Salesperson at technology start-up

I work as a sales contributor in the software industry. In simple terms, I convince buyers of business organisations to purchase our software for their organisation.

Technology Sales, by its very nature, and by virtue of it being a comparatively new field is structured slightly differently from Sales in old-school industries like insurance. The qualifications of employees required to sell technology, the process involved in the sale and the job scope may vary widely. At a broad level, the roles involved in technology sales are 'Pre-Sales', 'Sales Development', and 'Account Executives', working on different aspects of the sale.

The first step is to convince enough people to be interested in you or to listen to you, and then guide them through the buying cycle - show them a demo of the software, give them quotations or proposals, convince various stakeholders involved from the customer's end and finally close the deal.

Sales is a number game. People working in sales have monthly targets, which reset at the beginning of each month and the counter starts again. It can turn out to be a very high-pressure environment at times, but there are some people whose best is brought out under this kind of pressure. Despite this, the fact that selling is a life skill convinced me to try my hand at it and get better at it. 'To Sell is Human' by Daniel Pink is one book on this topic which has really inspired me.

If you want to know the path I took to reach here - I did an undergraduate degree in Engineering at National University of Singapore. Once I got done with my degree, I worked at a couple of very small start-ups in Sales before moving to my current job. To answer the question that you might be having, there are no specific 'Sales' courses at universities or colleges. The company's training modules are one source of formalised learning for a career in sales. Having said this, Sales is one of the few fields where you can _possibly_ get in without a degree or even relevant work experience because at its core, it requires the following: Interpersonal skills including networking and communication skills, ability to handle pressure, tenacity and mental strength to give your all to the job, since it is not uncommon in sales jobs to have more losses than wins; and more 'nos' than 'yeses'.

Sales would be a good starting point to pivot to other roles in the same industry as you have a full understanding of the product, the market, and the customers; since you speak to a variety of people inside and outside the company. This means that other connected roles such as Marketing, Customer Success, Product and Sales Operations are possible to get into.

Another route is to travel upwards; from individual Sales Contributor to Manager to Director to Vice President of Sales of a Company.

Now, you might ask me, why Sales? In a start-up environment which is where I am, every win is crucial. You get to see the impact of your successes on the rest of the team's morale and performance which can be a real confidence booster!

Based on conversation in March 2019
Do you want to remember all the work you have done?

Start writing in your private work journal!