Software Sales Jobs: How to Snag That Tech Sales Role

Larry knew he wasn’t the model fit for a software sales job. While he did have credible selling experience, a lack of tech background seemed too big a factor to ignore.

Does this mean Larry should give up his dream of becoming a part of the SaaS world?

Of course not.

If you, like Larry, want to step up and become a part of software sales, you’re at the place.

Read on as we cover software sales jobs in more detail, including what the niche is, the job description of each sales role, and how to break into the software sales job market space.

What Are Software Sales Jobs?

As a software sales executive, your main responsibility is to provide your client with a SaaS product that helps them solve a problem. You position your organization’s product or service as the best solution to your prospect’s pain point.

While you advocate on behalf of the company whose product or service you’re selling, you also have to factor in your prospect’s requirements and preferences to find the best possible solution.

How Much Do Software Sales Representatives Earn?

The good news is software sales representatives have high earning potentials because their goal is revenue growth. We’re talking well into six figures—provided you put in the required effort.

Your sales salary depends on certain factors, such as:

  • Experience: The more years of experience you have, the more leverage you have in employment contract negotiations.
  • Work Ethic: The harder and more often you work, the more money will make.
  • Position: If your job involves dealing with big accounts, you’re likely to earn more.
  • Location: Tech capitals like New York, San Francisco, and Austin offer higher sales salaries.
  • Company Size: Applying to larger and more established companies means better salaries and compensation plans as opposed to applying to startups.

Interestingly, your take-home pay is made of different building blocks, namely, your base salary, commission, profit-sharing, and bonuses. Let’s review each of these elements in more detail below.

  • Base Salary: Your base salary is the amount you’ll learn regardless of your performance. This is the number employers show when advertising the job. You also receive compensation, but most companies keep their compensation plans private.
  • Commission: Your commission is the percentage of the total sales you close. Generally, software companies offer 10% of the revenue you close, but a few companies also offer kickers, where the commission rate increases exponentially as you go higher above the quota. For instance, you may earn 12% commission at 110% of quota and 15% at 120% of quota.
  • Profit-Sharing: Profit-sharing is a compensation plan, where you get a percentage of the company's profits.
  • Bonuses: You can expect a bonus when you hit a certain threshold, but there are times when companies offer it randomly. Still, it's better to treat bonuses as extra income as they're generally the smallest portion of the total earnings.

Types of Software Sales Job

Here’s a rundown of the different software sales jobs, along with a brief description of what to expect for each title.

Sales Development Rep

Average salary: $48,535

A sales development rep (SDR) creates opportunities for new potential clients to meet with company salespeople or AEs. You can advance from the post of an SDR to an AE or sales manager.

Outside Sales Rep

Average salary: $62,215

An outside sales rep is responsible for building relationships in outside markets. For instance, a company may hire an India-based outside sales rep to build client relationships in the Asian market. Instead of reporting to the main office, an outside sales rep reports to sales managers or the VP of sales.

Generally, the next step of an outside sales rep is to transition into the role of an AE or sales management.

Account Executive

Average salary: $64,875

An AE is responsible for managing client relationship growth by successfully advocating for the clients’ requirements while representing their organization’s ability to provide for those requirements. A successful AE can become a part of sales management—even the VP of sales.

Post-Sales Account Manager

Average salary: $63,283

As the name suggests, a post-sales account manager steps in after a deal has been closed to maintain the client relationship. They’re also responsible for renewing contracts, upselling existing contracts, and providing critical feedback to software engineers to improve the product.

Post-sales account managers can apply for the position of sales manager or VP.

Sales Manager

Average salary: $70,909

A sales manager oversees sales teams, training and managing them to ensure every individual sales rep meets their respective sales targets. The manager's primary responsibility is to execute the predetermined sales strategy and report back to the VP of sales.

A successful sales manager can advance to sales leadership roles, like the head of sales or VP of sales.

VP of Sales

Average salary: $194,634

A VP of sales (also known as the head of sales) oversees the sales of the entire organization. Their job description includes crafting and implementing a sales strategy to maximize each salesperson's selling potential. In addition, they work closely with the marketing team to reinforce an organization’s marketing and sales efforts.

At smaller companies, the VP of sales also hires other salespeople and other members of the sales team.

Considering it’s an executive position, a VP of sales can transition laterally to other executive positions like CEO or CFO.

5 Actionable Tips to Break Into Software Sales

Excellent pay, growth potential, remote working facility, growing industry… software sales jobs tick all the right boxes. But the question is how do you break into tech sales and hold your own in front of other prospect candidates? Here are a few tips.

Get the Relevant Background

You’ll find tons of free resources on the internet, but if you can spare some money for a recognized certification course, get it. It will help your job search.

After exploring the different kinds of software sales jobs out there, you should know the type of sales job you want. Based on it, you should apply for the relevant certifications to beef up your resume.

Moreover, sales experience is translatable, regardless of the domain. As such, presenting your “performance against quota” and other sales-rated successes will also help you stand out.

Brush Up Your LinkedIn Profile

You need a “serious“ LinkedIn profile—one you can use to make a good impression and drive conversations with sales recruiters.

Here are a few LinkedIn best practices to brush up on your profile:

  • Upload a professional picture for your display picture.
  • Actively send connection requests to people in software sales, be it an entry-level employee, sales manager, or even a thought leader.
  • Try to get at least 500 connections. This will send a positive message that you’re serious about making professional connections on the platform.
  • Look at people with the software sales job you want and see what their profile looks like. Try to mirror that in your own profile without going overboard.

Research the Hiring Organization Properly

Before your interview, you should know everything about the hiring company’s product line and the use cases they address. If not, you can very well bid adieu to the job.

Understand if this is really a traditional sales role or if it leans into customer success? Is this one of many new remote jobs or will you be based in an office? Are they hiring account executives or SDRs? What is the companies value proposition and how do they deliver on it?

This will take some effort, especially if you’re new to the role of a software sales executive, but visiting the company website is a good starting point. You can also look up reviews on popular review platforms like Capterra and G2, as well as check out case studies, articles, and blogs posted by the company.

Even better if you can contact existing customers and reps at the company.

Familiarize Yourself With the Tools, and Workflows SaaS Sales Managers Look For

Software sales teams have elaborate workflows and use a wide range of tools, ranging from CRM to sales enablement to lead generation. Find out what tool your target organization uses and familiarize yourself with them to the best of your abilities.

Go into the interview explaining your proactive pipeline management, using the tools the company already uses and you're half way there.

Knowing the hiring organization’s tech stack will improve your chances of landing the job. Plus, it shortens the learning curve, helping you work more efficiently.

Highlight Your Selling Skills

Confidently tell the hiring manager about your winning sales attributes, including your:

  • Past sales records, especially if you helped your previous company get more clients
  • Team player and leadership abilities
  • Ability to receive and implement criticism
  • Past entrepreneurial work to show you’re familiar with corporate selling

A sure-shot way to land that software sales job is to establish yourself as the right fit for the position. Don’t shy away from proving your worth to the hiring manager.

The above tips will surely help you snag a role in software sales easily. If you want more sales-related guidance, you can sign up for our sales training program to learn how to make selling simple and close more deals.

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