What Is Tech Sales? How to Launch a Career in Technology Sales.Aug 28, 2022
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's smart to get into the tech sales industry. The career path is experiencing steady growth, is accessible with a bachelor's degree, and often offers on-the-job training. In a time when the economy is anything but reliable, going into the ever-growing tech field is a smart move.
Whether you're thinking about getting into the tech industry for the first time or you're already in IT and are thinking of making the move into sales, getting started with a new career venture is exciting. If you've never worked in tech sales before, it can be confusing to understand exactly what the field looks like when it comes to day-to-day work.
Here, we'll explore everything you need to know to decide whether getting into tech sales is the right career path for you, from understanding what a tech salesperson's day-to-day job responsibilities are to understanding the salary you can expect to make working in the field.
What is Tech Sales?
As a tech salesperson, you're working to help customers get the tech solutions they need to make their business or personal lives easier.
Exactly what you're selling to customers will depend on your company. Some people in tech sales sell hardware, while others sell software. As a tech salesperson, you're responsible for listening closely to clients to understand their needs, and helping them discover the hardware, software, or service solutions that your company provides to solve their problems.
How Do You Get Into Tech Sales?
If you're someone who loves technology and working directly with people, tech sales may be the perfect career fit for you. If you don't currently work in the tech industry, it can be tough to figure out how to break into the field.
Here are some solid ideas that can help you get your foot in the door to your tech sales dream job.
Leverage Previous Sales Experience
If you've worked in sales before, you already know the basics of getting a customer on board with a product or service–no matter what type of industry you worked in before.
If you never had the title of salesperson at a previous job, that doesn't mean you weren't selling. Think about deals that you closed in previous jobs, or how you worked to get new business into your company. If you worked for commission or worked in a job where you had to convince others to purchase a service (personal training sessions, booking a unique travel experience, upgrading a credit card), you've worked in sales–even if you've never thought about it that way.
Don't be afraid to talk up your previous experience when interviewing for your tech sales position. Your potential supervisor will want to see that you have what it takes to get customers on board with their products or services, and some of your work history likely demonstrates your ability to do exactly that.
Use Certification Programs To Your Advantage
Having a sales background can be a smart way to get a job in the tech industry, but sales experience isn't all that matters.
Going through a tech sales certification program doesn't just show your potential employer that you have what it takes to do the job well–it also shows that you're willing to take the initiative required to learn how to succeed within your role in the company.
Popular certifications for those interested in getting a job in the tech sales industry include:
- Certified Sales Professional (with the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation)
- Sales Growth Certification (with eCornell)
- Certificate in Tech Sales (with the University of Washington)
You don't need to wait to complete your certification to let your potential future employer know that you're in the process of learning more about the industry. Telling them that you've registered for a certification or are in the process of completing a certification can show that you're serious about getting the job.
Get Serious About Networking
Like many things in the professional world, knowing the right people can make it easier to break into the world of tech sales. According to LinkedIn, more than 7 out of 10 new hires occur due to networking. If you're looking to get a job in tech sales, reaching out to those in your circle can be the first step toward getting the connections you need.
In addition to reaching out to old colleagues and current peers to learn more about available positions, you'll also want to be sure your online information is accurate and up-to-date. Take a look at your bio and resume on career hunting sites, and follow people from the companies where you dream of working. Don't be afraid to reach out and start a conversation with those who have an in at a place you'd like to be.
What Does a Tech Salesperson Do?
Your exact responsibilities as a tech salesperson will depend on several factors, including whether you work with personal or business clients, the type of company you work for, whether you sell software, hardware, or services, and more. Some tech salespeople travel for work, while others work from home. Others work in a traditional office environment.
Before you begin the process of actually selling technology to customers, you'll need to know what your company offers–inside and out. Getting to know the products well will be one of the first parts of your job in tech sales.
After you fully understand what your company has to offer and begin to work directly with clients, your days may include:
- Talking with clients to understand their technology needs
- Creating technology solution packages for clients
- Troubleshooting with established clients who are looking for new tech services or products to serve their growing businesses
- Writing sales reports to drive future marketing and sales efforts
- Collaborating with other tech salespeople to create packages for high-end clients
- Recording client details within company software programs
- Developing and tracking personal sales goals
When interviewing for a tech sales job, it can be helpful to ask what a typical day on the job looks like. Some people in tech sales spend much of their time on the phone, for example, while others work to develop presentations for companies to tell them more about the services and products that they offer.
