Salespeople are every tech company’s not-so-secret weapon: tearing through call sheets, closing deals and driving business growth. But who are these invaluable individuals? How did they reach such dizzying heights? And what’s in it for them? (Hint: It starts with “ca” and ends with “sh”.)
Earnings: £40-100k+ Salary plus *significant* OTE
Hang-Outs: Airports; Skype chats; business conferences; the office (occasionally); home (for pitstops).
Key Skills: Relentless pursuit of the deal; Jedi-like verbal manipulation; Solid tech understanding, in theory at least!
Secret Weapon: The fabled ‘black book’, in reality an iPhone packed with potential.
Ultimate Ambition: Bigger deals, bigger bonuses – a solid business future.
WHAT ROLE DOES SALES PLAY IN A TECH OR GAMING COMPANY? B2B tech businesses are only as strong as their customer base. Simply having the best product range, tech credentials or service offering isn’t enough – you need a go-getter to seek out prospective customers and seal the deal. Sales and account management is about securing and growing business-critical relationships. Tech sales, though, requires more than your standard set of tactics, involving complex digital products, multiple technical stakeholders and a background of continual sector evolution. No mean feat!!
WHAT KIND OF PERSON THRIVES IN TECH SALES? Tech sales absolutely isn’t for everybody. Even above and beyond a ‘standard’ sales role, tech sales can be tough going. Challenges include extremely long deal cycles, digital detail-wrangling and enormous competition. Thriving takes many characteristics: an absolute dedication to closing the deal; a natural ability to connect with people (even difficult “computer says no” roadblockers!); the business smarts to spot opportunities in a fast-changing sector; and, frankly, whatever else it takes to succeed. For those who break through the initial barriers, success tends to breed more success as contact lists grow.
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WHAT’S A TYPICAL CAREER PATH (AND WHAT’S THE *ULTIMATE POTENTIAL*)? It’s fair to say, few schoolchildren fantasise about a career in sales – but many who find their way to the field discover a profession they absolutely love. Take someone with 2-5 years’ solid sales experience (ie. revenue clocked up), who also understands technical products, ideally having worked in something slightly technical, and you’ve got the startings of a tech sales professional. At mid-level, roles can pay £40-60k plus bonuses but after 2-3 years’ of direct industry experience, that all-important black book can send earnings skyrocketing with directors, ‘heads-of’ and C-level salespeople earning £100k+, not to mention OTE that can more than double earnings.
HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE JOB? Cash really has to be at the top of the ‘highs’ list. Financial rewards are the prize that justifies what can in the early stages be a brutally thankless task, involving enormous levels of self-motivation, positive thinking, global travel and disappointment. Pressure rarely lifts: growth is always the goal. Celebrating the highs of success therefore takes on a whole new meaning: and with all that spare cash, splashing out on luxury holidays, big nights out, cool gadgets and flash motors definitely comes with the territory.
SO… IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, THEN? No, no, it’s about the business growth too! Although… admittedly, it is mostly about the cash. You don’t go into sales without at least a bit of earnings ambition. Smart salespeople, though, begin using their earnings to invest in tech projects and business ventures of their own – becoming rich is a long game, after all.
WHERE ARE THE BIGGEST CAREER OPPORTUNITIES RIGHT NOW? Top quality tech sales people are as rare as top quality tech developers: both are highly prized and in serious demand across the sector, worldwide. That makes tech sales a highly ‘candidate-centric’ market – meaning it’s up to the candidate to select companies, products and roles where they can really add value. Ultimately, if you’re going to be at the frontier of a businesses’ growth, you’d really better believe in what you’re selling!