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how to get a sales management job

8 Things You Need To Do Before Applying For A Sales Leadership Position

Sales leadership positions are held by the elite. The men and women who earn a sales management job in tech startups or enterprises are the people who bring massive revenue and inspire huge results with their teams.

They have the strategy, experience, and methods to bring what the business needs to the table for their employer, their prospects, and their current customers, as well.

If you want one of these hot-seat roles, it’s not going to be an easy interview. You need to treat the process like a sale itself.

Here’s 8 things you need to do in order to land a successful sales management job:

  1. Know your ideal position.
  2. Find a niche.
  3. Understand how to identify key stakeholders.
  4. Make sure your job search is targeted.
  5. Be an advocate for your potential employer.
  6. Treat your interview like the sales process.
  7. Know how you’ll add value in the first 90 days.
  8. Get to know the people you’ll be working with.

1) Know Your Ideal Position

Within sales, there are many different departments that require leadership. For example, business development teams need different leadership and management compared to sales enablement or field sales reps.

If you happen to specialize in one or two of these departments, you need to look at larger companies to join.

Think about it. The VP Sales or CSO at a bootstrapped tech startup is going to have everything on his shoulders – the training, process creation and development, hiring, coaching and stack development.

But the VP of Business Development at an enterprise organization will have more narrow, specific focuses. This may suit your skillset better, as well as your previous work experience.

Consider if you prefer a department-based leadership role or being the head-honcho of the whole sales organization.

Finally, think about what type of work you most like to do. If you love to help people, being the business development leader will allow you to coach the SDR or BDR team. They’re learning, are thirsty for knowledge, and want to improve so they get promoted. This is a good fit for you.

Put together a list what you like doing and the corresponding positions that match your interests.

2) Find a Niche

You may already be working with a company that works with clients in the industry you are passionate about. You may be selling something you really care about. But, if this is not your current situation, it is extremely important to find it ASAP. Sales leadership roles are reserved for the elite, and sales leaders are expected to deliver elite results. There is enormous pressure in these roles. You do not want to question your choice of industry or employer after a few months in a new job.

It’s also important to remember that enterprise companies have numerous verticals they sell into. For example, you may think that joining the Salesforce sales leadership team means you would sell to X type of company, but not every rep and team faces the same niche. There will be room for movement when you consider this.

3) Understand How To Identify Key Stakeholders

Identify accounts – not employers – but continue your search by identifying which businesses are ready to bring you in.

Newly funded, growing, or even those businesses currently hiring are all viable accounts for you to review. Make a list of 10 at a time and research them extensively.

Think of the phrase “Go for the No” in sales. Research the companies in your chosen niche and industries until you find the red flag that indicates you wouldn’t want to work there.

Build a comprehensive list of target accounts for which you would want to work.

4) Make Sure Your Job Search Is Targeted

Listen to leading sales podcasts and you’ll hear the top performing sales reps tell the story of how they joined their company. Often, they have sold themselves an interview with their chosen account exactly how they would prospect into that same account.

This shows inventiveness, gives the business a taste of what you can do and what their team would be able to do under your tenure.

Map out the account, identifying the senior leadership team members. Find out who is on the sales team, look at their site, find their upcoming webinars, blog posts, join their email newsletter. Do everything to gather intelligence on the business so you can perform the best outreach your leadership has received at the company.

Don’t just drop in your resume and apply for a job via their site, or email the hiring manager. You can do that, but to have the best chance to land a great job and proving you are the right fit, do things the right way.

5) Be An Advocate For Your Potential Employer

One way to gain visibility and recognition is to socially surround the leadership team and the sales team. This will give you one-to-one recognition when you share the leadership team’s content. When they come to interview you or see you are showing interest, you already have the familiarity with the team.

It’s a great way to upgrade the standard conversation you have when you first walk into an interview. Instead of the small talk about your journey into the office or the weather, you get the “Oh, you shared my webinar last week, right? Thanks for doing that, we had a ton of sign ups!”.

Don’t just do that for the people on the team, do it for the business pages too. The marketing team will notice, and the network you already have might benefit from sharing of useful content from the potential employer (a win-win for both you and the network that benefits from the content).

Finally, imagine if you got the job and gained an inbound lead prior to your first day. Wouldn’t that be impressive?

6) Treat Your Interview Like The Sales Process

If you understand what the business needs or who it wants to hire, you can rest assured they want to bring change to the sales organization. Treat the interview like a pitch for a large business.

Prepare. Prepare. And prepare some more. Present exactly what you want to do and how you’ll do it. Remove the feeling and use of the word “If” from the thinking of the interviewers as much as possible.

Of course, you won’t have 100% of the information and understanding of the business during the interview, but be as close to 99.9% as you can and leave your future colleagues certain of exactly what you would do on Day 1 and beyond.

Allow for questions, come prepared with questions, and generally bring a solution to the table that makes good business sense. If you notice the sales team is young and you love to help coach, explain exactly that and lay out how you propose to help the young team learn and go on a journey to become better and winning reps.

Don’t come to an interview for a prestigious position and ask a couple of questions, answer theirs and leave like you’d been interviewed for a mid-management job. Leadership positions require leader-like preparation and strategy.

7) Know How You’ll Add Value In Your First 90 Days

Plan exactly what will happen with your arrival at the company. What tools will you want to use or look at, and why. What new processes might you want to explore, what new tactics do you have in your playbook that you would want to test? Share this during your interview process when you are at the more serious stages of the interview, not as soon as you sit down.

It’s important to stress with that you need to think hypothetically, but make your plan as realistic as possible. You don’t know the budget, nor what tools the company already uses. Explain that you want to give an idea of exactly what happens in your mind when you picture the first 60 days, 6 months, whatever time period is most comfortable for you.

This helps the leadership team work out what direction you’ll take. It’s not a land the job and assess and move; you’re showing you come prepared with a plan.

8) Get To Know The People You’ll Be Working With

This process has an element of scale where you’re not going to engage in 1200 conversations with potential colleagues when you’re at the early stages of formulating your top company list.

The benefit of this is to build relationships within the team and to show your real intention to join the team for reasons other than the salary. The one thing to be careful of is to not go too far with talking about where you are with the interview process and equally too far on the specifics of the work the people are doing.

software sales career paths

Software Sales Career Paths To Consider In 2018

Software Sales Career Paths

Here are the primary software sales career paths to know and understand:

  • SDR to AE
  • SDR to SDR Manager
  • AE to Sales Management

What do the CEO of Oracle, the founder of Sequoia Capital, and Mark Cuban have in common? All started their careers selling technology. Software sales is an excellent way to jump start your career whether or not you plan on working in tech long term.

In this article we’ll go over traditional and nontraditional career paths that begin with software sales. We’ll detail how much money you can expect to make and give you some tips on how to get where you want.

SDR to SDR Manager

Becoming an SDR Manager depends as much on the employee as it does on the company. Oftentimes a company doesn’t need a new SDR manager — if you work for this sort of company you won’t be able to get this position.

At rapidly growing companies there is often need for more SDR managers to supervise ‘groups’ or ‘teams’ of SDR’s within the general SDR organization. If you join a small startup as an early SDR before there is a SDR manager (and you’re reporting to the Head of Sales or CEO), you could evolve into the SDR manager if and when there are enough SDR’s to merit the position.

This is, again, based on how well you perform and how much respect people at the company have for you based on your performance and behavior.

SDR Managers, in the SF Bay Area, typically make between $120,000 and $180,000 annually. This is a position one could hold for life or that could lead to other management and operations roles. That being said it would be hard for an SDR manager to become a Head of Sales if they have no experience closing deals.

