Here’s a riddle: which job lets you help people but also still make good money with opportunities to climb the career ladder?
Was “doctor” your first guess? How about a politician?
Actually, we were thinking…. Tech sales! Keep reading to learn more about how a salesperson can help people and companies solve problems using technology.
What is Tech Sales?
Technology sales is a rapidly growing industry that provides technology solutions or tech-related services to its customers.
Products might come in one or all of these three forms:
- Hardware: Physical items like computers, storage devices, routers, telephony systems, and security hardware.
- Software: Software that is purchased, typically with a one-time purchase model, and installed onto hardware. An example of this is Microsoft Office 2021. While still used, it’s becoming replaced more and more by…
- Software as a service (SaaS): In contrast to Office 2021, Microsoft 365 is a SaaS option. Instead of purchasing a license, the user pays a monthly or annual fee to subscribe to services, updates, support, and typically storage or backup via the cloud.
These products are intended for one of the following two groups:
- Individual Consumers, or B2C: Someone purchasing for personal use. It might be an iPhone, an accounting program to do taxes with, or a subscription to an online role-playing game. According to the NPD Group, B2C tech sales went up 17% in 2020 and similar growth will continue through 2023.
- Businesses, or B2B: The product helps other companies improve their own service or operations. The average B2B technology is more complex than B2B consumer products and, accordingly, more costly. Security hardware, customer relations management, and big data solutions fall into the B2B category.
Technology sales positions and career
Someone has to drive these tech sales, meaning there are more and more tech sales roles popping up as the industry expands.
These are a just a few jobs that might be found at tech sales companies:
- Sales development rep (SDR): Qualifies inbound leads that are generated via marketing CTAs. The SDR then hands the leads off to an account executive.
- Inside/outside sales representative: Sells the product remotely by chasing down leads via their desk or, alternatively, sells face-to-face out in the field. More can be read about the distinction between these two positions here.
- Technology sales manager: Responsible for managing the full sales cycle as well as the rest of the sales team.
- Sales Engineer: Facilitates the sales process for advanced technical products. They can be thought of as the link between product development and sales functions. Their knowledge can reinforce sales reps trying to sell products. LinkedIn highlighted this as one of the most promising sales positions of 2017.
- Customer success manager: Makes sure the customer is getting the full benefits of the product and taking advantage of all its features. This person will also upsell and cross-sell different products.
- Customer tech support: While not technically sales, this is a critical client-facing position. Friendly, effective tech support can make or break a company’s chance at getting a return customer.
As you likely noticed, most of these are very similar to typical sales roles needed in many companies; the main spin is that a tech salesperson needs to have a few specific industry-related skills compared to someone selling non-technical products.
Tech salesperson skills
There are several key skills that would be found on a technology sales job description.
- Relevant sector experience
- Uses an appropriate selling style for the product
- Product knowledge or, depending on job level, willingness to learn
- Interpersonal skills and ability to network well both in-person and virtually
- Good written and verbal communication
- Effective time management and organization skills
- Understand the sales cycle and their role within it
- Detail oriented
- Basic computer literacy like word processing, email, social media, and CRM
- Understanding of tech sales tools and how to use them to keep track of and close deals
- History of building and maintaining relationships with company clients
- Able to travel to attend sales meetings
Each skill requirement will vary depending on the position, seniority level, what’s for sale, and whether it’s hardware, software, or SaaS sales. For instance, SaaS tech sales might require more empathy and desire to problem-solve than someone in hardware sales demonstrating to a client the cool features of a laptop. Likewise, B2B tech sales are typically larger, more complex deals that necessitate more patience to close than their B2C counterpart.
Benefits of using tech in sales
Anyone in a tech sales career knows the importance of harnessing technology because if you’re selling tech you’re certainly also using tech. Hardware and software are a given, but it’s SaaS that’s become the new start of the show.
Here are some of the benefits of using SaaS technology in sales.
- Lead enrichment tools provide sales teams with better info about prospects
- Better internal communication can be achieved via tools with task management and chat functions
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software enables sellers save and manage customer information for future reference
- Sales engagement tools harness data and provide analytics to improve the sequence of interactions during the sales cycle
- Scheduling and integration capabilities of SaaS automate meeting creation and customer data entry, saving sellers time
Tips for implementing technology in sales
It might sound like a lot of work, but implementing technology in a sales department isn’t all that complicated if:
- Sales operations departments efficiently select and set up sales technology so that sellers can work better
- Sales onboarding and technology training are in place with references for when someone is stuck
- The right hardware and software are in place to help rather than hinder sellers
- Sales departments use a SaaS that tackles integration, sales engagement, analytical forecasting, and deal guidance all in one, such as Revenue Grid.
Understanding tech sales and the role of tech in sales
Tech sales companies have a lot to gain from implementing the right hardware and software in their sales department. Meanwhile, as the world becomes more dependent on technology, tech sales people are looking at high job security, better salaries, and opportunities to move up the ladder – making it an ideal career move for all you tech-savvy sellers!