You have a passion for technology and want to work in tech sales, but have never worked for a tech firm in your life. That's okay! Tech companies are putting more stock in your capabilities over your existing know-how.
Consider these examples from The Muse. Boost Media applicants need "a passion for technology and a lively phone presence". Swipely's Sales Development job listing emphasizes "enthusiasm and optimism".
Offset your lack of experience in the tech field with skills in other areas. Here are some ways to do it.
Take an Entry-Level Tech Sales Role FirstIn an interview, Kelly Champagne spoke about her journey into software sales. She found that an entry-level position was the best route to gain knowledge in the industry. This allowed her to develop a background while "[working] for a leading software company".
Research the Company's Sales Process
If you have specific companies in mind, Champagne recommends researching their values. In any relationship, it's important to see if their values compliment your own. If they do, then maybe it's a good fit!
Art Sobczak, President of BusinessByPhone.com, had some savvy advice for job-seekers, as well. He suggested reaching out to the company's sales department to better understand the culture. Some of the things he says to ask are,"how they sell, what's it like to work there, training, challenges they are facing, initiatives for the short- and long-term, and ask about their hiring process".
Show Off Your Applicable Sales Skills
Dona DeZube wrote that you need "demonstrated aggressiveness, such as having played a varsity sport." It's this "aggressive personality" that will get a manager's attention in the first place.
If you have previous sales experience, great. Sales is about results and you should play to your strengths. "Tell the employer how many sales you have made and how much money you brought in", writes John Klymshyn. In his Forbes piece, the author notes that it's important to "explain how you closed those deals."
Treat the Hiring Process as a Sale
Use every contact with the company as a way to showcase your sales skills. Sobchak said in the Forbes interview, "the entire process should mirror the sales process, with [you] being the product."
Ask questions! According to Forbes' Jacquelyn Smith, it shows that you're interested in the employer. This is the same philosophy as a call with a client. You're working to understand and address their needs. Sell yourself and be the solution for their problems.
Each interview should have a follow-up call. Published author Jill Konrath offers ideas on how to show the employer you're committed.
- “Put together 30-, 60-, and 90-day plans showing what you would do if you got the job.”
- “Send the vice president of sales a note telling him what you’ve done or learned since the interview.”
- “If you find an interesting article or white paper, you could send the vice president of sales a note mentioning that you thought he might find it valuable and why.”
Don’t Give Up
Landing a sales job, even in the software sector, is all about showing how well you sell. Learning the product comes with time. In the meantime, though, taking some of this insight will help you get closer to your dream role.