From retail to food service, your core responsibility in these roles is to engage with a range of customers. People who work in these industries are often emotionally intelligent and driven to overcome objections. They also have serious potential to use those skills to launch a tech sales career with 6-figure potential. Many just don’t know it yet. They also don't know that tech sales reps hail from a variety of industries, like hospitality, for example.
Consider this: Crystal sells clothes at the mall. Ben sells beer and wine to the local grocery chains. Sarah sells office equipment. Moon sells insurance. Joie is a bank teller. Asha waits tables.
What do they have in common?
They all possess the skills and traits to pivot their sales experiences into the tech industry. They have the people skills and type of hardworking resilience that big name companies are looking for these days in their tech sales development reps (SDRs).
If you have ever worked in a customer-facing role like a bartender, waiter, or retail worker, and you want to switch careers to a more stable industry with a clear path for upward growth, read on. You'll uncover some common misconceptions.
First Off, You Don’t Need to Know How to Code
One of the most common misconceptions in the tech space is that you need to know how to code to work in the industry. While that might be the case if you’re a software engineer, it’s not in most other roles, especially sales.
In tech sales, your job is to sell software, not program it. That means you just need a conceptual understanding of what your company’s software does and know how to frame it as the best possible solution to your customers’ problems.
A word of advice from Pedro Morfin, an SDR at Gusto who pivoted from finance to tech sales:
“If you don’t have a sales background, my advice would be to understand that sales is really just about listening to your clients, finding solutions to problems, and tying up loose ends. Being pushy and shoving products down people’s throats is not what the job is. You don’t have to act like a used car salesman who gets people to buy no matter the circumstance. In fact, you can even be introverted to do the job. You’re just talking to people one-on-one. You don’t have to be completely outgoing or extroverted to be successful in sales. I’m definitely not.”
Second, You Don’t Need a College Degree
Nowadays, most hiring managers are starting to realize that the overwhelming majority of college degrees don’t equip new graduates with the skills to succeed in tech sales. There are also only a handful of schools that offer a sales degree.
So what’s been their solution to this pressing problem? Recruiting people who have developed foundational sales skills by working in places like bars, restaurants, and retail stores and refining these skills through sales platforms like Flockjay.
According to Chelsee Gabel, a current Sales Development Representative at Splashtop and former Tech Fellow at Flockjay, her strong background in retail helped her separate herself from the pack during onboarding.
“When I got hired on with my company, there were two other girls hired alongside with me, and as we were on-boarding, I was surprised at how much more I knew about being an SDR (i.e. Salesforce, how to write an email, how to cold call, etc.) all thanks to Flockjay and their amazing trainers,” says Gabel. “As I was an underdog for not having SDR experience/college degree, my supervisors recognized that Flockjay really helped me train for this role."
4 Signs Tech Sales Could be the Best Career For You
If you’re a new jobseeker, you may not realize that tech sales is an option on your path at all. If you’ve worked in restaurants your whole life, you might not immediately see how the skills you’ve picked up along the way translate to more lucrative opportunities. Tech sales could be the right career for you if…
1. You’re Good With People
Top sales representatives are able to build rapport with their prospects, create interest in their company’s product, and persuade prospects to purchase it. In other words, having high emotional intelligence is crucial for their success.
Fortunately, if you’ve ever worked in places like a bar, restaurant, or retail store and you’ve sparked interest in new drinks, meals, or items, you most likely have the emotional intelligence to perform at a high level in tech sales.
2. You Can Communicate Effectively
As a sales representative, your prospects only have so much time to meet with you, so you need to be able to show that you understand their problems and convey that your product is the best possible solution in a clear, concise, and compelling way.
This rings especially true during Covid-19. With video chat rooms replacing conference rooms across the globe, it’s paramount that you can actively listen to your prospects, accurately read their body language, and communicate the value of your product in an efficient and effective manner.
3. You Love Learning
Lifelong learners who are passionate about their personal and professional growth are perfect for tech sales.
Tech companies are constantly iterating their products and the tech industry adapts at a breakneck pace, so sales reps need to be able to stay on top of all these changes. Sales reps also need to know the ins and outs of their prospects’ business and problems in order to sell as much as their company’s product as possible.
Don’t worry, your hire-ups won’t expect you to know all of this information overnight. However, they do expect you to adopt a growth mindset and be proactive about your learning and growth throughout your tenure at their company.
4. You Can Overcome Failure
Have you ever been knocked down at work before? But then you got right back up again? Great. Resilience, grit, and optimism are three of the most important traits a sales representative can possess. This means that there will be days where you are hung up on nine times and must remain eager to make that 10th call.
But you can do it - seriously. Consider Cameron Macdonald's story about journeying from bartending to tech sales:
“When you’re an SDR, you’re the tip of the spear. But it’s like you’re also eating a face full of dog crap every day. You’re getting a lot of no’s, a lot of objections, and a lot of rejections. But in terms of bartending, that’s your day-to-day. People are always trying to send drinks back, and you have to adjust the way you talk to people and be on your feet at all times.”
Sales representatives face the most amount of failure out of any role in the working world. So not only do they need to be able to roll with the punches but they also need to be able to maintain their passion and outlook for their profession and view each instance of failure as a career lesson while they’re down and out. Remember: Feedback is a gift.
The Flockjay Platform Is a Place for Sales Reps to Grow
If you are new to the tech sales industry, and your company uses the Flockjay platform, you can rest assured that you've found a place where you can develop as a new SDR and level up your career.
Flockjay was built to help sales teams grow together, creating a robust sales culture with powerful skill-building tools, peer-to-peer learning, and advanced analytics for data-driven sales strategy. Flockjay represents an open door for new sales reps to onboard, train, and advance their careers as a team.
Whether you're a new rep or an experienced sales manager, the Flockjay platform can have a real, positive impact on your success in sales. Ready to learn more? Get in touch with the Flockjay team for a free demo!