When people think about working in the tech industry, they often picture a developer sitting in front of a computer and coding all day long. However, studies show that almost half of open positions in tech are for non-technical roles. Companies need administrative workers, lawyers, designers, project managers, marketing specialists, financial analysts, and sales representatives. In fact, the last is among the most in-demand professions in the field.
What does a tech sales representative do? What skills does one need to succeed in this role? What kind of earning potential does this position offer? And how hard is it to start a career in tech sales? We will answer all of these questions in this article.
Tech Sales Job Description
The term "tech sales" refers to selling tech-related products and services: software applications, hardware, IT support, etc. This process includes researching potential clients, reaching out to qualified leads, demonstrating the merits of specific technologies, preparing proposals, negotiating terms, and post-sales assistance. Tech salespeople are responsible for all these steps.
These professionals use their business acumen and knowledge of technology to generate revenue while ensuring the best customer experience. Tech sales reps act as consultants who uncover client pain points and develop solutions using tech products.
Now, let us take a close look at the primary duties of a tech sales representative.
What Are the Responsibilities of Tech Sales Representatives?
Although the day-to-day tasks of technology sales professionals vary depending on the company structure and the product, they usually revolve around the following areas:
- Assessing competitors and monitoring current market trends
- Searching for new sales opportunities and identifying potential leads
- Reaching out to prospective customers
- Analyzing customer needs and suggesting appropriate technology solutions
- Performing demonstrations of products and explaining how they can help clients with their businesses
- Preparing quotes and proposals, negotiating terms, and administering customer accounts
- Developing long-term relationships with clients, managing their requirements, and providing them with technical support
- Arranging training and preparing support materials for the employees of clients
- Reaching out to the existing customers and suggesting upselling opportunities
- Setting sales targets and meeting monthly sales goals
- Tracking sales and preparing reports on closed deals
- Updating records of communication with clients in internal CRM systems
In smaller companies, one sales representative can take care of the entire sales cycle from start to finish. Larger organizations usually divide these responsibilities between several sales professionals with different job titles. In the next section, we will discuss the most common job titles in tech sales.
Job Roles in Tech Sales
To understand the difference between various roles in tech sales, we need to know the stages that the typical sales process follows:
- Prospecting: Search for potential clients and analyze their needs. This process might involve online research, networking at conferences and industry events, or connecting with possible customers on LinkedIn.
- Lead Qualification: Analyze if a prospect is a good fit for the product and evaluate the chances of this lead becoming a paying customer. Sales reps need to gather necessary information by researching potential clients' businesses and conducting discovery calls.
- Presentation: Demonstrate a product and explain its benefits to qualified leads.
- Handling Objections: Even when the demo was excellent and the sales professional perfectly explained how well a technology is suited to the client's needs, the client will likely have lingering questions or concerns. A tech sales representative must use their knowledge of the proposed technology to handle any objections.
- Closing the Deal: Handle all activities that take place when both sides are ready to close the deal, including preparing quotes, negotiating terms, signing contracts, etc.
- Follow-up: Even after the deal has been closed, the job of a tech sales rep is not done. Reps keep building strong business relationships with customers by supporting them and ensuring their satisfaction with the product. Tech sales representatives also look for opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.
In simple terms, tech sales job titles tell us which part of the sales process each professional focuses on:
- Business Development Representatives or Sales Development Representatives are responsible for generating and qualifying leads. Then they pass qualified leads to sales team members focusing on actual selling. The daily tasks of these representatives include researching new business opportunities, cold calling, emailing, social selling, handling discovery calls, and analyzing if a prospect is a good fit.
- Account Executives, Sales Managers, and Sales Engineers try to convert leads into paying customers. They prepare presentations and demos, explain all technical details, work with client concerns, draft proposals, negotiate terms, and prepare contracts.
- Account Managers and Customer Success Managers focus on the post-sales stage. They ensure that clients are happy with a product, resolve possible issues, and process renewals or upselling.
