How to Get a Job in Tech Sales
In the next 2-3 minutes, you’ll understand how someone with no experience, or even degree, can break into tech sales.
Why might someone want to do this? Because There are over 140,000 open tech sales positions for SaaS companies right now. And all of them start at or lead to over $100,000 in salary. Usually averaging at around ~$80k starting salary and rising to above $100k in 1-2 years. And NONE of them require experience or a degree.
If you google, “How to get a Job in Tech Sales”, you’ll find a variety of results.
You might see generic blog posts about getting your resume ready, applying online, and doing thorough research before you interviews.
That’s about as useful as screen-door on a submarine.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find results for “risk-free” bootcamps that charge anywhere from $10,000 all the way up to $30,000 to secure a postion. I could never in good conscious recommend that.
That might be a viable model for a coding bootcamp. But charging that to teach sales is outrageous. Trust me. I am a tech sales rep.
I too was in the position of the person googling “How to get a job in tech sales” and seeing a variety of mediocre options. I don’t know if I realized it back then, but there is no good source of truth for the average person to break into this exploding industry.
So here I am – explaining how I got multiple job offers with no prior experience. Hell, I was coming from a background that is known for being “stiff” and “introverted”. So that wasn’t going to be working in my favor. I detail this process in far greater detail in my course Tech Sales Fast Track. But here is the general idea.
The 3 keys to break into tech sales
- Become a “risk-free” candidate
Most if not all entry-level tech sales jobs require “0-2 years experience" in something sales related. There is a huge emphasis on the “0” here. In other words, you don’t need experience to get an entry-level job. Hence, “entry level”. If you see applications that say “0-2 years” in something sales related – disregard and keep moving forward. It’s great if you have that and it might get your resume a second look, but it by no means will get you the job.
For this position and most others there are two initial considerations that a hiring manager must satisfy:
- Can this person perform this job function?
- Given a reasonable amount of training, can they potentially succeed in this position?
Without these two boxes checked out of the gate, you will not get far. The only way to check these boxes is to become “risk-free”. This means you have a combination of background, experiences (extra-curricular, professional, athletic, leadership etc), and drive that have a high likelihood of meaning you’ll perform well. Since there are no serious technical pre-requisites this largely amounts to having the right attitude.
This begs the question – how do I check these boxes. Hiring managers are looking for a few things to determine this.
- A genuine desire to become an SDR (The customary entry-level tech sales role) or sales development representative
- A competitive spirit
- An action-oriented person
- A Leader
- Someone who isn’t afraid of rejection
- Obviously sales related experience is a plus (but not a disqualifier by any means)
- And more qualities along these lines
Your resume is one of many ways to display these. Everything on it should be representing one of these qualities or one similar.
I’ll detail a few here.
Lets start with desire: Desire is only shown through actions. So you must detail some tech sales education you’ve done. And/or show that you performed lead gen, recruiting, or prospecting in another area of your life. It’s okay to make some stretches here if you have to. Recruiting for an on-campus organization is one example.
In an objective statement, make it clear this is the career path you desire. And in all of this, make sure you are using sales related keywords like prospecting, revenue, sales, lead gen and others.
Competitiveness: While not strictly necessary, this “type” of person is looked at favorably. Because a hiring manager knows you will stop at nothing to achieve your quota. Explain your sports career. Maybe it was the debate team. Or you were extremely competitive in school shown by a stellar GPA. Anything you’re good at can be spun as competitiveness.
Leadership: Were you a team captain? Were you the president or founder of an extra-curricular group?
I won’t beat a dead horse. Just one more note – if you’ve done any public speaking, cold-calling, or presentations be sure to include those on your resume.
The last thing to mention here is making sure your resume is extremely well written, concise, and with out any grammatical errors. These things are taken seriously as communication is one of the biggest factors in success as an SDR. If you can’t proofread your resume and or write a decent sentence you wont effectively communicate with a CFO.
In my course, I provide free resume template and show the exact wording I used to get 15 1st round interviews in one month.
Now as far as your resume goes, you are a non-risk in the eyes of the hiring manager. But that’s just the thing. Did you see that? You need to be risk-free in the ~eyes~ of the hiring manager.
People are catching on that Tech Sales is the new gold rush. There can be hundreds of applicants for 1 job. How do you make sure that the hiring manager sees your perfect resume?
- Get attention
As an SDR, it is your job to get attention and eyeballs onto your company. It stands to reason that if you can do this in the hiring process, then you can do this for the company you want to work for.
Not only do you need attention, but you need the right people’s attention. There are a couple of ways to do this. Contacting the hiring manager directly is the easiest and most obvious starting point. You can connect/message them on LinkedIn and email them directly. If your’re not afraid of rejection, you can cold call them – did you get the hint?
The next person you will want to contact is the SDR manager’s boss. In many cases this will be the Global SDR manager, the CRO, or the VP of sales. Anyone in that line of command. The reason is that if you make a strong impression on one of them, they might refer your resume down to their employee. You can bet your behind that if the SDR manager’s boss refers you then they will atleast give you a phone screen. Contact these higher ups in the same way you would the SDR manager but give extra emphasis to being concise. These people are extremely busy and sending them a 5-paragraph essay on your experiences is no use.
Next is any sales recruiter at the company. Most recruiters split in to technical or sales oriented. Check out their LinkedIn to make sure they are a sales recruiter and send them a nice email and a call. If you’re unsure of how exactly to word you email or cold call – I detail exactly what I said and did in the course.
“Getting attention” will be a function of how much action you take. If you send 10-15 emails a day to companies you’ve applied to, people will start to see. The same goes for LinkedIn and phone calls.
The last and MOST IMPORTANT aspect of getting attention is being the 1st person to apply for the job. A company like salesforce, twilio, hubspot, etc have hundreds of people apply to each job. You MUST be in the first 10 people that apply. That usually equates to getting your application in in the first hour that the job is posted. To do so, set LinkedIn alerts and check your phone every hour for new job postings. The alerts can take a while to get to your inbox which is why when I applied, I still checked manually almost every 30 minutes. It takes 10 seconds and is not a hassle.
- Be remembered (Cultivate an experience)
You’re a risk-free from an background and aptitude point of view. And you have some eyeballs on you since you’ve taken so much action in applying, emailing, calling, and so forth.
It’s clear that all those eyeballs on you mean nothing if they don’t remember you. People remember things better for a couple of reasons. People tend to remember things that are unique and stand out. Hopefully you are unique through your approach already. But you also want you messaging to be clear, concise, and MEMORABLE. This means it has your own personal flair – you must find this yourself through iteration. It could be funny undertones, shear creativity, or even formatted somewhat differently.
Another thing people remember is themselves. As soon as you open the email, try and find a common connection, interest, or light compliment towards the recipient. People love themselves, their name, something unique to where they are from, or even just a sports team. Include something like that and it puts a warm tingle in the other persons chest. That warm tingle can be the reason you get the job vs someone else. Remember – as far as capability goes, we have established that anyone who checked those two boxes off in the beginning is in the running. The rest is up to intangible elements in your application.
There are a few more ways to be remembered and I cover them extensively in the Tech Sales Fast Track. Along with all of the background knowledge, insights, strategy, and interview coaching you need to secure multiple job offers. The methods described have seen me and my other students obtain dozens of interviews and be on the fast track to six-figures.
If becoming a job ready SDR applicant in the next few days something your interested in go ahead and click here.
There you have it folks – while I could go on for hours (I have), I will spare you that and keep this post brief as brief as possible.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, comments, or thoughts.