Landing your first tech sales job isn’t quite as simple as walking into just any average role. You need to think of a sales interview as an audition for the position itself. Summarily, if you want a job in sales, the first product you must sell is yourself – to your prospective employer. If that sounds a bit daunting, don’t panic, you got this! We break down exactly how to do this in 7 easy steps. And yes, it is possible, even if you have no experience.
7 Simple Steps to Your First Tech Sales Job
1 – Learn About the Sales Process
Before you embark on a technical sales career, it’s advisable to learn as much as you can about selling. Not least because the more you understand about the process and what each stage of the process entails, the better idea you will have as to how well suited you are to becoming a sales professional.
Additionally, the greater understanding you have of the sales process, the greater your chance of selling yourself during an interview.
Depending on the company you work for, you may see different versions of the diagram above. In a nutshell, the sales process consists of between five and seven steps:
- Prospecting – Finding potential customers. You might find them on LinkedIn, Quora, data obtained from trade shows or referrals from existing customers.
- Making contact – This stage can involve cold calling, emailing, contacting potential customers on LinkedIn or in-person meetings.
- Qualifying – Discussing the customer’s needs with them to establish whether the product you’re trying to sell is a good fit for the customer.
- Presentation – Presenting the customer will suitable solutions to their problem.
- Overcoming objections – It’s only natural for customers to have objections to what you’re trying to sell them. It’s your job to convince them that your solution best solves their problem.
- Closing the sale – Once the customer is happy, you can place an order for the product or service.
- Repeat sales and referrals – As long as you do a good job taking care of your customers, they may order from you again or recommend you to a friend. It may be your job to close the deal on these prospects, or your company may employ an account executive or account manager to handle repeat business.
2 – Consider Your Interests
Any employer will want to know what you’re passionate about and what motivates you. So before you even start looking for your first tech sales job, take a moment to appraise your interests and career goals. For example, are you excited by the practical applications of virtual reality? Or are you more interested in helping businesses find ways to glean vital information from massive data sets?
Knowing what you’re looking for from the outset can make your first tech sales job much easier to find. Below are a few questions that might help you identify your ideal role:
- Are you more interested in selling physical products, software sales or saas sales?
- Might you feel more comfortable selling to the general public or B2B (business to business)?
- Would you prefer to work close to home, or might you enjoy being field based?
- Do you prefer to have your weekends free, or do you need more flexibility during the week?
- What kind of company would you prefer to work for; small tech start-ups or global tech companies?
3 – Work on Your Communication Skills
A common barrier to a successful career in sales for many people is how much time they spend on the phone. So the more practice you can get with this, the better. Try calling friends, relatives, anyone who will have a telephone conversation with you. The more time you spend talking on the phone, the more comfortable you will be with handling technical work-related phone calls.
Another thing that holds people back from making it in sales is not listening enough. One of our directors always says we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. To be good at communicating, you need to learn to listen more than you speak.
4 – Build a Sales CV
If you have any previous experience as a sales rep in another field, make sure your CV communicates your capabilities. The kind of things an employer will want to see are:
- Increased sales by X%
- Grew market share by X%
- Consistently ranked in the top 3 highest performers for X number of years
- Increased client base by X in the last year
- Signed X new accounts each month
- Details of any awards you have received
What if you have no experience?
Don’t worry if you don’t have any previous sales experience when it comes to crafting a sales CV. Likely, you will still have exposure of some kind, whether from an earlier role, school, college or university.
Scanning a few job adverts for tech sales jobs will reveal a few key traits that hiring managers look for. Mainly, they want individuals who are motivated, target driven and have the power of persuasion.
To satisfy their criteria, consider examples in your CV that cover what the employer wants to see. Consider how you can demonstrate exceeding a set target, overcoming a challenge or persuading someone to do something. If you’re at the beginning of your career, don’t worry if you can’t think of a work-related scenario. Your examples could come from playing in a sports team, group work at college, a training course, or a hobby you do in your spare time.
5 – Search for Jobs
When searching for tech sales jobs, it’s advisable to seek advice from recruitment experts who understand the technology industry. If you’re just starting out, there is the possibility that they may not have any entry-level jobs available. However, good technical recruiters will advise you on any action you might take to access your chosen career path.
6 – Prepare for the Interview
Once you know the company you are interviewing for, research them like crazy! Study their website, look for news articles past and present, check out their social media profiles, find out who works in their sales team? Look them up on LinkedIn, and don’t be afraid to contact them and quiz them about their role.
Be honest about why you are contacting them and ask if they can give you any pointers. Don’t worry about it getting back to your employer. If anything, it will impress them that you’ve done such thorough research. Aim to answer the following questions:
- How long have they been in business?
- What products do they sell?
- How do they sell them?
- What sales development tools or tactics do they use?
- To what do they owe their success?
- What challenges do they have?
- How do they overcome them?
7 – Follow Up
If an employer is unsure about your suitability for your first sales job, they will often test you by not calling when they say they will post-interview. If this happens, don’t be afraid to chase up their feedback with a phone call. Taking the initiative will prove that you want the role and possibly give you another chance to sell yourself.
A Few Final Thoughts on Landing Your First Tech Sales Job
Tech sales can be an exciting and financially rewarding career. But if it’s your ambition to be a successful tech sales professional, you’re going to have to prove your worth. We hope that following the above advice will get you well on your way to landing your first tech sales job.
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