If you’ve seen the movie Divergent, think of the sales team as “Dauntless.” Wild. Lively. Brave. Fearless. If these words resonate with you, then you should consider a job in sales.
Why you should consider SaaS Sales
- Companies big and small realize that a one-time sale no longer provides the growth and profits needed. Every day more companies are moving to an As A Service model with the promise of monthly recurring revenues and exponential growth. In the world of software, this is known as Software as a Service (SaaS), and companies like LinkedIn, Salesforce, and Dropbox are leading the pack.
- What is so great about SaaS sales is that it takes place online. It uses the latest online tools and online skills. It comes naturally to your generation, a generation raised online. This is a skillset companies are willing to pay for.
- SaaS sales organizations have a job particularly well suited to fast-learning entry-level candidates. It’s called a Sales Development Rep or SDR. There is currently a huge demand for SDRs. LinkedIn alone shows thousands of openings all across the US.
- Target earnings for an SDR exceed that of most entry-level positions. Annual compensation starts at $40,000 and tops out at $100,000.
- As an SDR, you will have access to the best training programs the company has to offer. Training you directly contributes to the top line.
- You’ll gain an enormous amount of hands-on customer experience. This will translate well into any position inside the company, and learning to work with customers will help you throughout your career.
- As a top performer you are given the opportunity to move quickly up the ranks, or across the organization (check out the career progression of an SDR).
- As part of an SaaS sales team, SDRs get to travel to the coolest cities in the US to attend trade shows, and as members of the sales staff, they get to attend off-sites and retreats.
- You get paid to be on social media. Seriously! Here is an example: (Tweeting by a top SDR)
- As a Sales Development Rep you are expected to improve the workplace. Play 180 bpm music? You’re a motivator. Set-up the Friday beer bash? Team player. Play games? Researcher. Break for coffee? Networker.
- Sales is the ideal place to experiment and figure out where you want to take your career because you get to interact with nearly every function of the company.
How to pick the right company to sell for:
As a member of the sales team, you should expect between 25% and 50% of your target earnings to be dependent on your performance. This means it is critical to represent a service that, well, sells.
Here is what to look for:
- Find out who is behind the company, i.e. who funded it. Subscribe to TechCrunch. You are looking for companies that secured $10 million or more in B+ rounds. Angel and A rounds are often used to bolster the product, as the company continues to tune its “repeatable sales model,” which means that the product might not be quite ready.
- Try out the service. Would you subscribe to it? Do you love it? If not, then it’s not a winner. To be successful in sales you’ve got to love what you’re selling.
- Pick a company with a customer-centric culture. You do not want to be part of an outdated “sell sell sell” culture. You can “feel” this based on their online presence (website, twitter, blog, etc.), and by visiting the VP of Sales’ profile on LinkedIn.
- Learn about the team beforehand. Do a LinkedIn search on “company name + sales development.” See if you can identify with the team members. Don’t be afraid to “connect” and ask them for insider advice.
How to land your first sales job:
Based on interviewing hundreds of Sales Development Reps and Account Executives in the past months, I can honestly say that we primarily want to know two things: Why you are interested in this position, and how you say what you say. We are less interested in what you say specifically. Here are three keys to landing your first sales job:
- Be prepared: Subscribe to/trial the service. Visit the LinkedIn profile of those who you interview with, and make sure they like what they see when they visit yours. Share customer quotes you found online (twitter, blog post comments etc.)
- Be enthusiastic: Use an upbeat, clear voice. Bring high energy. Drink a RedBull if you think it will help. I have yet to reject someone for having too much energy.
- Ask for the job: Simply ask “Do you have any reservations about me?”