How to Get into Software Sales

Did you find yourself contemplating a new career, one that is more challenging, offers more flexibility, but also touches on your existing skills? Then maybe you’ve considered software sales, but don’t know how exactly should one start a career in this particular field and couldn’t find much useful information. Whether you’re a college graduate who is just building his professional path or you already have years of experience in another field, this comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about breaking into software sales and starting a new lucrative business adventure on different terms.

You could work in a company, from an office, or you could actually work from home and still make the decision to move into IT sales the most profitable decision of your life. People are getting increasingly interested in this type of work since it allows them some flexibility when deciding how to organize their working hours, but also because of the possibility to earn handsome sums of money. What scares people away is that it sounds kind of abstract to some and others might be clueless about ways for one to start working as a software salesperson. It is not nearly as hard to start as some might think, but it’s more a matter of diving right in and learning how to make your first steps.
 

SO, WHAT WOULD YOU ACTUALLY DO?

Confused about what exactly does someone in IT sales or an entry-level Business Development Representative do? Well, their primary jobs are basically qualifying inbound marketing leads to pass along to the Account Executives, for whom they also set business meetings through LinkedIn, cold calling, emailing or networking. When breaking into the field, your first job title will probably be one of Business Development Representative. You will be kind of a liaison between your company’s sales and marketing teams and your role will be to contact potential business customers, but also developing and maintaining relationships with potential clients. Through doing this job your end goal should be to learn the necessary skills to work as an Account Executive, Sales Engineer or Account Manager. You should really see the job of a Business Development Representative as an (often well paid) training program for becoming a big shot IT Account Executive.

To do this job, you should be goal oriented and naturally driven, since one of your responsibilities will be meeting sale targets, but you also really need to have good people skills, because you need to cultivate relationships, present the company in a good light and give good after-sales care to customers. You should also be able to recognize your clients need and show your client how your product meets those needs.
 

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU NEED?

To work in software sales, one doesn’t necessarily need to be an M.I.T. alumni (not that it wouldn’t help). Almost all backgrounds can shift into IT sales if they want to and are ready for a little bit of skill polishing and are naturally driven and ambitious. Say, you worked as a car salesman, but you want to dive into the world of IT sales. If you can sell yourself and are ready to learn, go find work in the automotive software industry and use your previous experience as a plus!

Same goes for example if you were a drummer and now you want to transfer into software sales (although, admittedly, that would be drastic) - just find work for a company that sells something related to music. Just really be ready to sell yourself. Also, most companies will ask for a Bachelor’s Degree when hiring for the role of Business Development Representative.

Any major could potentially help you because there is all kinds of products and companies, but it would help if you were tech-savvy.

What would definitely be a good idea is asking a friend that already works in software sales what skills he thinks you should work on.

Fortunately, there are ways to get some extra education on the subject for a nickel or even for free. Ask around - your friends and family might know someone that can hire you or get you started in an internship program.

Whatever your skills and weaknesses might be, work on them both. There are several great websites that offer cheap or even free courses on almost anything that interests you, but also YouTube tutorials may help with some small tech doubts you might have.

We found 5 great websites that offer courses, we hope you find one that might help you personally:

 

UDEMY

With an average 800 new courses added monthly, Udemy is definitely more pricey than it’s other online education counterparts, but you can read reviews on the course before paying, so you can make an informed decision. Also, Udemy offers some of the best courses available online, and prices vary greatly, from 10 to 100 USD. But you know what they say, knowledge is the best investment.
 

EDX

 

Founded by Harvard and MIT, EDX is partnered with 130 nonprofits, universities and companies to deliver the best educational courses to you. It’s a nonprofit, open source platform and you can use it to advance your knowledge on almost any subject.

 

COURSERA

Partnered up with some of the best US universities, Coursera started offering 10 different course pathways leading to a certification from one of the associated universities (Stanford, Penn, Michigan).
 