SDR to AE

Getting promoted from SDR to AE is very straightforward, and most companies should be able to promote you to this role within a reasonable timeframe. If your priority is to become an AE as fast as possible you should, as mentioned earlier, work for a small or medium sized company that’s growing and that sells to smaller companies. If you don’t mind being patient join a more established company like Oracle, SalesForce or Adobe.

AE’s in the SF Bay Area make anywhere from $80,000 to $500,000 annually. The top 20% of performers at Oracle make between $250,000 and $500,000. Medium sized software companies that service Fortune 1000 companies (NGINX, MuleSoft, LiveRamp) also employ AE’s who earn similar salaries.

Typically people start off as an AE selling to small and medium sized companies. By performing well, you’ll have the chance to sell to large enterprise accounts.

AE to Sales Management

Moving from AE into Sales Management within the SaaS world typically happens one of two ways:

  • Being internally promoted
  • Joining a small startup as the head of sales

In the first scenario, you’re working for a company that is expanding rapidly (doing well) or has some management turnover due to poor performance (struggling). In the initial scenario you’re one of the top performers and you’ve been with the company for a while. The sales team is now being split up by geography or vertical and managers are being appointed for each category. You’re now responsible for a team of AE’s and SDR’s and are officially in ‘sales management’.

In the latter scenario, you’re company isn’t doing so well so your head of sales is fired or leaves. Given that you’re the top performer, perhaps the CEO will make you responsible for the entire team’s success.

Like moving from SDR to SDR Manager or AE, moving into sales management primarily depends on performance (are you good enough to merit a promotion?) and if the company has a need for the new role. That being said it’s much harder to move from sales to sales management that it is moving from pre-sales to sales.

The Starting Point Is Almost Always The SDR Role

Almost all software salespeople start of as Sales Development Representatives (SDR’s).

If you’re unfamiliar with the term or position, SDR’s don’t actually sell software.

Instead, they help expand the pipeline of Account Executives (AE’s) by cold calling and emailing potential clients. The SDR role prepares a new employee to become an actual salesperson in the following ways:

  • SDR’s learn to deal with the pressure of having aggressive sales goals in form of a quota (not for revenue, but for meetings set).
  • SDR’s often have to explain details of the software and its use cases to potential clients in order when a potential client is on the fence about taking a meeting with an AE.
  • SDR’s have the opportunity to join their AE’s calls (or they should at a good company) and watch the AE complete demos and execute the sales process.

Think of being an SDR as being an apprentice. Depending on the type of company you work at you can expect to be an SDR for 6-24 months before becoming an AE.

How Long Do You Have To Be An SDR Before Leveling Up?

We’ve found two primary factors that determine how long you’ll be an SDR before you become an AE:

  • How large are the companies that your company sells to?
    • Enterprise sales are much more complex to execute. If you’re selling to Fortune 1500 companies you’ll likely take more time to be promoted as your managers will want to train you for as long as possible beforehand.
  • How large is the company you work for?
    • Larger companies typically take longer time to promote, as there is less growth than a startup that is doubling in size. Therefore there are less openings for people to move up to.

Consider MuleSoft and Salesforce. Both companies (who are currently hiring like crazy) are quite large and both companies sell to large companies (Salesforce also sells to small companies). If you browse around on LinkedIn for SDR’s and AE’s at these companies, its clear that it often takes nearly two years of being an SDR before becoming an AE. On the other hand if you work for a small startup that sells to small businesses its much more likely that you’ll move up to a sales role within 6-9 months.

How To Get Promoted In Sales

Being an SDR is a grind. The work is monotonous, stressful, and it’s safe to say that you want to get promoted out of this role as quickly as possible.

Here’s how you get promoted:

  • Perform well
    • Meet and exceed your quota every month
    • Do your best to be in the top 20% of your team
  • Behave well
    • Get along with your teammates and managers
    • Come to work ontime and don’t be the first one to leave
    • Be positive about working hard and set a good example

Other Sales Career Paths

Oftentimes sales people move into marketing or customer success roles if they prefer a less ‘intense’ role. We wrote a full breakdown on all the various sales roles you could evolve into as well.

The skills they learned doing sales for a few years (effective communication, problem solving for clients, time management) are very useful for account management. Additionally exposure to people buying software gives salespeople unique insight into ‘what makes people buy’, enabling them to be effective marketers.

Some salespeople succeed at moving beyond the sales floor and into the boardroom. The godfather of Silicon Valley venture capital, founder of Seqoia capital, who’s investments have a market cap of $3 trillion, Don Valentine, started his career as a technology salesman. He wasn’t selling software (this was in the 70’s, to early for that), but selling semi-conductors in that time period is comparable to selling software today.

There’s more examples. As mentioned before Mark Cuban and Mark Hurd (CEO of Oracle) started their careers selling technologies. Dan Fishback, Board member of several silicon valley companies and former CEO of DemandTec (IPO’d in 2008) started his career as a salesman at Unisys.

So there’s no limit to what you can do when starting your career in software sales. We hope this guide has given you a general overview of the various career paths you can take, and what you need to do to get where you want to go.

25 Tech Sales Companies Absolutely Hiring Like Crazy In 2018

Are you looking for your next sales job? We’re here to help. We’ve searched through various sources to find the best 25 tech sales companies that are hiring like crazy for various sales roles.

We hope you enjoy this list as much as we enjoyed making it. Also please note that some things (such as salaries listed) are estimates and should be nearly accurate but not 100%.

Here are some abbreviations used:

  • SDR – Sales Development Representative
  • ADR – Account Development Representative
  • BDR – Business Development Representative
  • ISR – Inside Sales Rep
  • SMB AE – Small business Account Executive
  • MM AE – Mid-market Account Executive
  • EAE – Enterprise AE
  • MNG – Management

1) Salesforce

Image result for salesforce logo

    • Location: San Francisco, NYC, Dallas, Chicago, Irvine etc.
    • Types of jobs: SDR, BDR, SMB AE, MM AE, E AE, Mng
    • Compensation: Variety
    • Glassdoor: 4.3 with 3k+ reviews

2) Oracle

Image result for oracle logo

    • Location: Redwood City, NYC, Austin, etc
    • Types of jobs: Various AE roles, most of which require at least 3 years of experience. Enterprise sales roles typically require 7 years experience.
    • Compensation: The average sales rep earns $110,000, top 20%er’s earn approximately $250,000, and the best sales reps earn around $500,000. Read about it here.
    • Glassdoor: 3.4 with 17k+ reviews

3) Mulesoft

Image result for mulesoft logo

    • Location: San Francisco, NYC, London, Sydney etc
    • Types of Jobs: ADR (their version of SDR), E AE
    • Compensation: ADR base salary is between 50k-70k and the AE’s have an estimated base of 90k-140k.
    • Glassdoor: 4.2 with 200+ reviews

4) Cisco Meraki

Image result for cisco meraki logo

    • Location: San Francisco
    • Types of Jobs: ADR, ISR, SMB AE, MM AE
    • Compensation: Base salaries range from below 50k for sales development jobs to above 70k for AE roles
    • Glassdoor: 3.8 with 193 reviews

5) Tibco

Image result for tibco logo

    • Location: San Francisco, Boston, NYC, Austin, Denver etc
    • Types of jobs: BDR, ISR, E AE
    • Compensation: Base salaries range from below 50k for sales development jobs to above 100k for Account Executive jobs. Tibco is rumoured to have even higher paid top sales people than Oracle. If you’re looking to make a bunch of money, this could be the place to go.
    • Glassdoor: 3.4 with 900+ reviews

6) Flexport

Image result for flexport logo

  • Location: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Amsterdam, Hamburg etc
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, Mng
  • Compensation: SDR bases range from 50-70k, AE bases range from 70-110k
  • Glassdoor: 4.2 with 50+ reviews