Depending on a company's size, business model, and technology, the responsibilities of a tech sales representative vary. However, one thing all of these sales positions have in common is a high base salary. Let us look at earning potential in tech sales careers now.
How Much Do Tech Sales Professionals Make
Based on Glassdoor data, the median salary for a Technical Sales Representative in the United States is $93,189 per year. For a Sales Engineer, the median salary is $103,407 per year. To reach this income level, you do not need to have 15 years of experience in tech sales. Earnings are high even at entry-level positions. According to Indeed, the average salary for a Business Development Representative (which is a starting role for many tech sales professionals) is $63,968 per year. On top of the yearly base salary, tech sales representatives often get commissions and bonuses based on performance.
In addition to high salaries, tech sales careers offer a promising job outlook. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that about 7,300 new positions will open in the field each year through 2030.
By now, you might wonder what skills are needed to start such a lucrative career. We will answer this question in the next section.
Required Tech Sales Skills
Tech sales representatives have a solid knowledge of the technology they promote, a deep understanding of the sales cycle, and soft skills that help them build strong business relationships with clients.
When it comes to technical expertise, sales professionals develop and enhance their skills while they work. Since representatives may sell a wide variety of tech products and services, it is hard to know beforehand what skills you will need. If you plan to start a career in tech sales, we recommend figuring out which area interests you most and focusing your research on this area. Whether your interest is cloud solutions, IoT, data center equipment, or anything else, you can learn about related technologies and become better prepared for roles suited to your interests.
To succeed in tech sales, you need a strong understanding of the sales cycle used at tech companies and proficiency with the tools used during the sales process. Before applying for jobs, make sure you know the basics of the sales cycle and can discuss terms such as pipeline, prospecting, and upselling. You can not learn every organization's exact processes to automate the sales cycle, but do some research and get familiar with popular tools like Salesforce or Pipedrive. Employers also expect applicants to have basic computer skills, including proficiency with standard communication and productivity tools such as Zoom or Google Workspace.
The most important soft skills are listening actively and communicating effectively. However, when we talk about having excellent communication, we do not mean persuading people to buy things they do not need. Tech sales is about listening to potential customers, understanding their challenges, and suggesting the best solution for them. Tech sales representatives should also possess good presentation skills and the ability to explain complex technical concepts in a way that is easy to understand.
Another crucial skill for salespeople working in tech companies is adaptability. Tech sales is a very dynamic field. Technology evolves, new tools appear, and markets change. A tech sales rep needs to be able to adapt and learn quickly.
This list of requirements might look quite long and make it seem extremely tough to get started in tech sales. Is this true?
Is It Hard to Get Started in Tech Sales?
Despite high salaries and a promising career outlook, getting a job as a tech sales representative is not difficult, and entry barriers are relatively low. There are several reasons for this:
- Employers know that good salespeople come from various backgrounds. Rather than requiring formal education, they look for the right combination of skills and provide training as a part of the onboarding process. So, you can get the job even if you do not have a degree in computer science or business administration.
- The demand for tech sales representatives is high. As the tech industry grows, companies need more and more salespeople to translate the value of their products to customers. At the time of writing this article, Glassdoor shows 46268 technical sales jobs in the United States, and there are 23397 open positions on LinkedIn.
- There are many entry-level positions in tech sales. Usually, people with little or no sales experience start as BDR or SDR and then move to Account Executive or similar roles.
- Depending on the time and money you are willing to invest in learning the necessary skills, you can choose from multiple education options: tech sales bootcamps, online courses, offline training programs, college education, or self-study.
If you think that a career in tech sales will be a good fit for you and are willing to put some time and effort into additional education, you can start applying for jobs in just a few months. Of course, having a solid plan in place and the guidance of experienced mentors will speed up this process and make it less stressful. And you can get precisely that by enrolling in Tech Sales Training at Careerist. If you have not read about it yet, learn how Careerist can help you get a high-paying job in tech sales quickly.