New developments in the tech field such as artificial intelligence, Big Data, and the Internet of Things fascinate many people who aspire to make a career in this sector. If you are one of them but are wondering what role in this industry will suit you best — consider tech sales!
It is one of the promising ways for both fresh and experienced tech graduates to set foot into this industry and seize the immense opportunities a tech sales career offers.
An overview of tech sales
The main objective of technology sales is to connect creative tech products with customers who need them. This means, as a salesperson you need to:
- Find the customers who can use the products/services being offered.
- Demonstrate to the customers how they will benefit by using the tech solution.
Technology sales may involve selling and marketing of:
- Hardware — computers, servers, peripherals, networking gadgets.
- Software — operating systems for various platforms.
- Services — applications, Big Data, cloud computing.
Your job duties will vary according to the business of your employer.
Main duties and responsibilities
Persons in tech sales have two broad objectives:
- Creating brand awareness about their company’s offerings.
- Helping the customer achieve optimum value from the technology solution they offer.
To accomplish these goals, they would have to:
- Understand the strengths and weaknesses of their domain technology.
- Search and identify prospective clients.
- Package a solution that meets the customer’s requirements.
A degree in technology is often not a prerequisite in tech sales, but, of course, it is a preferred qualification.
The challenges of tech sales
This dynamic field does pose a few challenges. They are:
- Keeping pace with constant product and service updates.
- Identifying and interacting with the right clients whose needs you can fulfill.
- Ensuring customer satisfaction at all times.
- Resolving any complaints or issues as and when they arise.
It becomes easier to overcome these challenges if your employer has an excellent customer support infrastructure along with robust processes to assist the sales team.
Advantages of a tech sales job
The benefits of working in technology sales far outweigh the challenges faced. They are:
- Opportunities to innovate using groundbreaking technologies.
- Interacting with highly skilled experts from a cross-section of domains in multiple industries.
- Many avenues to learn new things and grow along with teammates.
- Expand your business network into multiple industries, which can further help you:
- Improve your sales accomplishments.
- Venture into other technology domains.
The necessary skills
Historically, most of the technology sales professionals had backgrounds in sales. Of late, that trend is seeing some change, and individuals with technology experience are joining the ranks. As part of their technology roles, they might have demonstrated their abilities:
- Through effective client interactions.
- Presented technical product/process aspects to varied audiences, including clients.
- Participated in the sales process.
Despite these skills, only those persons with the right personality traits and go-getter attitude are moved into sales. Often, these traits are the factors that distinguish a successful sales professional from an outstanding engineer.
Stalwarts in tech sales explain that the sector has seen major changes. Today’s technology sales professionals need more technical knowledge than they did a decade ago. This is because:
- Technology is used in every part of every industry.
- Today’s decision-makers — CEOs and CIOs — are often tech-savvy.
The growing dependence on technical know-how among salespersons is one of the reasons why they are often called “sales engineers” today.
Modern businesses have incorporated technology strategy into their business strategy. This means that salespersons have to comprehend the big picture of both industries — their own and that of their customer.
He or she should be able to identify the problem faced by the potential client after one or more sales calls. For this, technical expertise is vital.
Transitioning into sales from a technical role
If you are from a technical background and aspire to be a tech products salesperson, relationship manager, or product specialist:
- While still on your technical job, collaborate with the sales team. You can:
- Assist customers with their product issues.
- Do joint calls with salespersons to offer technical perspective to prospects.
- Move into a pre/post-sales role.
- Learn when to focus on technical talk and when to shift to regular nontechnical discussions. This is most critical while interacting with persons from nontechnical fields.
- Understand aspects of sales that are beyond mere personality skills. You can even press the button (pun not intended) for a professional sales training course, for this purpose.
- Be ready to keep expanding your boundaries and moving into newer, unchartered pastures. Network! Who you know is as important as what you know.
- Sharpen your communication skills. The best performers among sales engineers are not only technically sound, but they are also:
- Active listeners.
- Experts in oral communication.
- Capable of making engaging presentations.
These will help you grow in the organization, add value to the customer and earn higher salaries.
The technology field offers immense potential for high earnings.
- The base salary range is usually between $40,000 and $92,000.
- Bonuses and commissions can vary from hundreds to several thousands of dollars.
- A good portion of sales professionals earn beyond $100,000 each year.
This field offers tremendous scope for growth and learning for new graduates. Knowledge of how the industry works and the skills you require to progress will go a long way in helping you decide if it is an apt career move for you.
Making the cut
If you are a self-assured person who can charm a stranger into buying your product after a short meeting, then you are ready to launch your tech sales career today with no additional training needed. On an average day, you will find thousands of entry-level sales positions listed in Silicon Valley and other tech centers of America such as Austin, Phoenix, and Atlanta. Many more are available nationwide as just stated.
If you feel that some of your tech skills are rusty, you might prefer to undergo a training program.
Remember your capacity to pitch a sale for tech product and handle objections from a knowledge client needs to be spot on. A short training course will steer you in the right direction and put you in an advantageous position for a successful tech sales career.
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