Thinking about a transition to tech sales? Now is a great time to make a move. COVID-19 and the Great Resignation have created a ‘buyers market’ for sales professionals. Additionally, every year there are 1.35 million technology startups worldwide, and the best ones will be looking for exceptional sales talent to help them grow.
Tech companies have long paid better salaries than the average company. Tech-based wage growth is consistently higher than over the U.S. average wage growth, and tech-driven ventures pay an average of $102,000 more than double the current U.S. average of $48,000.
Here are five steps you can take to help you transition to tech sales and land a great job:
Identify your dream industry.
Start your transition to tech sales with a little research. If there is an industry you are familiar with or excited about, start there. Teachers are a great example; every year thousands of teachers transition from being educators to technology sales professionals, and starting in Education Technology (EdTech) can be a great gateway for them. They are familiar with the business and many of the products, and they can easily connect with their target audience (their former careers as teachers also helps boost their credibility).
The explosion of SaaS (Software as a Service) technology businesses will help. These companies solve real-world business problems with smart technology and are often industry specific. Start your research by looking into technology associated with products you have used or that have been used by your former industry.
Identify your ideal role.
Sales roles vary greatly, but there’s a client-facing role for everyone. The key to determining the right role is figuring out what role you will thrive in, based on your personality.
At a very high level, you’re trying to determine which of these roles you would be better at:
- New Business Sales – Sales Development Representatives, Account Executives
- Renewal Business Sales – Account Management, Client Success
- Technical Sales – Sales Engineers
Familiarize yourself with leading companies.
Once you have an idea of the industry, product and type of role you are interested in, it’s time to start the job hunt. There are a bunch of tools that can help you research potential employers: G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, Gartner, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Forrester and IDC.
Look for the following data points:
- Employee count
- Market share
- Revenue growth
- Company locations
- Target market
- Total addressable market (TAM)
- Employee and client reviews
Create a shortlist.
I know some sales professionals that go as far as creating a spreadsheet and assigning scores based on the data points they are interested in. Whatever method you use, create a shortlist of desired companies. Use LinkedIn, Glassdoor, the company’s website or TitanHouse to determine if they’re hiring for roles you’re interested in. If not, no problem – set up alerts so you’ll know when they are.
Be aggressive and persistent.
After you’ve created a shortlist and identified companies hiring for positions you’ll be a great fit for, APPLY! Be determined and persistent. Remember, how you approach your career search and interview process is how you’ll most likely approach your sales process.
Sales managers love it when candidates engage directly. Reach out through phone, email, LinkedIn, or other social channels. Let them know you exist and that you’re a great fit for their team.
Finally, when transitioning to tech sales and applying to your first role, remember to create a short and to-the-point resume and brush up on tech sales tools. It is also helpful to take an online tech sales class. And always be open to taking one step back in your career in order to take a five steps forward.