If you’re interested in the tech industry and want to work closely with some of the world’s most influential innovators, then a tech sales position is a great way to get in on the action while also making a solid living. In addition to being one of the fastest career paths to a six-figure salary, there’s rapid job growth in the tech and software sales sector, with both established tech companies and new startups. With ample tech sales roles, there are a plethora of exciting career opportunities, while new technologies and challenges keep the job interesting.
What Is Technology Sales?
Tech sales, as the name suggests, is the sale of technology—whether that be software, hardware, or services—to organizations of all sizes, from mom and pop businesses to multinational corporations. Almost every company that produces technology has a sales team, who solicit potential customers and convince them to purchase their tools and services. If your employer uses a specific technology—whether it be hardware like Android devices and Apple laptops, or software like Slack, SAP Concur, or Dropbox—a technology salesperson likely sold that software to your organization.
What Do Tech Sales Representatives Do?
Being a tech sales representative entails more than just demonstrating a company’s products and meeting sales quotas. Tech sales often involves a multi-step process, which includes lead generation, analyzing and understanding the needs of prospective clients, identifying an organization’s internal structure, knowing how to present technical products as a solution to an organization’s existing problems, and continuing to support an organization once they become a client. In other words, technology salespeople are advocates for both their company’s software and the clients who use those products and services.
Tech Sales Job Description
This description for an Enterprise Sales Associate role at the communications and technology company ServiceNow is typical for an Account Executive/ Tech Sales job listing.
Meet or exceed Monthly, Quarterly and Annual sales objectives.
Manage sales opportunities and business relationships over the telephone with influential contacts within Small, Mid-Market, and Commercial Accounts.
Focus on understanding an organization’s business drivers, challenges, pain points and how ServiceNow solutions map to these.
Strategically prospect within key verticals to develop new opportunities and pipeline
Follow the Value Selling sales process to win new business, expand withing existing accounts and ensure contract renewals
Collaborate with an extended team and coordinate resources necessary to further sales cycle such as Solution Consultants, Customer Service, Partners etc.
Provide timely and accurate information to management such as forecasting, territory plans, strategic account plans etc.
Working towards daily, monthly & quarterly KPI metrics such as new prospect meetings, pipeline generation, ACV bookings and Renewal Rates
Mentor team members and work on collaborative projects to help bring value to the team
Occasional travel for training and/or meetings may be required.
Required Tech Sales Skills
While a college degree isn’t required for a career in tech sales, certain technical skills and soft skills—many of which can be learned on the job or through comprehensive bootcamps—are needed in order to be a successful tech sales representative.
Hiring managers typically look for candidates who have strong interpersonal skills, a sales background, a history of collaboration, and who can learn and use sales tools such as CRMs, forecasting technologies, databases, and business intelligence software. In other words, a tech sales representative needs to be able to use their company’s tools and technologies to help generate and manage leads. When it comes to soft skills, a tech sales representative needs to have the curiosity and drive to identify and develop prospective clients.
Average Tech Sales Representative Salary
The average salary for a tech sales representative will vary, depending on the specific role, years of experience, level of education, industry, location, and organization. Many sales reps also earn commissions on top of their base pay, which can substantially boost their yearly salary.
Entry-level tech sales representatives have an average base salary of around $48,000 a year, with commissions bringing the average compensation to around $75,000, according to LucidChart.
Mid-level tech sales representatives have an average base salary of around $62,000 a year, with commissions bringing their total average compensation to around $126,000.
In more competitive markets like San Francisco and New York City, mid-level tech sales reps can make around $116,000 in base salary, according to Glassdoor, with commissions potentially doubling that.
Senior-level tech sales professionals have an average base salary of around $95,000, with commissions and bonuses bumping their total average compensation above $150,000.
In more competitive markets like San Francisco and New York City, senior-level tech sales reps can make around $126,000 in base salary, according to Glassdoor, with commissions potentially doubling that.
Job Roles in Tech Sales
Although all tech sales representatives should be familiar with their company’s full sales pipeline, not every salesperson is responsible for every step of the sales process. Below are some of the key tech sales positions and their respective duties.
Business Development Representative
Business development representatives, or BDRs have many names (ADRs, SDR, LDR, BDR, XDR), are often the first point of contact between their organization and potential clients. In addition to researching prospective leads and identifying a potential client’s best contacts, a large part of the job entails cold calls, inbound lead management, networking, and nurturing leads so that clients can be moved along the sales process.
Account executives are responsible for closing deals with new customers and managing existing relationships with clients. With new customers, an account executive needs to have in-depth knowledge of their product, perform product demonstrations, have intimate knowledge of the prospective client’s needs, and be able to compare their organization’s software and services to the competition. With existing clients, account executives foster strong relationships to ensure that they remain loyal by checking in with customers after they have purchased software, answering questions, and letting customers know about new products and services.
Customer Success Manager
Further along in the sales process, customer success managers help existing clients troubleshoot their needs, upsell them on new products and services, and ensure that customers are happy with the software and services they’re purchased. CSMs are a source of guidance and support for customers throughout the lifecycle of the relationship.
Pros of Working in Tech Sales
In addition to competitive pay and lucrative commissions, there are many positive aspects of working in tech sales:
Opportunities for growth. With so many different roles on a sales team including business development positions, account executives, sales leads, team managers, and sales executives—there’s plenty of room for movement, which means ample opportunities to advance a tech sales career.
Building long-term relationships. Tech sales representatives build long-term relationships with an array of clients, which can be incredibly rewarding. These relationships can also lead to a larger professional network, which in turn can lead to even more opportunities.
Getting close to the industry action. Tech sales representatives are some of the first to sample the latest technologies and hear about new directions for the tech industry.
Solving problems. Many tech sales reps gain a sense of satisfaction from selling products and services they believe in and helping clients solve actual business problems with their products and services.
Cons of Working in Tech Sales
Although an exciting profession, a career in tech sales isn’t for everyone. Below are some of the downsides of working in tech sales.
High pressure. With sales quotas, tough competition, and potentially indecisive customers, tech sales representatives can find themselves in stressful situations. Although some people thrive with sales goals and targets, a sales career can be too intense for some.
High learning curve. Tech sales representatives have to know the ins and outs of the tech products they sell. This can be challenging, especially when the industry is constantly evolving, new features and updates are frequently launching, and competitors are releasing their own products at a rapid clip.
Tough crowd. Even if a tech sales representative identifies all the right leads, demonstrates a thorough understanding of their prospective customers’ problems, and nails their pitch presentation, it doesn’t guarantee a conversion. Prospective clients can be finicky and existing clients can be demanding. So unless you have the interpersonal skills to manage client relationships, you might find a career in tech sales to be challenging.
Is It Hard To Get Into Tech Sales?
Tech sales has a low barrier to entry because, in addition to many junior positions being available, organizations are increasingly open to training new sales reps on the job. Comprehensive online courses, a tech sales bootcamp, or a tech sales training program, such as Significant Edge Sales Academy, also offer a mentor-supported pathway into a tech sales career. Here, students learn the technical knowledge needed for pipeline development and lead qualification while also getting opportunities to roleplay and perform mock presentations.