Step By Step Guide On Breaking Into Tech Sales (SaaS)
55: You got it.
Head over to A Practical Guide On How To Break Into Tech Sales and download the complete .PDF containing over 75 pages on how to break into the industry.
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For the complete reading experience make sure to open the article in the browser. To get the most out of the article. Our advice is to click on and expand into the “required reading” you will find across the article.
Since we managed to write out a few articles on breaking into tech sales. How about we combine them all into one place? Resulting in this being more practical and easier for you to understand. The goal was simple. To provide you with a step-by-step on how to land in tech sales. Better said SaaS sales.
The actual “secret” to breaking into SaaS sales is proving to yourself and others you are capable of delivering. This means the best way to leave a good impression on a decision-maker is to show you are capable of doing what you will be required to do daily.
Not implying that tech sales are exceptional in any way. But when we compare it with the other entry roles it’s up on the top. Rarely will you have an opportunity to work remotely and as a complete beginner have an opportunity to clear 100k per year. Yes, you have to be a top performer to do so. Or be at the right place at the right time.
Complete Breakdown Of How To Land In SaaS
Learn the industry. Understand fundamentals. Something that is not mentioned around enough. Since it requires deeper thinking and knowledge of the same. Will it make you better at sales? Not quite. But will you make a better businessman all around? Absolutely.
Focus on what matters. Your goal here should be to cut the unnecessary fluff and stick to the methods that work. Methods in their core are simple. But they got overcomplicated as time passed. Everyone tried to sell you something, which is the main reason why they made it look complicated.
Evaluate your options. Use common sense. Go through the G2, RepVue even Clutch. Read all you can about the product - it’s important. Learning to differentiate between products the company is selling. Do they belong to the nice-to-have or must-have category? Details such as this matter. There are no reasons why you would want to be in an environment where you will have a hard time selling.
Incorporate "hacks” into your interviewing to make an impact. Again not something you will find on the front page of LinkedIn. There are reasons why no one is mentioning it. “Simulating” your future daily activities (cold outreach, setting up calls) is exactly what is going to separate you from the rest. Easiest way to impress those you need to impress.
Combining all of the above points and creating a systematic approach to crush sales interviews is what it's all about. Once you are set with a proven system that works. - no chance you will not be landing a SaaS role. It’s only a matter of time and luck. We are deeply convinced that any of our readers got this.
Before You Start Applying
The two articles below are required reading for anyone who has yet to break into the industry. Something to give you a strategic advantage when compared with others applying for the same roles. Industry basics and resume overview.
Before we move forward important thing to keep in mind.
We are talking about the entry role. Don’t believe anyone trying to sell you the idea that getting into tech sales is now or never opportunity. Better said one-time opportunity that you have to make now. It’s completely false. They are selling you into scarcity.
The SDR role has been here for quite some time. The main reason that everyone is picking up on it now is because it’s a business model in general that is hard to beat. The sales rep must have a solid $ when the product they are selling has an 80%+ gross margin. Majority don’t want the new competition. This is the exact reason why they are pushing you into scarcity while unnecessarily complicating things. When you operate under a scarcity mindset, you are selling yourself short. Not hard to get a big concept behind.
Remember everyone has access to SaaS.
Since we have managed to explain that SaaS is not some magical secret and that anyone can get into it with a bit of luck.
First of all, you have to realize that to win interviews - you have to approach them strategically. Especially now that tech sales are becoming a thing and competition is heating up. What does it mean to approach it strategically? You will keep track of everything. Only comparable way to get better at something. An Excel file is all you will need.
Simple example you can use. The easiest way to track how things are working out.
To not expand unnecessarily when it comes to the preparation path. The whole idea of positioning yourself as best as possible is to create a system around the interviewing. One that will give you enough space to test things out and have a steady pipeline of interviews.
After a few interviews (in any industry) - you quickly realize it’s the same thing over and over again. Meaning if you nail the concept, there is a big possibility you will be able to nail it again in the next interview. The exact reason why it's important to create the system. One that will make it easier for you.
Creating System & Vetting
Creating a “system” comes down to keeping track of how you did before and what you can do the next time to achieve better results. Throw in the interview experience you will pick up along the way and results are guaranteed.
We also call it sequence-based interviewing. What sense does it make? The goal of sequence-based interviewing is to build confidence, build the pipeline, and prepare you for the “better” choices. You just lost the “great company” because you bombed one of the questions? Not a problem? Not an issue. When you have more interviews coming in the same week.
