell the company’s product (or sometimes, a made up product) to a prospect, who is typically played by one of the hiring managers. Role plays are very difficult to fake if you don’t know what you’re doing, which is why it is such an effective tactic for hiring managers to weed out candidates who are progressing through the interview process.

Click here to learn more about role plays and how to prepare for them.

Tech Sales Interview Questions

While interview questions will vary, here are some of the most common.

  • Why do you want to work here? 
  • Tell me what you understand about our company.
  • Tell me why you want to be an SDR (or AE)
  • Pretend I am a prospect. Describe our product to me. 
  • If we hired you, how would you structure your typical day?

Also see: 26 Sales Interview Questions (and How to Answer Them Like a Boss!)

Most candidates don’t believe this, but half of the battle is showing that you actually WANT the job! Playing hard to get doesn’t work as well as some people think it does.

Types of tech sales jobs and compensation

If you’ve done some poking around the internet, you may have heard a thing or two about tech sales jobs and what they pay. Maybe you even heard about reps making $1M per year! But don’t get ahead of yourself. Here is a breakdown of the main types of tech sales jobs and what they pay.

Terminology

The world of technology sales has its own terminology. You’ll do yourself a big favor by familiarizing yourself with key terms before you interview. 

Here are a few to know:

  1. ARR – This stands for annual recurring revenue. Companies use this term when they describe the total revenue the company will generate this year. 
  2. ACV – This stands for annual contract value or average contract value. Companies use this to describe what an individual customer pays the company over a 1 year period. In SaaS, an ACV under $10,000 per year is typically an “SMB” customer. $10,000-$50,000 is typically a “mid-market” customer. $50,000 is typically considered an “enterprise” customer. If you’re new to tech sales, you’ll likely be selling products or services with an ACV that’s less than $10,000.
  3. Churn – This refers to the rate at which customers cancel their use of the product, and is expressed as a monthly or annual percentage. A company with low churn is considered healthy, while a company with high churn is considered unhealthy and may not last.
  4. Product-market fit – This term describes when a software company has built a product that people want. No product-market fit = low sales and high churn. That’s not a combination anyone wants!
  5. Sales cycle – This refers to the length of time it takes to go from initial meeting with a prospect to closing a sale. A low ACV product typically has a short sales cycle (days / weeks). A high ACV product typically has a long sales cycle (months / years).
  6. Tech stack – This refers to the software tools the company uses to improve efficiency. It can include tools to gather data or contact information about prospects (e.g. ZoomInfo), email sequencing and automation (e.g. Outreach, Salesloft, Apollo), sales email assistants (e.g. Lavender), software to send personalized videos (e.g. BombBomb, Vidyard), CRMs (e.g. Salesforce, Hubspot), etc. 

Learning the “Tech Stack”

Learning how to use software is simple. Don’t let it intimidate you.

When asked, “Have you used [insert name of software the company uses] before?”, the best way to answer is to express confidence that you can pick it up quickly, have used similar types of software in other situations and have studied up on how they function through self-help resources online. There is no reason this question should get you disqualified from the role. It is 100% within your control.

To prep, check out the Tech Stack video library or search for specific software tools on YouTube to get familiar.

The bottom line for how to get into tech sales?

A career in tech sales is rewarding in many ways. You can make it happen for yourself, regardless of your background.

Are you ready to jumpstart your new career?  

Create your free Aspireship account to start learning today!

 Learn more about our flagship tech sales course.

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