Over the last two plus years of the worldwide pandemic, nearly all companies have had to embrace a digital transformation of some kind. Whether that’s small businesses creating e-commerce sites, using Zoom or business communication software, or larger organizations revamping customer relationship and finance systems, technology has been in high demand.
That’s good news for those who want a job in the tech sector. According to the Information and Communications Technology Council, jobs in the digital economy account for 11% of the country’s total employment in 2020, up from 9.5% in pre-pandemic times. By 2025, the digital economy will employ 2.26 million people, an increase of 250,000 jobs from today.
But if you’re worried you don’t have the right tech skills, here’s another fact: You don’t have to be a software engineer or expert to take advantage of this growth. Why? It’s simple. More companies need more people to sell their tech. If you have the right attitude—and career skills—businesses are looking to hire tech sales positions. Career success in the tech sector often comes down to hard work, and building the skills in demand.
Matt Pomeroy, Head of Curriculum and Facilitation in SalesCamp, a B2B and tech sales training program at Palette Skills, sees more people pivoting to a career in tech sales, in part because the jobs are stable, pay well, and offer room for growth. “People are looking for fields that are growing, and are going to be sustainable,” he explains. “They’ve all seen that these tech organizations, even during the pandemic, were able to continue to expand through this time.”
Making the pivot
One advantage to working in tech sales is that you don’t need a long history in sales to start your career and move up quickly. Often, people with experience in hospitality and service-related industries excel because they’re comfortable interacting with customers. Good job skills matter, but they may not be the kind of skills you’re expecting. “Our employer partners are looking for transferable skills,” Pomeroy notes. “People often think that you just need to be outgoing and well-spoken, when in fact, being a great listener is a more important component of success in the role.”
Enter Palette Skills. The national organization’s SalesCamp for B2B and tech sales is an intensive, experience-based training and job development program that equips participants with the skills employers are looking for. The program builds on participants’ previous experience to introduce them to in-demand B2B tech sales skills and supports participants in securing a job offer for a sales role.
During the six-day core experience, participants focus on five pillars of the course: sales foundations, personal discovery, professional skills, and job readiness. They also receive professional sales and career coaching alongside opportunities to meet with exclusively and live with industry leaders. Throughout the three weeks extended experience, participants transition from the learning context to the active job search where they participate in two weekly career-focused seminars.
Even better, Palette’s network of employer partners – technology companies like Thinkific, TouchBistro, Klue, Edison Financial, MedChart and others – are there to interact with students and answer questions. “On average, this career transition usually takes about six months, but we’ve been able to achieve that in far less time – an average of six weeks,” Pomeroy says, adding that 96% of Palette SalesCamp participants have received a job offer once they’ve finished the program.
Moving up the ranks
Typically, new entrants in this field are hired as a business development representative (BDR) or sales development representative (SDR) – the titles are used interchangeably. On average, the role comes with a base salary of $48,000, although there are different compensation structures throughout the sector, with some tech sales firms emphasizing sales commissions that reach as far as you want to go. It’s a demanding job that involves identifying organizations that can benefit from the right software, and communicating why a particular tech solution is better than another. From there, an account manager completes the sale. “A lot of this job is a solo sport,” Pomeroy notes. “You’re on the phone by yourself, you’re doing that research independently. But you’re backed by a great team.”
The independent nature of the job means there are opportunities to work remotely. What’s really appealing about B2B tech sales is how quickly you can increase your earnings into six figures and advance your career. BDRs who excel at selling by using the different job skills they’ve trained for at SalesCamp can move up the ranks in as few as six months, either into management or continuing into the account executive track, says Pomeroy.
Recipe for success
While there are some foundational skills that can pave the way for success, tech sales is not an easy job. This is where Palette’s SalesCamp can help – the entire experience, from the coaches to the community, provides the skills training you need to achieve your goals and push through challenges. “We’re giving people sales techniques and fundamentals, but we’re putting them into practice immediately,” Pomeroy explains. “And when we do that practice, they’re receiving professional coaching, so they’re able to see their own performance grow. They also benefit from the coaching other individuals in the cohort are receiving.”
SalesCamp participants often continue to stay in touch and support one another long after the course ends. Participants are encouraged to connect with others in their industry, too, including through local tech organizations like TechTO, which holds regular events, while sales industry thought leaders, such as Sales Hacker, offer learning resources, like sales-focused podcasts.