What Does a Tech Salesperson Sell?
As mentioned above, there are three basic categories of tech sales: hardware, software, and services. Below, we'll explore what each facet of tech sales entails.
As you're reading this article, you're using a piece of technological hardware. The concept of tech hardware is simple: it's any physical product that runs software. This can include various devices, such as servers, desktop computers, notebook computers, laptop computers, phones, routers, and more.
Many companies find that their hardware product needs change as they grow, and it can be exciting to work with clients and see how their needs change as their business becomes more successful. As a tech salesperson, you'll get to recommend hardware products that can help your clients support their new and exciting business needs.
There are two options when it comes to selling software products to clients: on-premise programs and SaaS (software as a service) programs. On-premise programs are installed directly on the hardware of a business or company. SaaS programs run on the internet (the client logs on through a browser to access the software).
Companies and organizations across nearly all industries require software products. Whether you're working to sell automated grade books to an educational organization or are selling an email app to a finance company, you'll be able to help companies boost their productivity by offering the latest software products.
Most of us have been there–struggling to figure out how to get a software program to do what we want it to do, or getting frustrated trying to hook up a piece of tech hardware. Tech and IT services help companies and/or individuals find the tech solutions they need when things aren't going well (or when things could simply be more efficient).
As a tech sales rep, you wouldn't be the one offering the technology services to customers. Rather, you'd be discussing your company's consulting services., mMatching them with IT services offered by your company that could help them maximize productivity.
Technology Sales and IT Sales: What's the Difference?
A tech sales rep generally works to sell a customer on a software or hardware product, while an IT sales rep works to sell a customer on services that are needed after their software or hardware is purchased. This doesn't mean that an IT sales rep is simply working with the company to get their new software or hardware up and running (although that certainly can be a part of the job). Often, IT sales reps watch how a company is utilizing its new software or hardware and help the company to decide whether its purchase was a good fit for its needs. From there, an IT sales rep might offer additional products or services to help drive the organization's success.
Why Choose Tech Sales?
From being super interested in tech to loving the process of getting to know clients while working through a sale, there are many reasons why tech salespeople enjoy what they do, including:
- High demand: Technology isn't going anywhere, and neither are jobs in tech sales. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technology sales jobs are expected to grow by about 8% over the coming decade.
- Low barrier to entry: Unlike other high-paying jobs, tech sales jobs typically require a bachelor's degree. Someone who did not go to college but has experience in sales and/or technology fields may also be eligible for a position in tech sales, depending on company requirements.
- Saying up-to-date on trends: If you love learning about what technology does to make life easier, it can be fun to learn more about the latest trends and developments in the tech world. Often, a salesperson's passion bubbles over to their clients, both making the job more fun and making it easier to close a sale.
- Pay: According to Glassdoor, the average salary for someone working in tech sales is $106,594 per year, before considering bonuses and commission payouts. Compared to the average salary for all jobs in the United States–$56,310, according to Mint–a career in tech sales is lucrative.
- Career security: Technology is constantly evolving, and as more companies automate their processes, new technology develops. Constantly changing technology means that tech sales jobs are not going anywhere.
Cons of Working in Tech Sales
Like any job, some aspects of working in tech sales can be tough to manage. Some people who work in the field say that technology updates can be stressful, as they have to learn the ins and outs of systems as they develop and evolve. Others say that it can be hard to find new customers, as many large companies already have an established relationship with a tech salesperson. Solving customer problems can also be tough, especially when customers don't have the technical language they need to fully explain their problems.
Thinking About Making a Career Change?
Working in tech sales can be a fun, lucrative, and exciting career path for people who love technology and solving problems. You don't necessarily need experience in tech or sales to get into the field, and earning a certification in tech sales can help you get your foot in the door. If you're looking for a position with a high salary and a low barrier to entry, getting into tech sales is a smart move.