When it comes to creating the system, you will quickly realize that not every company carries the same 'weight'. After reading the above article. You should categorize companies into target and non-target ones. The question is how do you separate target from nontarget companies?
It gets tricky since it depends on multiple factors. Mostly subjective factors. Do you mind working hybrid or does it have to be fully remote? Do you mind moving into a new city because you will be required to do so? Can’t give specifics here since it’s subjective. But what we can comment on is how to separate “good companies” from “bad ones”.
Choosing the right company can become quite complicated. Your two best “indicators” of how good a company or better said how easy you will be able to hit the quota comes to:
Product market fit
Solution: Nice to have or must have
Let’s not lie to each other. This is the basic overview of what you should be looking for. Not saying it’s impossible to hit quota if you are going to sell a “nice to have” solution. But it’s going to make things more challenging when compared with a “must have” one. Especially at a time when global economics are not looking great.
You can be the best salesperson in the world. But with a terrible product, you are not going to do much. Huge factor in your success is choosing the right product.
There are numerous websites such as RepVue where you can check quota attainment and other specifics to help you make decisions while choosing. Not a bad indicator at all. But please take that information with a grain of salt.
Since we are already on the topic of quota attainment and vetting. Your best "indicator” of how things are working would be to reach a current sales rep directly. It’s not the most comfortable thing to do, especially for newcomers. But something you will have to get used to as the job requires it. Why not start immediately?
Make your life easier → follow the cash.
We Are Getting There 1/2 (Applying)
If you are following everything we outlined above. You should have the system set up in place. Companies which you are interested in. Split between those you are considering target and nontarget. Maybe a few of you will be outreaching out already.
Better said testing out the waters.
At this point, you will have to start taking steps that other candidates are not brave enough to do. Unfortunately (for them) they are relying on lame LinkedIn tactics to secure a role. Completely opposite from what we are preaching here. Your goal should be to seek referrals and impress hiring managers.
“Simulating” the activities you will be doing each day in your tech sales role.
Our primary goal when it comes to the first 10 - 15 companies should be to test out how interviewing is working out for you. Not just in the interview part but in general when it comes to the whole setup.
Not getting first round calls? There is a chance something is off with your resume. Getting calls back? Passing the interview rounds? Already got the offer for one of your nontarget companies? They are all certain indicators that one should pay attention to. Good reason we created a complete system earlier.Feeling confident? Time to move to target companies.
The goal in the nontarget applying round should be to:
Practice your Q&A
Exposes your weakness
Test out your resume
We Are Getting There 2/2 (Interviewing)
What’s left? Well, the only thing that counts. Getting yourself into the desired company. We are not saying you should not accept an offer if it appears on your nontarget list. But there is a reason why it was there and not on the target list.
The majority of the readers will expect the miracle outreach method and interview trick that we are going to uncover in this part. The truth? Completely the opposite of that. If you followed what we preached and did what you were supposed to do. There are zero reasons why you would change anything when it comes to dealing with target companies. In case you were successful in previous interviews.
There is no difference between interviewing for target and nontarget.
To be more precise. The only difference will be your stress levels. In the sense you are going to get a taste of how well you behave under pressure. Better said what kind of stress tolerance you have. One of the best indicators of sales career success. To clarify further on that…
Stress is a deal killer. Not only in the interview game but in general. Humans like to stress themselves when they “feel” something is important → target companies will carry more weight than nontarget ones.
Often what we want the most runs away from us.
Our best advice would be to do exactly what you did before. While you were dealing with the nontargets. No magic here. The key is to maintain the same 'not caring' approach you had with nontargets. There are no special companies.
We are confident enough that anyone after 10 - 15 interviews should be able to secure the role in tech sales. As mentioned earlier luck and your preparation levels will play a certain role. Not much you can do about the luck part. But you can do a lot when it comes to preparation.
Trying to keep it as simple as possible - step by step summary to break into tech sales. All the secret there is
Understand the basics of the industry (SaaS)
Create a system
Interview with nontarget companies
Outreach directly to decision-makers
Interview with target companies
Hack your way into the role
Land yourself into SaaS
Extras That Could Help
Please keep in mind certain “tips” were already mentioned in earlier articles and tweets. Few extras to refresh you or give you creative ideas to win over other candidates.