7) Sumo Logic

Image result for sumo logic logo

  • Location: Redwood City, Denver, London etc
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, E AE
  • Compensation: SDR average is $64,000 and AE average is $140,000 (total compensation)
  • Glassdoor: 3.6 with 179 reviews

8) Amplitude Analytics

Image result for amplitude analytics logo

  • Location: San Francisco, Amsterdam
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, E AE, Sales engineer
  • Compensation: SDR base is around $50,000 and AE bases are between 85k and 110k
  • Glassdoor: 5 with 37 reviews

9) Thankx

Image result for thanx logo

  • Location: Denver, San Francisco
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, Sales Director
  • Compensation: SDR base is around $50,000 and AE bases are around 70k
  • Glassdoor: 4.8 with 53 reviews

10) Invite Manager

Image result for invite manager logo

  • Location: NYC, Chicago, Dublin
  • Types of Jobs: BDR, CM, E AE
  • Compensation: SDR base is around $40,000 and AE base is around $90,000
  • Glassdoor: 4.8 with 37 reviews

11) Braze

Image result for braze logo

  • Location: SF, NYC
  • Types of Jobs: Enterprise AE, Mng
  • Compensation: Bases for AE’s are in the mid $100,000’s
  • Glassdoor: 4.4 with 24 reviews

12) ClearCompany

Image result for clear company logo

  • Location: Fort Collins, Boulder
  • Types of Jobs: ADR, AE, E AE
  • Compensation: ADR’s have bases of $50,000 and AE’s have bases of approximately $100,000.
  • Glassdoor: 4.7 with 32 reviews

13) Skillz

Image result for skillz logo

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, E AE
  • Compensation: SDR’s base salary is approximately $60,000, AE $90,000
  • Glassdoor: 3.8 with 63 reviews

14) Apptus

Image result for apptus logo

  • Location: San Mateo, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston
  • Types of Jobs: BDR, E AE, Strategic AE
  • Compensation: Average AE compensation is 95k
  • Glassdoor: 3.5 with 350+ reviews

15) Nginx

Image result for nginx logo

  • Location: San Francisco, Dallas, Dublin etc
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, E AE
  • Compensation: Average AE base is 72k
  • Glassdoor: 4.2 with under 10 reviews

16) Dealpath

Image result for dealpath logo

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Types of Jobs: AE, E AE, Sales Ops Manager
  • Compensation: AE base is between 80-120k
  • Glassdoor: 4 stars with under 10 reviews

17) Airtable

Image result for airtable logo

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, CSM
  • Compensation: SDR base is 60k, AE base is 90k
  • Glassdoor: Not enough data

18) Iterable

Image result for iterable logo

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Types of Jobs: SDR Manager, AE
  • Compensation: AE base is between 60-80k
  • Glassdoor: 4.9 of 17 reviews

19) Lever

Image result for lever logo

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Types of Jobs: AE, E AE, MM Sales Director
  • Compensation: AE base is between 60-110k (depending on seniority of role)
  • Glassdoor: 4.7 with 59 reviews

20) Talkdesk

talk desk logo

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, SMB AE, MM AE, Mng
  • Compensation: Average AE base is 78k
  • Glassdoor: 3.4 with 143 reviews

21) Zendesk

Image result for zendesk logo

  • Location: San Francisco, Dublin
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, Sales Director, SDR Manager
  • Compensation: Average AE base is 66k
  • Glassdoor: 4.4 with 329 reviews

22) Slack

Image result for slack logo

  • Location: San Francisco, NYC, Dublin, Tokyo
  • Types of Jobs: AE, E AE, Sales Engineer
  • Compensation: Average Enterprise AE base is 120k
  • Glassdoor: 4.8 with 106 reviews

23) Lyft

Lyft logo

  • Location: San Francisco, Dallas, NYC
  • Types of Jobs: BDR, Senior Field AE
  • Compensation: Average Senior AE base is 109,000k
  • Glassdoor: 3.8 with 222 reviews

24) Prosperworks

Image result for prosperworks logo

  • Location: San Francisco
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE
  • Compensation: Average AE base is 66k
  • Glassdoor: 4.4 with 38 reviews

25) Lattice Engines

Image result for lattice engines logo

  • Location: San Mateo
  • Types of Jobs: SDR, AE, Field Sales Director
  • Compensation: Average AE base is bewteen 100-120k
  • Glassdoor: 3.7 of 72 reviews
sales roles and salaries explained

8 Primary Sales Roles (And Salaries) To Know In 2018: Full Breakdown!

If you’re unfamiliar with the SaaS sales world and are considering entering it, the various sales roles you may hear can become quite confusing.

We’ve identified and categorized 8 primary roles within most sales organizations. What’s interesting to note is that only 3 of the 8 categories are engaged in actually selling a product, while the other categories are focused on supporting those doing the actual selling.

It’s also worth noting that often times, in small startups, a person will hold two of these roles.

For example a ‘Full Cycle Account Executive’ is a combination of pre-sales and sales role.

Likewise at a small startup, a lone Account Executive may manage 2 to 3 SDR’s, which would be a management and sales role combined.

If you’re thinking it’s time to move on from your current sales role and level up, this guide will help you visualize the different paths you could take.

8 Types of Sales Roles

  1. Account Executive
  2. Outside Sales Rep
  3. Sales Development
  4. Post Sales Account Management
  5. VP of Sales
  6. Sales Manager
  7. Sales Operations
  8. Sales Engineer

1. Account Executive

This, of course, is the central role to the whole sales organization. If you are a SaaS Account Executive, you are the one interfacing with clients as they come closer to making a purchasing decision.

Whether or not they sign, and whether or not your company makes money, ultimately depends on your ability to align your company’s services with your potential client’s needs.

Account Executive Avg. Base Salary (via Glassdoor)

account executive salary

SaaS Account Executives can make anywhere from $60,000 to $500,000 annually.

How much you actually end up making depends on the following factors:

  • How much demand is there for your product?
  • How skilled are you at selling your product?
  • How expensive is your product?
  • What is your commission structure and base salary?

The most common job title for this role is ‘Account Executive’ and its variants i.e. Enterprise Account Executive, SMB Account Executive etc.

2. Outside Sales Rep

This role is basically an Account Executive who doesn’t work in the main company office regularly (or at all).

Outside sales reps pursue deals with a company’s largest potential clients. They work ‘outside’ because they are meeting in person with their clients rather than over the phone.

A company based in SF may hire experienced Outside Sales Reps in NYC, Chicago etc to pursue business with companies in those areas.

This is a great role for people who like to be independent. It’s a role where if you’re hitting your quota you can do whatever you want with your day, because you’re not in an office full of co-workers and managers.

Outside Sales Rep Avg. Base Salary (via Glassdoor)

outside sales rep salary

Outside Sales Reps for SaaS companies are almost always well paid, earning an average base salary of around 60k, but with OTE’s can earn between $150,000 and $350,000 annually (some can make up to 500k).

3. Sales Development

As most B2B software companies know, marketing alone is far from enough to substantially fill the sales pipeline.

Enter the sales development team. You need highly skilled SDRs in order to scale your outbound sales process.

Salespeople, in order to deliver on revenue goals, need enough qualified opportunities.

SDRs are responsible for cold calling and emailing various potential clients, to spread awareness of the product and try to produce a meeting between said potential client and someone on the sales team.

Sales Development Avg. Base Salary (via Glassdoor)

sales development representative (SDR) salary

This role is typically a gateway towards an actual sales role. Compensation, including commissions, typically range between $50,000 and $85,0000 in the SF Bay Area.

The most common job title for this role is ‘Sales Development Representative (SDR)’ or Business Development Representative (BDR)’.

