“One of the best things about tech sales is that just about anyone can do it,” reports co-founder and CEO of Pathrise, Kevin Wu. What he means is that the role does not require a strong background in hard skills and most people can transition fairly easily into the industry.
This is especially true with people who already have some experience in sales, whether it is retail, telemarketing, or online customer success. Those who have good people skills, patience, and a big personality are typically successful in outbound sales, which means they can cold call prospective clients and lead them down a customer journey towards the sale. These types of people could also enjoy lead prospecting as an outbound sales development representative (SDR) because they still get to learn and speak with people without having to stress about “closing” the deal.
Inbound SDRs work with warm leads from contact form submissions, email subscriptions, and phone call inquiries. They communicate the value of their product and help the customer work through hesitations. However, they are often still not responsible for closing the deal. Instead, they will often finish the conversation and connect the customer to a more experienced salesperson who acts as the “closer.”
These more experienced salespeople, often called account executives, have to know their product inside and out. They typically need to do product demonstrations for prospective customers and generally have to act as the expert on the product so that they can answer any and all questions that might stand in the way of the sale. In addition, account executives want to tactfully convince customers to increase what they are buying, often called upselling, so that the company makes more money. After the customer becomes a client, account managers take over the relationship and help keep the client happy while continuing to upsell them.
But, sales roles are not only for extroverts who would be happy talking on the phone all day. Online customer success positions have been booming since more and more companies realize that it is easier for customers to submit requests online and it is cheaper for companies because they can process them more quickly online than on the phone. Customer success is certainly under the tech sales umbrella because happy customers are key to company growth. To be successful in customer success roles, candidates need to show that they are personable, patient, empathetic, and independent. In addition, strong communication skills as well as typing abilities are important. Some of these roles might require a typing test or situation roleplay as part of the interview process.
Tech sales jobs are on the rise and will continue to grow. In fact, in 2020, LinkedIn reported that sales development representatives are one of the most in-demand roles from tech companies hiring right now. People who have the people skills and former sales experience should consider getting into this highly lucrative and rapidly expanding field.