The tweet below should give you an idea. But be smarter. Instead, what you want to do is sign up for the demo of the competitor (of the company you are interviewing with). If you are not certain about how to find competitors. Google the company you are interviewing with + competitor. By far the easiest way. Once you find competitors repeat the steps outlined above.
WiFi Money & Resume
In case you are trying to leverage your WiFi money-side operations onto your resume. Do not mention yourself as a “founder”. It’s a huge red flag when it comes to recruiting. Instead, put yourself as an SDR. You will end up looking like a much better candidate choice on the paper. Since you will already have the necessary experience.
Excess Cash = New Hires
Regularly checking Cruncbase for updates. Better said looking out for all the funding made by big players. Once you identify the potential target → LinkedIn to locate the decision maker.
Outreach directly to them and set up the call. Companies that recently got funded are often sloppy with the money. This means getting an SDR role is easier this way + they are looking for more output. Here we are talking about startups. Not for everyone.
Easy Trick To Impress
Often during the interview rounds, you will come upon questions such as:
"What would be the next potential accounts?"
This may seem complicated for individuals who have yet to learn a few tricks. When in fact, it’s one of the easiest questions to answer and impress your future colleagues. The only requirement is the research part before the interview.
That should not take any longer than 30 minutes.
What you want to do is visit the company website you are interviewing with. Look for their test cases/testimonials section on the page. There you will be able to identify their customers. Now that you know what their customer profile looks like. You will take one of the logos → reverse engineer it by Googling up logo competitors. The rest should be pretty self-explanatory.
Example to demonstrate the idea.
LinkedIn Game (You Have To Play It)
We would argue that at this point, you need it to increase your chances when it comes to landing a role. Not going into details about what good profiles look like (read the article below). What we want to emphasize is playing the recruiter’s algo game.
To get the most out of your profile it’s important that you include SaaS keywords where it’s possible. Go through the 10 tech sales job postings. You will find certain words (relevant ones) that are constantly repeated in each of them.
What do you think recruiters are searching for? Exactly using those same terms. Include them where possible like in the about - summary section. To be completely transparent. We had our doubts but gave the method a go. Around 2.5x more visits to the profile after incorporating what we mentioned.
Extra points if you are connecting with professionals from the industry. Mutual connections do matter since the LinkedIn algorithm likes to prioritize those. This means that you and the recruiter have 14 mutual connections vs. the recruiter and random that got 10 mutual connections. Your profile will be shown first. Not saying this is having the biggest impact on getting noticed. But something to keep in mind.
Easiest & Cheapest Way To Find Decision Maker
Often we get questions such as “What is the easiest” way to find the decision maker? The easiest method would be to get your hands on Sales Nav → Role: Sales Management + Company you are interviewing with. Save leads and outreach.
But what if you are a college student who can’t afford Sales Nav?
The first step is signing up with the Apollo. Once done you should be provided with the 10 credits (monthly - combined with multiple accounts) you can spend on exporting. It works the same way as in Sales Navigator. Use the filter → Role: Sales Management + Company you are interviewing with. Can’t be much easier.
Once you locate the target, export it and outreach. You can reach out either through LinkedIn InMail or cold email. Brave individuals could even try their luck with cold calls. Apollo provides you with the phone numbers as well.
Don’t have any leads left to export? Create a new account - it’s that simple.
Right Place For Me?
Not sure about the company? Will you be able to meet the quota with their product? One of the easiest and most efficient ways to confirm what bothers you would be to contact the former company employee over LinkedIn.
To be more precise. You should search for previous team members in the same role who have left the company in the past year.
Keep it light:
Add them to LinkedIn
Ask if they are available for 10 - 15 minutes while giving them info on what is all about
You got first hand experience
One year is recent enough to provide you with insights into how things are working out and what it's all about. Rarely do significant changes happen in that timeframe.
Let’s wrap up with a full breakdown of one of the methods:
There are a few details left to be added here such as a resume overview (we managed to add it) and a few other tricks we have not covered earlier. The plan is to add them down the road. In general what we managed to provide you here with - should be more than enough to get yourself in a comfortable position.
In the position where you will be able to secure a role.
Not as easy as it used to be a few years ago when it comes to tech sales and breaking into the field. No one can deny that. However, with the right effort and focus. Everyone can achieve a solid remote career in SaaS.
Will you wait for your next career opportunity or create one?
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