LYNDA.COM

One of the pioneers of online learning, Lynda.com offers numerous online video courses, so it’s perfect for visual learners and was once deemed “the Netflix of learning”.

Reasonably priced and even offers a free month!
 

UDACITY

 

If working on your tech-skills is where you want to focus your energy, Udacity is definitely your best bet. You pay for courses monthly and it’s also very affordable.
 

BOOKS:

Maybe you prefer reading to taking online courses, or maybe you want to combine the two? Here are the best books on IT sales.

 

VENTURE DEALS: BE SMARTER THAN YOUR LAWYER AND YOUR VENTURE CAPITALIST

By Jason Mendelson and Brad Feld

This book will teach you about the world of venture capital and help you learn how to raise and make millions. It was recommended for IT sales professionals by Forbes magazine.

 

As a veteran of eight tech startups backed by venture capital firms, Venture Deals has been essential to my ability to raise millions in capital to fund and exit companies. -

Michael Koenig,

 

THE LEAN STARTUP

By Eric Ries

Do you want to learn about the world of startups and new ways of approaching new markets? This book is a must-read.

 

Rather than wasting time creating elaborate business plans, The Lean Startup offers
entrepreneurs - in companies of all sizes - a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt
and adjust before it’s too late. Ries provides a scientific approach to creating and managing
successful startups in a age when companies need to innovate more than ever.

Kim Hartman, Digital Creative

 

NEVER EAT ALONE

By Keith Ferazzi

If you want to expand on the importance of building strong, honest and reciprocal relationships, this book is a must-read. Learn how to climb the ladder not through dishonest, interest-based relationships, but through honest interaction and the art of reaching out to others.

 

Everyone in business knows relationships and having a network of contacts is important. Finally we have a real-world guide to how to create your own high-powered network tailored to your career goals and personal style.

Jon Miller, CEO, AOL
 

COMPUTER SOFTWARE SKILLS

OK, so how ‘bout your computer skills? Just how tech- savvy do you need to be to work in IT sales?

Well, this greatly depends on where exactly you plan to work and which role do you want to presume. Of course, having the basic computer skills is non-negotiable. It would be good if you had some knowledge of CRM software as well. Otherwise, most companies will not expect Hall Finney to apply for the role of their Business Development representative. It’s a great plus if your computer software skills are amongst your strengths, but if not, the IT sales industry still has room for you (if you are driven and ready to learn).
 

SOFTWARE SALES SALARY

Let’s talk money - working in IT sales can really earn you a hefty sum. According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for Software Sales Representatives in the USA is 100,800 USD/yr. Of course, this is not an entry-level position salary. Working as a Business Development Representative, you will probably be looking at around 44,000USD/year.

 

ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE SALES

If perhaps you choose to work in enterprise software sales, you might be looking at even more money, but also - more pressure.

Top performers in this field earn 400,000 USD/year. Let that sink in, knowing the average salary in the US is 46,000 dollars.

Think of the enterprise software sales as the elite. Obviously, it takes years and knowledge climb to this level. In a good year, it isn’t impossible for a good enterprise software sales.

The best salaries are usually in mid to large independents where the sales plan is usually more aggressive. But the pressure is big too since the top performers earn when the target is reached or exceeded - but then the next year’s target is going to be even bigger, and for some, that will be too stressful. But you know what they say - the higher the risk, the higher the reward.

THE GO TO MARKET COMPANY

 

The Go To Market Company was designed as a network for older IT Sales Professional to use their most valuable asset - their personal network and contacts - to their best advantage. Move from the condition of an employee to one of an entrepreneur who earns based on results and start your careers best chapter.

Furthermore, at TGTMC we appreciate the experience of older Sales professionals and we recognize their desire to keep up with today’s fast-pacing world and polish up their expertise and skills, so we offer a range of tools to fulfill this need.

Interested in cashing in the skills and networks you acquired throughout your long, successful career?     

Join our network to enjoy our services and grow with us!

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