4. Post Sales Account Management 

Once a contract is signed, a SaaS company must work to maintain the business relationship with a client. This is very important because cost to gain a new client is often so high (marketing, sales commissions etc) that there is no profit from an initial year of doing business but only from a second year if there is a renewal.

In addition to technical support staff to fix bug related software issues, SaaS companies employ sales-minded professionals to maintain business relationships post initial sale.

These ‘Account Managers’ are responsible for checking in on clients, teaching new team members of the client how to use the product, and identifying up-sell opportunities. In some teams the Account Managers will be responsible for executing these up-sell opportunities as well, thus they engage in actual sales too.

Account Manager Avg. Base Salary (via Glassdoor)

account manager salary

SaaS Account Managers typically earn anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000.

5. VP of Sales

Sales leaders have a manifold job. While a salesperson is responsible for her own revenue, the Head of Sales (titled variously as VP of Sales) is responsible for the entire company’s revenue!

VPs of Sales are primarily responsible for creating a strategy that will enable all individual salespeople to be successful.

This may include tasks like messaging strategies for the product, determining which customers to target, organizing the team across verticals, and much more.

At a smaller startup the sales leader will also be responsible for hiring, as well managing the entire sales team.

This means holding sales people accountable for quotas, training and coaching salespeople etc.

At a large company the sales leader will manage several sales managers, and focus more on strategy and less on actual management.

Additionally, for very large and important deals, sales leadership may roll up their sleeves and get hands on involved in some selling. This is rare but it happens from time to time.

VP of Sales Avg. Base Salary (via Glassdoor)

vp of sales salary

The compensation for sales leadership varies widely. High level sales leadership at companies like Oracle and IBM likely earn close to seven figures in salaries. Yet sales leaders at startups who gain equity stand to earn a hefty payday if and when their company is acquired or IPO’s. Expect to earn at least 170k if you land this role, with the potential to earn 350k and above.

6. Sales Management

This role, when it is distinct from Sales Leadership, usually happens at medium sized companies or larger. This is because the sales leader can usually manage up to 10 people personally.

As a company grows, usually, the first sales manager they’ll hire or promote that is separate from the sales leader is the SDR Manager, responsible for the SDR team. SDR Managers can generally earn up to $120,000 – $180,000 annually, that’s with bonuses and commission included of course.

As a company grows more the sales team becomes split along verticals. These verticals can be based on company size (SMB, Mid Market and Enterprise) or on industries (Insurance, Manufacturing, Retail etc). Often times each vertical will have its own manager and these various managers will report to the sales leader.

While sales leaders create the strategy for the sales team, sales managers implement this strategy. They work with the individual contributors and combine encouragement, education, and pressure to make the team deliver.

Sales Manager Avg. Base Salary (via Glassdoor)

sales manager salary

Sales managers for SaaS companies will earn between $160,000 to $280,000 annually, with commissions and bonuses included.

7. Sales Operations

Support staff for the sales team in SaaS companies typically fall in two categories. The first category is those who work in ‘Sales Operations.’

At larger companies, sales leadership may not have the bandwidth to fully analyze all of the different procedures on the sales team.

In this case the operations team will, with the sales leadership, evaluate how things are done on the sales and pre-sales team to maximize effectiveness. The operations team is essentially responsible for making sure things are run smoothly.

Sales Operations Avg. Base Salary (via Glassdoor)

sales operations manager salary

People who work in sales operations often earn between $85,000 and $150,000 annually.

8. Sales Engineers

For companies that sell highly complex technical products, Sales Engineers will accompany sales people on client meetings to answer certain client questions and to run product demos.

While the Account Executive will address business concerns and implications of using their product, the Sales Engineer will speak with the client’s engineers about their technical concerns.

Sales Engineer Avg. Base Salary (via Glassdoor)

sales engineer salary image

These folks are often paid as high as software engineers, earning between $100,000 and $250,000 annually.

body language during job interview

How To Ace Your Sales Job Interview With These Effective Body Language Tips

We’ve all been there. Nervously waiting in the lobby for an upcoming interview mulling over what to say, how to say it and trying to anticipate all the possible questions that will get thrown our way, all so we can try to get one leg up on the other candidates and hopefully land that job!

And that’s great. Those are all definitely important things to think over but there’s another aspect to the interview that many people probably aren’t taking into consideration, and that’s body language.

What is body language? Good question.

In essence it’s the nonverbal communication that occurs between people on a subconscious level. It goes below the tennis match of spoken words that is the actual conversation of an interaction.

And let’s be real, it takes a certain degree of emotional IQ to recognize the body language of others, and respond to it accordingly.

Ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”? Well there’s quite a bit of truth to that.

When it comes to communication, only 7% of what’s being conveyed is actually carried out through spoken words. The remainder comes from body language and tone, which account for 55% and 38% of the overall communication respectively.

Although there is importance to what you say, maybe we’re disproportionately focusing on the one aspect of our communication. Maybe we should instead focus on the other aspects that make up the majority of what makes a great first impression.

Do you want to be 93% more effective in how you interact with others? If the answer to that question is yes, then read on.

Tone

As mentioned earlier, tone can account for 38% of what is being communicated on a subconscious level and for many people this actually makes a lot of sense intuitively.

“Sit down.”

In and of itself this seems like it would be a pretty straight forward statement. You want someone to take a seat. However, depending on the tone that’s taken in making this statement, there can be great degree of variation in its connotation.

For example, when spoken in a loud, angry and authoritarian manner much as a parent might say when reprimanding their child, the meaning is clear that the parent means business. The volume and anger convey to the child that there is a great level of disapproval in regards to the topic of discussion that is to follow.

Conversely, if that same statement is made in a calm and collected fashion much like a friend might say to another when having them over as guests, it now portrays a sense of welcoming and friendliness. It’s clear to that friend that what’s to follow should be a very enjoyable conversation which contrasts greatly from our previous example.

As such it’s definitely important to pay attention to your tone when speaking to someone during your interview. A bit of advice, it’s best to make sure you sound confident and happy as the recruiter or hiring manager will more likely get a sense that not only are you serious about this job opportunity but also very capable to handle the responsibilities that come with it.

Eyes

This can be an especially difficult aspect of body language to master for the more introverted individuals, but nonetheless it’s a very important aspect of what makes a great first impression. Too little eye contact can portray a lack of confidence or give the other person a sense that you may be hiding something. Too much eye contact and you may come off as overly aggressive which can actually leave just as bad of an impression, but on the other end of the spectrum.

Knowing just the right amount of eye contact to maintain during a conversation can definitely be a bit of an enigmatic subject for some, but here are some pointers that should make things a little easier.

Use the 50/70 rule.

As a general rule of thumb, when speaking you should try to maintain eye contact about 50% of the time and 70% when listening. The latter is particularly important because it conveys to the other person a sense of genuine interest and makes them feel as though you are truly hearing what they’re saying. If you find that it’s difficult to gauge this ratio, another best practice could be to simply match the other person’s level of eye contact.

Maintain eye contact for about 4-5 seconds at a time.

If you maintain eye contact for a shorter period of time than prescribed above you may come across as someone who is too nervous or unconfident. Maintain eye contact for longer than 5 seconds and you can verge on the side of coming across as aggressive or even creepy, which may trigger the other person’s fight or flight response and ultimately leave them with a bad first impression.

Imagine a triangle between the person’s eyes and mouth.

This is the area of a person’s face that most people tend to focus on in typical business and social interactions. It’s important to keep this in mind because if you focus solely on someone’s pupils this might again trigger their fight or flight response. You can avoid this by imagining this triangle as it allows you to maintain “eye contact” without coming across as aggressive or creepy.

Mouth

The mouth can be very telling of how someone is feeling which is why we intuitively know that a smile means someone is happy and a frown means someone is sad. This may seem so simple and obvious but it’s also possibly the reason why people too easily overlook its importance in a job interview.

