Business Insider reported that at top-paying enterprise software companies the top 20% of their sales team make between $250-350,000 for a software sales salary.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran with tons of industry knowledge or you’re looking to find your first SaaS sales job, a career in tech can be very rewarding both professionally and financially. This career choice is great for individuals who are curious by nature as well as competitive.
The SasS sales career path can take a few different shapes. For example, many companies hire entry level Sales Development Representatives (SDRs). The SDR job is usually about creating high volume touchpoints with ideal customer persona. It’s a common starting point for many software sales careers, and can be considered the engine that drives revenue growth.
As you get wins under your belt as an SDR, you may get the opportunity to move into an Account Executive (AE) role. This can be one of the best software sales jobs. It is your job to close new business with the warm leads that you receive from your SDR team. If you are a strong problem solver who can uncover pain points for your prospective customers, then this can be a helpful step in your software sales career path.
We talked to 8 leaders in the Powderkeg community and curated a list of actionable items you can use to build a meaningful career as a software sales representative:
1. Be Curious
“Let your curiosity drive you. Constantly question darn near everything – what’s working? What’s not? Why? Sales should always live in the continuous improvement mindset – evolving with buyers, the market, and your product/service. But in software sales, especially early-stage venture-backed software sales, the stakes are often higher because change is rapid and our ability to keep pace, at a minimum, will often define our ability to be successful. Asking questions leads to running tests. Running tests leads to finding more of what can work.
Justin Clifford, Head of Sales at Demandwell
“In the world of software sales there are always a lot of trendy buzzwords and techy bells and whistles. That’s all well and good, but ultimately the best sales people keep it about the basics: being curious, asking great questions, listening, and telling a story rather than rattling off facts and features. If you stay focused on the value/impact your product brings to each prospects’ unique challenge, you can’t lose.”
Margaret Henney, Director of Marketing at Covideo
“I have often found the best sellers are truly curious about understanding their buyers. what their pains our, how their business works and what their goals are. they are able to speak very intelligently about the needs of the customer (and not just ask questions) and give real suggestions on how to solve problems. if you can really learn how your customers businesses operate, you can give recommendations that matter. if you don’t understand their business, you’re mostly just stuck asking questions and not adding a ton of value to the conversations you are having.”
Jimmy Speyer, SVP of Revenue at Logixboard
2. Don’t be a feature pusher
You’re not Billy Mays selling OxiClean on an infomercial. You’re in software sales, and it’s your job to uncover your prospect’s pain to find out if your technology solution is a good fit to solve the problem.
“Avoid the “feature-dump” at all costs. In software sales, you are usually selling a product with a lot of moving pieces and opportunities for customization. If you attempt to tell your prospect about all of them, it will result in information overload. Instead, work to understand the unique needs of your buyer. To be successful, you need to be great at identifying the challenges that your buyer needs to solve today. From there, you can pull out 2-3 key features to focus your sales conversation around. This makes it easy for the buyer to understand the value of your software for them.”
Leslie Venetz, Founder at Sales Team Builder
“My team focuses on asking 2 questions: 1. There are some companies that do what we do. What made you (click on our website, book a demo, etc)? If the answer is specific, you’re 80% of the way to closed won. If it’s generic or vague, you need to start from the basics … and you may be being “price shopped”. 2. What’s your big problem? We phrase this more efficiently, but this answer can be used during follow ups… “is ____ still needing solved?”
Andrew Leshak, Head of Sales at Ziptility
3. Be timely
Technology moves fast. What works today isn’t guaranteed to work tomorrow. Just because a strategy works for one company doesn’t mean it will work across other tech sales companies.
“The only difference between selling software and selling anything else is the rate of change…which means fresh marketing leads, better sales enablement, and new product features are always right around the corner to make your job easier. But that mindset is a trap. The best salespeople in tech take ownership over their own success and know how to maximize their current resources.”
Ian Illig, VP of Sales and Customer Success at Powderkeg
“Constantly reinvent yourself. Your learnings, tactics, approach, and mindset need to continuously evolve. What worked well for you last quarter won’t necessarily work for you this quarter. Join communities, listen to podcasts, and find mentors. Never stop learning.”
Kevin Mulrane, Sales at SaaStr
“Talk less and listen more. By prioritizing your prospect’s world over your own, you’ll be perceived as confident (and competent) and you’ll have the information you need to present a solution that is custom fit for their specific situation or challenges.”
Brad Smith, Leadership Consultant at ADVISA
Implement these strategies in your day to day, and before long, you will be writing a book on “How To Become A Software Sales Rep.”
Ready to explore some of the fastest-growing tech startups? Look for companies in hot industries with room to grow. Take the time to research each company by reviewing their website, product reviews, and online profiles.
If you are interested in exploring sales career opportunities in the Powderkeg community, check out our collection of best companies for sales jobs.
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