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 sales salary
The average salary for a technology sales position in the U.S. is $106,614 per year, with an average salary of $72,532 per year, according to Glassdoor. However, your exact salary will depend on your position, job title, level of experience, and location.
For example, if you have a lot of experience in tech sales or have a higher-level job title, you can expect to earn more than the average salary. And if you live in a city with a higher cost of living, your salary will also be higher. Hence, there is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding how much a tech salesperson can make.
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.
How to get into tech sales
Here are a few tips to help you prepare yourself with everything you need to start a tech sales career:
- Research the field. Learn more about the role of a tech salesperson and what companies look for when hiring for this position.
- Decide if this career path is right for you. What are your goals? Do you want to work with computers or other technology? Do you want to stay at home with your family or travel around the world? Do you like talking on the phone? Are you comfortable meeting new people every day?
- Get a degree in a relevant field. Employers are looking for candidates with the right mix of technical knowledge and sales ability, and a degree from a good school will show that you have the potential to excel in both areas.
- Build up your sales experience. Tech sales jobs often require candidates to have significant sales experience, so it’s essential to start building up your sales skills as early as possible. If you don’t have formal sales experience, look for opportunities to sell products or services informally, such as through internships, part-time jobs, or even by convincing your friends and family to buy what you’re selling.
- Keep up with the latest industry news. The tech industry is constantly changing, and employers are looking for candidates who are up-to-date on the latest trends. Following tech news outlets and reading trade publications will help you stay on top of the latest industry developments and show that you’re truly passionate about tech sales.
- Make sure your resume is tailored to tech sales. When applying for tech sales jobs, it’s important to ensure that your resume is tailored to the specific position you’re interested in. Highlight relevant experience and skills and use industry-specific language to show you understand the tech sales landscape.
- Prepare for your interviews. Tech sales interviews can be very challenging, so it’s important to prepare as much as possible beforehand. Research the company you’re interviewing with and brush up on your knowledge of the tech industry. Practice common interview questions with a friend or family member, and make sure you have some good questions of your own to ask your interviewer.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing a tech sales job. Just remember to stay focused and dedicated, and you’ll be sure to impress potential employers.
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!