As many of us are told, you should definitely smile when first walking into your job interview.

This is because humans have a natural sense of reciprocity. When an individual sees another smiling, they will very often mirror that smile. That act of getting someone to smile will subconsciously get them on the track of enjoying that particular interaction.

What’s less obvious, and what some people might sometimes miss, are gestures like the pursed lips.

If during the course of a conversation, you happen to catch the other person purse their lips, even if just for a moment, it would behoove you to take notice. Depending on the context it may indicate disbelief in what was just said and so it could be an opportunity for you to clarify further should that be appropriate. In other cases it may mean the individual doesn’t agree with what is being said and could be your cue to quickly skirt on to another topic.

Should you happen to catch the other person place a finger over their mouth during your discourse, it’s a sign that the individual is trying to hold back from speaking by literally blocking their mouth. As such, and again only if appropriate, you may want to ask for their thoughts or opinions on what was just said so you can clear the air before those hesitations come back to haunt you later in the interviewing process.

Lastly if you see someone looking intently and biting on something such as the arms of their glasses or a pen, it means that individual is thinking deeply to themselves. If you notice this gesture you may not blurt out more information just to fill the silence. It may actually be a better course of action to allow them some time to gather their thoughts.

Some other gestures that indicate deep thinking are the rubbing of the chin and placement of their fingers on their temples. Though do be careful because if this gesture is paired with a furrowed brow, it could instead be an indication of frustration.

Arms

The arms are another telling and therefore important aspect of body language to be paying attention to during the interview.

Crossed arms for example are often an indicator that there is some sort of disagreement in the other person’s mind. Subconsciously people cross their arms to put a literal barrier between them and the other person their speaking to.

Therefore, if you see this gesture during an interaction it should be a cue that something is not sitting well with the other person. Of course there is a bit of context to take into consideration though as it can also mean that the other individual may simply be cold but in an office setting this is more than likely not going to be the case.

Something else to keep in mind is that during an interview you’re there to get a sense of the company as much as the hiring manager is trying to get a sense for your fit at their organization. So, if during one of your questions the recruiter or hiring manager starts to cross their arms during their response, it could mean that what there’s something more than what they’re revealing to you directly as they are literally but subconsciously trying to guard themselves.

Another arm gesture that is worth noting is when the arm is being used as a rest for the head. This is a big indicator of a person’s boredom. The heavier the head leans on a single arm, the greater the degree of boredom.

Should you find that you are going on at length about a particular response to a question take not as to whether the other person starts to lean their head against one of their arms as it should be a cue for you to quickly finish your final thoughts and allow the conversation to continue on to other topics. Most typically this will occur with the arm being further supported by the arms of their chair, though it’s also possible that it may occur against the table which would actually be a bigger indication that you should move on.

Body

Since we’re focusing on body language here, it’s only fitting that we also touch on the body itself.

Though body posture isn’t quite as revealing as some of the other gestures we’ve covered so far, there is still some insights you can gather by how someone chooses to orient their body.

For example, when two people are aligned in thought often times their body postures will be aligned as well. You can actually see this in action in everyday life. When two friends or lovers might be out for dinner, they may often find themselves mirroring each other’s postures at multiple points during the course of their conversations.

This phenomenon is fairly subconscious and is indicative of the two people’s agreeable attitudes towards each other. Interestingly enough, though this often happens subconsciously, if used correctly you can better work towards someone’s favor by mimicking his or her body posture consciously.

If the interviewer is leaning towards one side more predominantly than the other you can slowly, during the course of your conversation, start to shift your body to lean in a fashion such that you are mirroring them. The same can be said about the positioning of your arms. You could of course apply this to your legs as well but in most interview situations interviewers and candidates are sitting down so this particular strategy might not be relevant in all interviewing situations.

One thing to keep note of though is that in order for this strategy to truly be effective, it must be used correctly. Pay special attention to shifting your body posture slowly and naturally with the flow of the conversation because if you simply copy the other person with every movement they make, not only will you be giving yourself away but you will come off as insincere which will completely go against the whole purpose of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Summary

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through this article the next time you walk into an interview you can step in with a little more confidence knowing that you have the power of body language on your side.

In summary, some of the things you want to be paying attention to are tone, eyes, mouth, arms, and body.

When thinking about tone, try to project a sense of happiness and confidence to demonstrate that you’re eager and capable for the job at hand. Also pay close attention to the tone of the interviewer when they respond to your comments or questions.

Maintain strong eye contact. If it’s particular difficult for you to maintain staring at someone’s eyes, try to imagine a triangle with the eyes and mouths creating the corner to make it a bit easier for yourself. Also try to keep your eye contact for spurts of 4-5 seconds at a time. Maintaining eye contact for less than that period of time can show a lack of confidence and too much longer can come across as over aggressive or possibly even creepy.

Pay attention to the interviewer’s mouth as it can give a lot of clues as to how they feel about a particular statement. If they’re smiling after you’ve responded to one of their questions, you’ll know you’re on a good track.

However, pursed lips or a slight frown should be your cue to remedy the situation if possible. Don’t force it though. Always keep in mind the context of the conversation or situation and follow suit such that it’s a natural progression in the interaction.

Also look at the person’s arms. Ideally you want them to be open as it’s a sign that someone is mentally open to what you’re saying as well. Be ware of the crossed arms as that is most likely a sign that they’re not taking well to what is being said.

Lastly, use body posture to your advantage. Though mirroring people’s body posture is most often done on a subconscious level when they find each other agreeable, you can still use the phenomenon to your advantage in a conscious manner. Just be careful not to overdo it as you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot by making it obvious that you’re simply trying to mirror them. Do this by transitioning your body slowly and at a pace that’s natural to your conversation.

Now go out there and use these powers of body language to ace your next job interview. Good luck!

qualities of a great sales development rep (SDR)

7 Vital Qualities Every Hiring Manager Is Looking For When They Hire An SDR

Sales Development is the hotbed career aspiring money-makers are desperate to get into and launch their career from. San Francisco Bay area SaaS startups cannot hire SDR talent quickly enough because of the accelerated business growth opportunities that talented SDR’s produce for their AEs.

But what makes one of these super hot startups choose one individual SDR over another for a position on their Sales Development team?

7 Qualities Of A Great SDR

  1. Drive
  2. Sector Interest
  3. Keen Learner
  4. Curious
  5. Skillful
  6. Team Player
  7. Aspirations For a Successful Sales Career

1) Drive

It’s well known that SDRs have one of the hardest jobs around in business. It takes serious grit and determination to fight through the rejection, difficulties, and let downs of being in sales development. This is why drive is a requirement for any aspiring SDR.

Being a driven person will mean you’re ready to go through thick and thin in your work to reach your goals. You will have automatic motivation and will be prepared to put in the extra hours, turn up for work early, and generally make a good SDR. The best ones are persistent and will put in the time, so being a driven person will show hiring managers you are ready to work.

2) Sector Interest

If you’re passionate about a subject that you can find work in, it will greatly assist with your application. In terms of SDR roles, look towards your target business vertical to find this connection. A person who loves technology would find a great deal of motivation and satisfaction in selling a great new technology service or product.

The key is to find your chosen topics and areas you could create this connection to. In interviews you will subconsciously light up and speak much more naturally when you begin to talk about the sector the business works in. On the flip side, candidates who have no interest in a particular vertical will find it harder to converse as naturally and go the extra miles as you could, simply because you’re invested in the heart of the business.

Hiring managers will recognize you as a person who needs no help in understanding the market they are in and someone who will be able to speak very well to clients and prospects. They will know you’ll be more likely to work hard and enjoy your work in a sector you love. These ingredients equal a better SDR.

