How To Start A Career In Software Sales (No Experience)
Few careers have as much potential for advancement as that of a software sales professional. Several billionaires and tech investors, including Donald T. Valentine, Larry Ellison, and Mark Cuban, all began their careers in technology sales. With the explosive growth of emerging tech in health, energy, and media, a role in sales is not only a chance to become immersed in a high-value field but also a chance to dramatically elevate your earning potential.
But you may be asking who am I and why should you continue reading this article, well I’m Zoe, and I’m one of the professional resume writers here at CareerDreaming.com. Me and my team specialize in advancing the career of sales professionals and we’ve launched the careers of hundreds of software sales professionals who had no previous experience.
So let’s get started…
As you’re well aware software sales is not an easy career to break into, so we’ve created both a Short and Definitive Guide to starting a career in software sales when you have no previous experience.
The Definitive Guide contains expanded details about industry salaries, tasks performed by entry level software sales reps, the software sales career path and the types of sales positions within a software company.
As this is the short guide, we will focus exclusively on how to get into software sales via the entry level position.
The entry level position: Sales Development Reps.
Sales Development Reps (SDR) are responsible for cold-calling new potential clients and creating an opportunity for said clients to meet with company sales people or Account Executives.
Average base salary: $48,000
Average total compensation: $75,000
Notes: The SDR role is the best path to an actual sales role, where there’s more upside potential for commission-based earnings.
For a more detailed look at the compensation structure for a SDR get our Definitive Guide sent to you free.
Before you can apply for SDR positions you’ll need to know what tasks they perform day to day and think about how your current skills are transferable (details of each task is expanded upon in the Definitive Guide along with having examples of transferable skills).
SDR Day to Day: Basic Tasks.
Research: This means that part of your day will be spent researching accounts (companies) or specific prospects that may be a good fit for your company’s product.
Making Contact: When reaching out, the goal of an SDR is to gauge whether the prospect has an interest in the solution you’re offering. Only then can it be passed onto the Account Executive (AE).
Outbound Calls: This can involve calling leads that have never heard of your company before. Other times, you may reach out to someone who has already expressed interest in your solutions.
Inbound Calls: This is easier; however, the drawback is that these leads are not vetted beforehand. As a result, they may not understand your solution or be able to afford it.
Emails: You may also send emails as a method of contact. When doing so, customization is key. Potential customers often receive hundreds of emails per day, and yours will need to stand out.
Social Media: Some companies will also have you send messages to potential customers through social media which will involve targeted messages to perspective leads.
Qualification: When contacting leads, you are highly focused on qualifying them. This is a process of accessing whether these potential customers are a good fit to purchase your service.
Budget: The client needs to have enough budget available to make the commitment, because at the end of the day, the goal of sales is to make a profit.
Authority: It can be difficult to reach the person with the authority to sign a contract, the person you are speaking with may not be able to make a final decision without consulting someone higher-up.
Need: Once you find the person who can make a commitment, you need to assess whether they have a legitimate need for your offering. If there is no use case, it’s unlikely a deal will close.
Timeline: You will also need to assess how soon the client needs the product implemented, and what their purchasing process looks like in order to determine when the deal can be closed.
Follow-Up: A large part of being an SDR involves following up on calls, emails, and social media conversations. Here, polite persistence is key.
For a more detailed look at the day-to-day basic tasks done by an SDR, along with examples of matching transferable skills get the Definitive Guide.
The measurement of Metrics are common KPIs for a SDR; these are controllable, and measure the inputs you’re performing to move the sales process along.
SDR Day to Day: Activity Metrics.
Dial Numbers and Email Quantities: Sales teams often measure the activity of SDRs by the number of calls dialed, emails sent, or some similar metric within a given timeframe.
Demo Sets: As stated before, your team may require you to demonstrate the software to prospective customers a certain number of times per month.
SDR Day to Day: Performance Metrics.
Pipeline Building: Building “pipeline” (the value of all the deals you or your team are currently working) is always encouraged, but you may not be held to a particular target.
Sales Call Reviews: Management reviews sales calls for quality and to provide feedback for the future. While quality may not be measured in any tangible way, it is something to keep in mind for the position.
Management: Management provides direction and training for the SDRs, setting the playbook from which the sales team works. This can include everything from specific language to tactics, and more.
Other SDRs: Typically, each SDR will be paired with one or two others under one AE. During the day, these other SDRs will be available “pretty regularly” to communicate with you while you work.
For a more detailed look at the day-to-day metrics undertaken by an SDR, along with examples of matching transferable skills get the Definitive Guide.
We hope this short guide has given you a better understanding of the types of transferrable skills you’ll need to demonstrate you have on both your resume and in your subsequent interview, if you choose to pursue a career in the lucrative business of software sales.