Are you applying for your first tech sales role? Understanding the titles alone can be overwhelming. Run a search on any job site for tech sales, and you’re likely to find openings for Sales Development Reps, Account Executives, Account Managers, Sales Engineers, Client Success, Pre and Post-Sales Engineers, Channel Sales, Regional Sales, Inside Sales and more. How do you know what type of tech sales role is the best fit for you?
Don’t waste your time by blindly applying to random positions. Consider these five tips to help you narrow the field to the roles that are the best fit for you:
1. Decide between new business and account management/renewal.
What does your ideal sales career look like? If you prefer to develop long-term relationships with your clients, then you should consider an Account Manager position. Should you prefer the chase or the excitement that comes along with signing a new client, however, then an Account Executive role may be the best path for you.
If you’re not sure, there are many resources that can help you decide what type of position is the best fit, like personality or sales assessments. Many of these assessments are free and available online.
2. Look at the company, not just the job.
Choosing a company that’s the right fit for you is one of the most important decisions you make in the process. Do your research and find out:
- The size of the business (revenue and employee count)
- Industries they sell to (target market)
- Who the buyers and end-users of their products/services are
- Their tenure in the market – are they established and recognized, or are they a startup?
- What are their growth plans (and prior growth rates)?
All of these data points are critical in determining if the tech sales role is with a company where you can invest years of your professional life.
3. Think about product categories.
Being part of a product category that interests you is critical to success in sales – if you’re not excited about what you’re selling, you won’t enjoy your job, and it will show in your sales.
Also know that some product categories utilize specific sales models that you may like or dislike. For example, many IT Security companies use a similar sales model, in which they pair Account Executives with Sales Engineers. These teams sell as a unit, and they are dependent on each other for success. VARs (value added resellers) often have similar models. If you prefer a team sales environment, look for product categories and roles that integrate this sales model.
4. Find out the company’s leadership style.
The leadership style of the business should align with what you are looking for. Many sales professionals who are new to the industry want (and deserve) hands-on leadership. If that’s the case, be sure to choose a position on a sales team with a low rep to manager ratio – no more than 8:1 (8 reps to 1 manager).
You won’t always find these details in a job description, but you can reach out to the hiring manager or someone currently on the sales team to find the answers to these questions. If not, make sure you find out during your interview.
5. Does the company have great sales culture?
Sales culture is arguably the most important data point in choosing the right position. Great sales culture takes a lot of time, resources and intentionality to develop, and companies spend a lot of time and energy to get there. It’s a safe bet that companies with outstanding sales culture are good options for entry level employees or those who want to advance their careers by entering a new tech sales role.
How do you determine if a company has a great sales culture? Ask for a call with one or two of their current sales reps. Be sure to ask specifically about the sales culture and for examples of how their culture impacted that particular rep.
Don’t randomly apply for just any tech sales jobs. You may get an interview and land a position, but will it really be what you are looking for? If you want to find the most fulfilling tech sales role for you, do some legwork before you apply. Ask good questions, and make a smart career move that will propel you forward.
Have no sales experience at all? You can still apply! Check out How To Get Hired in Sales When You Have No Sales Experience