3) Keen Learner

SDRs often land at the lower echelons of the career ladder. It is very important for any SDR or future sales development leader to always learn. Even CEOs continue to learn on a daily basis, so it’s key you show your willingness to learn.

The awareness that you need to learn a lot to become successful in sales development will present a good case with hiring managers. They will likely have programs and inductions to help you learn the ropes and gain the key skills you need, but showing you are aware of this already will only be a plus for them.

Quite frankly I would never hire anyone who thought they knew all there is to know about a subject or discipline, as things change so quickly. So show you are ready and willing to learn as much as possible.

4) Curious

SDR’s often have to try new messaging, different techniques to reach out, and generally tamper with their work so that they can improve results. You cannot do that unless you are a curious person who wants to try new things, find out what happens and experiment, and then optimize the results.

Being curious also leads to new ideas and innovation, which every company worth staying with for a long time will love. Anybody can follow orders, but it takes a certain type of person to put their own spin on a process or email body and test it out.

Curious people always ask questions so they can get to the heart of why something is done in a certain way, unearth new ways and find new opportunities. This is where exciting things can happen.

5) Skillful

One way to impress the team you’re joining is to show them you’re cut from the same cloth as them. If you can cold call the team leader and relevant managers, email them and socially surround the leaders and the team, you’ve already shown that you’re developing the core sales skills needed to be successful.

This demonstrates a level of commitment and serious interest in working with the company; a persistence that tells the company you’re bought into what they do and are dead serious about becoming a part of their team.

Not every candidate going for a job will do this, and even if there are other SDR candidates calling into the business for the job you want, if you manage to reach out in a more creative way and get your interview or call back, you’ll have the respect of the hiring manager and sales leaders.

6) Team Player

Great SDR teams are made of team players, not lone wolves. Sharing what is working, giving feedback and collaborating is a great way to build on overall SDR team success. If you show signs of becoming a lone wolf, hiring managers may easily see you not fitting into the ethos of the team.

When sales leaders share how they reward their teams for hitting quotas, they often reward the team with a day out, beers, a day off and all sorts of team-orientated experiences that are designed to boost team spirit and collaboration. All of this doesn’t work and does not incentivize the team if they’re all in the game for themselves and not interested in the team as a collective. Nobody builds a team like that.

Plus, any business can fail if the collective fails – even if one person is a superstar and crushes it. It is about the team, so showing you’re all about the team effort will help the hiring manager picture you in the team and build you into their unit.

7) Aspirations For A Successful Sales Career

Sales is hard. You don’t get into sales and stay there if you’re not bothered and could happily do anything for a job. If you really have aspirations of a career in sales, it’s good to tell your hiring manager what that looks like. Even better, knowing roughly what the path to achieving that goal looks like is a good sign you’re a good individual with a plan, ready to execute it.

If you have serious ambitions and plans to become a VP Sales with a team of 20, you can’t do that without starting sales somehow. For employers, this is good knowledge that the candidate is serious and will do what it takes to reach it.

Looking for your next big sales role? Create a profile on Rainmakers and take your sales career to the next level!

women in tech sales

Only 25% Of Salespeople In Tech Are Women. It’s Time To Change That In 2018.

Are you a woman who’s interested in forging a career in tech sales?

As you already know, there’s been a lot of emphasis and active conversation around increasing diversity in field of technology.

“Right now, there’s a floodlight shining on women in the workplace, with topics ranging from gender dynamics in meetings to balancing professional and personal lives and career advancement,” – Alexandra Nation in a post for Marketo.

But, pretty often, that floodlight is focused on roles like development and engineering.

However, tech sales is another area that still experiences a pretty wide gender gap. In fact, industry statistics show that only 25% of salespeople in the tech industry are women.

That number becomes even more brutal when you look at sales management—where only 12% of sales leaders are women.

There’s no denying that both sales and technology are still fairly male-dominated fields. So, when you put the two together, it’s unsurprising that women are underrepresented.

But, as the conversation about increasing diversity continues to gain steam, there’s never been a better time for women to explore careers in tech sales.

And, once they wiggle their feet into the door? Well, as the three facts below illustrate, they’re sure to do a top-notch job in those roles.

1) Women Can Change the Perception of Sales

Those oft-repeated stereotypes of what constitutes an effective salesperson typically involve quite a bit of aggression, pushiness, and perhaps even manipulation—qualities that are more frequently associated with men in the workplace.

But, as customers have become increasingly wary of those age-old, slimy sales tactics, women have a real opportunity to shift the way that customers and colleagues alike think about sales.

“The notion that a good salesperson has to be pushy, aggressive, and have a don’t-take-no-for-an-answer mentality not only implicitly excludes many women, but it’s also dated and bad for business, especially in tech sales,” – Jordan Leonard in a post for Lever.

Leonard explains that things like relationship-building, attention to detail, and trust are the qualities that make for an effective salesperson today. And, those qualities are far more inclusive of women.

“If this were the common perception of the modern salesperson, I’m betting more women would think themselves a good fit for sales and re-consider the career path they may have previously ‘leaned out’ of,” Leonard adds.

2) Women Have Strong Emotional Intelligence

There’s no way to say unquestioningly that certain personality traits are only associated with each gender. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule.

Without a doubt, both men and women offer value. Men, for example, have proven to be better at processing negative emotions (like the fallout from failure, which is unfortunately a core piece of a career in sales).

However, studies have shown that women typically do possess more emotional intelligence than men—a capability that can serve them well when it comes to connecting with customers and closing the deal.

This is especially true when it comes to one facet of emotional intelligence: empathy.

“Women tend to be better at emotional empathy than men, in general. This kind of empathy fosters rapport and chemistry,” explains Dan Goleman Ph.D., in an article for Psychology Today.

That’s obviously an important skill to be successful in sales—meaning women can bring something different to the table in tech sales careers.

3) Women Tend to Be More Collaborative

Sales is traditionally viewed as a highly competitive career field. And, in many ways, that’s true—everyone is eager to meet their quotas and get new customers to sign on the dotted line.

But, success in tech sales also requires salespeople to be highly collaborative. From IT departments to product development to customer success teams, salespeople can be far more effective when they’re willing to collaborate across the organization.

This is an area where many women excel. As reported by Derek Thompson in an article for The Atlantic, economists Peter J. Kuhn and Marie-Claire Villeval state in their paper titled “Are Women More Attracted to Cooperation Than Men?” that, in short, women are more willing to work with others.

Why? Well, men tend to overestimate their own abilities. They perceive their colleagues as incompetent and are less willing to work with them as a result.

In contrast, women demonstrate less confidence in their own competence, which results in them placing more trust in the people around them—and, thus, being more collaborative than their male counterparts.

Time To Leave Your Mark

Convinced that tech sales is the field you’ve been looking for in order to make your mark and take your career to the next level? We can’t blame you.

So, where should you get started?

Create a profile on Rainmakers to highlight your skills and prove your value, so that interested employers can reach out about having you on their team.

job search mistakes

5 Reasons Nobody Will Hire You In Sales (And What To Do About It)

In this article, we’ll breakdown 5 deadly job search mistakes that will ultimately cost you getting hired as a salesperson, followed by what you should do instead.

Sales is a difficult industry to survive in. But it’s an industry so many people want to get into due to the huge rewards it offers, both financially and long-term career-wise. This makes it even more important to land the right job with the right company, so you can get the right training and experience to achieve your goals.

5 Costly Job Search Mistakes, Commonly Made By Salespeople 

In many cases, there’s no shortage of job vacancies or positions available. In San Francisco alone, where all the hot SaaS startups and tech companies are hiring like crazy, there are more than 1000 unfulfilled SDR (sales development representative) opportunities.

And yet, many job candidates continue to struggle to land a sales job, often for the following reasons:

  1. Targeting the wrong industry.
  2. Targeting the wrong roles based on your skills.
  3. Aiming too high.
  4. Bad location, or conflict of commitments outside of work.
  5. Your method of reaching out to potential employers stinks.

So… here’s how to tackle each issue.

1. Targeting the wrong industry

Think carefully about what topics you could work on that would make you want to work hard and put in the time without any complaint. If you’re a sports enthusiast, maybe your sector should be sports companies or targeting sports companies.

Imagine the sales conversations, problems and goals you want to speak about for your salary. Could you work every day talking about medical devices if you don’t care about that sector at all? You probably could, but your employer probably won’t see your raving conviction to the cause and industry they focus upon.

The solution: sell what you love.

People lacking specific industry knowledge often get jobs within a new sector, but it helps a lot when you’re able to draw on your passion and knowledge for a particular vertical during interviews and sales conversations. Genuinely being able to reference your 20 years of supporting a specific team or following X sport, or X topic, will provide a strong foundation for future conversations you’ll have in a new role and demonstrate to your new employer that your on-boarding time will most likely be fast and painless.

2. Choosing the wrong sales role

There are many different types of sales roles. From the lower levels, sales/business development is a very common first role for people starting a sales career. It’s a good place to begin to learn the industry, put in your time, and hone your craft.

But that’s not for everyone. Sales Operations is another common route for getting into sales. You might come from a product background, or a business operations background. It’s great for learning what you need to uncover and find out about your prospects, how to personalize messaging and be super-targeted in your outreach. That is the route to real sales success, so being in the support line to give a fellow sales rep actionable intelligence is a good way to build your personalization muscles.

Evaluate your skills and interests. Are you a person who loves to research, takes their time with things and is thorough? Sales Enablement may be the right path for you, rather than sales development, which is much more vigorous.

But…

If you’re super-driven and let nothing stand in your way (time, effort, and rejection included), then sales development is your starting spot.

3. Aiming too high

If you don’t want to work in a job where burnout is an oft-discussed topic, and you already bring some sales experience to the table, you may want to aim for a higher-tier position, such as an Account Executive (AE).

However, that doesn’t mean you should apply to be an AE immediately. Many companies have built out their SDR to AE progression plans and will actively help you through it.

If you’re still at an entry level, take some classes or read a few essential sales books to jump you up to speed.

It’s fair to start at the bottom and work your way up. In the end, this gives you greater experience and a broader background when applying for senior sales positions. You can reference your time “in the weeds” and it shows further progression than jumping across management positions.

4. Bad location, or have too many conflicts of commitment outside of work.

Many candidates don’t consider that what happens outside of work is equally important. It’s different for everyone, but we all have circumstances and situations to work around.

If you live very far away from any considerable towns or cities, you may find it hard to land an SDR role. Companies will want you in-house for these roles. They’re able to meet with you easier, train you ad-hoc, involve you in team activities and rewards easier. Remote teams exist – but they generally exist as teams in a specific location – not from home.

Equally, if you need to leave the office at 3 until 7 for family commitments, it’s going to be difficult for an employer to choose you over a person ready to work as many hours as they can and want. Sadly, that’s the logic of businesses and they must hire who’s best for them, so you need to look at any circumstances that blocks or influences your ability to become a sales professional.

5. Your method of reaching out to potential employers stinks.

It’s common for burgeoning sales talent to win over their preferred employers by using “sales outreach” to gain the attention and time with the team leader.

Show that you are a creative, attention-winning prospector by prospecting your way into an interview. Do it with class, and don’t come off as desperate.

Have your potential employer want to understand more about what you will bring to the table. Check out the team on LinkedIn, and watch out for their LinkedIn headlines. They often say they’re hiring, so that’s a good reference to mention – it shows you did your research (sales people love to know you did that!).

tech sales job description for sales development and account executives

What Tech Sales Job Descriptions Are REALLY Telling You

In this article, you’ll learn what tech sales job descriptions are really telling you, along with a breakdown of the different types of sales positions that exist in tech.

Before we dive into how companies advertise sales positions (and what that means for you, the job seeker), it’s good to have a basic understanding of the possible types of tech sales jobs that exist.

In a certain sense it’s quite simple. Excluding managerial roles there are two types of tech sales jobs, those related to sales development (it’s possible to get sales development jobs with minimal experience) and those related to actual sales, closing deals, etc (typically known as an Account Executive).

But within these two categories there is a great amount of variety.

Different companies have different needs, and therefore being an SDR/AE at one company is likely quite different than having the same job title at another company.

Let’s first consider SDR’s and the types of roles that there are.

Types Of SDR Jobs

1. Outbound SDR:

This is a labor intensive role, often best suited for people fresh out of college beginning a career in tech sales. It involves a lot of cold calling (80 – 100/day), mass emailing, leaving voicemails — it’s the epitome of grunt work. Companies that lack a great deal of marketing leads will often compensate by using teams of outbound SDR’s to generate opportunities manually.

2. Inbound SDR:

This is a much ‘chiller’ job compared to an outbound role, available at companies with a significant amount of interest in their product. The Inbound SDR will qualify various inquiries and decide which ones are worth passing along to the sales team. These are great jobs to look for because any company with enough interest in their product to need Inbound SDR’s likely has substantial product market fit.

3. Enterprise/Strategic SDR:

This is a role where an SDR works closely within a team or directly with an Account Executive to open up important business opportunities. It will still involve cold calling, but will require more strategy than a normal Outbound role. Often Enterprise SDRs will have to map out the various people in an account and create personalized emails based on their LinkedIn profiles.

Of course, most SDR roles will not be one of these three types exclusively, and will be more of a hybrid of several. Let’s now look at some SDR job descriptions and see what one can gather from the description.

SDR Job Descriptions: Decoded

Example 1: Diffbot

Account Development Representative (ADR)

The Account Development Representative (ADR) at Diffbot is the first line of customer identification and qualification for the Data Solutions team. This role helps qualify inbound and prospect outbound leads for the company’s sales process — ADRs are innately curious about how AI will revolutionize the nature of information processing across all industries in the future. They are comfortable speaking the language of all of the various stakeholders in a large organization: ranging from the developer up to the CEO, to learn about how they use data and educate them about how our technology can make their workflows more efficient.

Core Responsibilities:

– Lead prospecting targeted outbound accounts for new opportunities; respond to and qualify inbound leads for potential customers

– Meet and exceed set monthly opportunity generation goals

– Communicate professionally and build relationships with C-level and VP level contacts at companies across various industries

What Does This Actually Mean?

From this description, we know that the ‘Account Development Representative’ role at Diffbot is really a hybrid of an Inbound SDR and Enterprise SDR. We know that there is an Inbound competent to the job because it says so plainly. We know that there is an Enterprise SDR component to the role because of the bit about being ‘comfortable speaking the language of all the various stakeholders in a large organization.

What this translates to, roughly, is that the ADR will have to interface with several people within an organization. This could be to book a meeting for an account executive, but it could also be do some detective work and find out who the decision maker/makers are. The ‘Account’ Development Representative has to think about entire accounts strategically, rather than just throwing out blind repetitive cold calls.

Example 2: Apptimize

Sales development is the life blood of Apptimize. The CEO loves sales development and in the early days manually sent 500 emails per day. The sense of accomplishment when you go through the prospect responses, the rapid iteration through different combinations of target profiles and pitches- maybe we’re weird but we find it satisfying and fun. Business development is how we get our best customers.

This role is ideal for someone who wants to live at the the front line of our go to market strategy and figure out what works with what audience and what’s going to come up during the sales process.

What Does This Actually Mean?

While it doesn’t say so specifically, from the second sentence it’s quite clear that this is a job description for an Outbound Sales development role. Here’s how you can tell. First and foremost, Apptimize gloats about and admires the manual outbound sales process that the CEO went through in its early days. Secondly, the description specifies that this role is for someone who wants to be on the ‘front line’.

Note: If you read this article and retain anything, remember that in sales being on the ‘front line’ is code for an extensive amount of cold calling, cold emailing — manual sales work. From this job description, it seems likely that Apptimize’s SDR role is almost purely outbound.

Example 3: Airtable

Core Responsibilities:

  • Strategize around sales inquiries with other members of the sales team.

  • Educate existing free Airtable users about the value of our premium product.

  • Coordinate users’ product exploration journeys, each tailored to the specific organization at hand, to convert budding interest into commercial action.

  • Rapidly learn how to model a wide range of use cases across different industries and the key dynamics that affect those use cases.

  • Actively deploy these modeling capabilities in highly targeted customer situations.

  • Conduct high-leverage, in-depth research to find new sales leads and enable success with the newly identified leads.

  • As an early team member, be energized by the opportunity to help build a process from the ground up.

  • Use data to problem-solve around the sales process and generate force-multiplying changes.

What Does This Actually Mean?

This role is an Inbound SDR role. Their Sales Development Associates are expected to work only with current customers using the Airtable product and warm leads who have inquired about the product. There is some strategic work in attempting to find new business opportunities, but because there’s no reference to working with VP’s or CEO’s the work is likely much less about strategizing careful outreach and more about generating interest with inbound leads to pass along to the sales team. You’ll need an intermediate level of sales skills and experience to perform well in this type of role.

Types of Account Executive (AE) Jobs

As An Account Executive selling SaaS, there are three basic categories that your job can fall under. Here’s what we’ve come up with:

1. Transactional Selling:

In this role, an Account Executive will meet with many clients for a short amount of time (often only one phone call). There is not an incredible amount of strategy involved with this sort of sale, and successful AE’s focus on securing ‘one call closes’ through persuasion and hustling to get more leads.

2. Enterprise (Complex) Sales:

In this role, an Account Executive will have to go through several meetings with various stakeholders, and strategically align various interests of multiple parties to close large six to seven figure deals. It’s the classic definition of a complex sale.

3. Everything In-Between:

Mid-market sales, which leans towards medium sized businesses or small departments within large corporations, is the most common type of software selling. AE’s will usually have 2-5 meetings with 1-3 parties to close these deals, which require more patience than transactional selling but move faster than large enterprise deals.

4. Full Cycle Sales:

Full cycle AE’s lack the support of SDR’s to book meetings and generate opportunities. This means they must foster their client relationships from start to finish, and focus a decent amount of time not on selling but on generating opportunities. On the other hand pure Sales AE’s spend all day closing marketing and sales qualified leads without working on Business Development at all. You won’t become a Rainmaker in one day in this type of role. Big deals take time to close, but they’re worth it!

Account Executive (AE) Job Descriptions: Decoded

Example 4: Freshdesk

In this hunter, quota-carrying sales role, we’re seeking passionate and highly driven professionals with prior software / SaaS sales experience. The Account Executive will play a leading role in accelerating Freshdesk’s revenue growth in the U.S.

Specifically, the Account Executive will:

  • Generate pipeline for Freshdesk’s Mid-Market business
  • Prospect, manage the sales process, and close new accounts in rapid cycles, in primarily insides sales environment
  • Work closely with Freshdesk teams to quickly learn and communicate Freshdesk’s value proposition clearly and effectively
  • Sell multiple product-lines: Freshdesk (customer facing, multi-channel online helpdesk) and/or Freshservice (employee-facing, online IT service desk)
  • Be part of the core U.S. team to represent Freshdesk at industry events

What Does This Actually Mean?

Though the job title says ‘Enterprise Account Executive’ the job description is telling us something much different. First and foremost, ‘mid-market’ businesses are specified in the description rather than Fortune 500 companies. Also the sentence ‘close new accounts in rapid cycles’ indicates that the selling is likely transactional in nature. Finally there are several indications that the Account Executive is responsible for generating his or her own pipeline. Thus despite the job title the job description is indicating a full cycle, transactional Account Executive position.

revenue summit happy hour 2018

Rainmakers Brings Salespeople Together At The Revenue Summit Happy Hour!

Rainmakers were the proud hosts of a very special happy hour at The Revenue Summit Conference last week in San Francisco, California.

You can see just how proud we are here…

rainmakers team building photo

What Is The Revenue Summit?

The Revenue Summit is the only conference with a true focus on aligning sales, marketing and customer success through the lens of technology, empowering B2B leaders to accelerate full funnel growth.

This event teaches executives the most innovative and actionable best practices to scale revenue.

The Revenue Summit is a phenomenal destination for c-level enterprise leaders, as well as junior salespeople, sales managers, or demand generation marketers.

If you’re just starting out in sales, or feeling behind the learning curve, The Revenue Summit is a great place to brush up on your sales skills and learn some new things.

Rainmakers taking over the interview booth

Rainmakers taking over the interview booth!

What Companies Were There?

You can check out the full list of speakers, but here were some of our favorite companies & speakers who presented at Revenue Summit.

  • Jaimie Buss – VP of Sales (Americas), Zendesk
  • Ran Xiao – Dir. of Sales & Customer Ops, Zendesk
  • Olivia Nottebohm – Sr. Director, SMB Sales, Google Cloud
  • Laurabeth Harvey – VP of Sales, Intercom
  • Justin Shriber – VP of Marketing, LinkedIn Sales & Marketing Solutions
  • Mike Coscetta – VP of Global Sales, Square
  • Scott Brinker – VP of Platform Ecosystems, HubSpot
  • John Barrows – Leading Sales Trainer for Salesforce, Box, Marketo, LinkedIn

Why Did Rainmakers Decide To Host Happy Hour?

The Revenue Summit was such a phenomenal opportunity for us, and we couldn’t pass it up. Learn why we decided to get involved.

1. To Increase Brand Awareness

We’re still a relatively new brand that’s only been out for a few years, so we wanted to propel our visibility. Sales Hacker is a great company to partner with for that!

rainmakers revenue summit recap 2018

Mike repping the Rainmakers brand!

2. To Meet Our Customers & Prospects, IN-PERSON! 

The most underrated benefit of attending a conference, is being able to get precious face to face time with your customers and target prospects.

rainmakers booth revenue summit 2018

3. To Raffle Off Some Free Dom Perignon!

Who doesn’t love a free bottle of Dom P?

rainmakers happy hour raffle

rainmakers dom perignon rev summit

4. To Relax, Network, And Have Some Fun 

Another awesome benefit of attending conferences is the opportunity to take a load off, sip on your favorite libations, and NOT talk shop for a change.

rainmakers drinks at revenue summit

5. To Give Away Free Rainmakers Swag

Aside from the highly sought after Dom P, we gave away our signature mugs, tee shirts, and more!

rainmakers swag revenue summit 2018 

6. To Enjoy Some “Out of Office” Team Building

Company culture is very important to us, so this was a great opportunity to get out of the office and do a little off-site team building.

company team building revenue summit 2018

Top Sessions & Key Takeaways From Revenue Summit

The Revenue Summit features keynotes from industry-leading sales practitioners to deliver educational and actionable content across two tracks (strategic and tactical).

Here’s a recap from Morgan J Ingram that nicely summarizes the key takeaways for the day!

9 Elements of Highly Effective Sales Conversations — Amit Bendov, CEO, Gong

How To Generate Leads on Auto Pilot — Eric Siu, CEO, Single Grain

Full Funnel Forecasting — Zendesk, Sales Leadership Team

How To Build A Viral Marketing Funnel — Olof Mathe, CEO, Mixmax

How To Prospect Using The Basics — Ralph Barsi