How to Become a Tech Sales Rep
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- More than half of tech industry jobs require no specific technical training.
- The BLS reported the median tech sales salary was $95,420 in May 2020.
- Combine sales experience with technical expertise for tech sales jobs.
- Choose from a degree, bootcamp, or professional certification.
Technology companies continue to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported computer systems design and related services added 154,000 new jobs in February.
And while tech companies continue to look for new talent in coding and development, more than half the jobs available require no specific technical skills. These roles include marketing, operations, and technical sales. Sales staff work directly with clients and consumers, explaining the benefits of software or services.
The computer systems design and related services industry employed almost 140,000 people in sales roles, with a average salary of $95,420 in May 2020. This guide covers essential skills and qualities tech companies look for in a tech sales rep.
What Are the Requirements to Become a Tech Sales Rep?
A tech sales rep often takes on the role of consultant, working with clients and customers to evaluate their needs and recommend products and services. They build relationships with clients, negotiate contracts, and ensure customer satisfaction by working with other company teams, such as customer support or development. Tech sales reps excel in persuasion, active listening, and understanding others' reactions.
While many tech sales jobs do not require formal education, employers seek sales reps to build relationships with customers and other teams. Often, tech sales reps bring practical experience in different types of sales, such as retail sales. Some sales reps may have a degree in business or a related field.
Tech sales reps do need to understand the products they promote. Communication between the sales team, development team, and marketing groups can help ensure the sales staff understands the key features of technical products. Tech sales reps must also pay attention to details and keep a well-organized office and schedule.
Some companies also require tech sales reps to hold a valid driver's license and be able to travel to meet with customers in person.
What Does Tech Sales Training Look Like?
You can begin your tech sales career with a high school diploma. Working in retail or another type of sales can prepare you to work with people and build the communication skills necessary for a successful sales career. However, the technical nature of tech sales may require some understanding of coding, software, and business. Many companies also offer training programs specific to their product.
Educational options include:
- A certificate or degree in computer programming from a vocational school or community college.
- A bachelor's degree in computer science or business management.
- A coding bootcamp.
Tech sales reps may also hold specialized career certifications in healthcare or technology. Certification as a pharmacy technician, emergency medical technician, or nurse can benefit you in a sales profession. You can also find sales-focused training through the Manufacturers' Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF) or the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE).
MRERF offers professional credentials for certified professional sales consultants and certified professional manufacturers' representatives, as well as in manufacturers' best practices. ATMAE offers a certified technical professional credential.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Tech Sales Rep?
Becoming a tech sales rep can take a few months or several years, depending on the educational path you choose. Options include several weeks for a coding bootcamp program to four or more years for an undergraduate degree.
Coding bootcamps, which do not require prior coding experience, require 12-40 weeks, with full-time and part-time options. A certificate in computer programming or IT support from a vocational college often requires about 12 months of study.
An associate degree in business or computer science typically requires 60 credits and takes at least two years to complete. A bachelor's degree in these fields can require four years or more.
You may need several years of sales experience outside of tech before seeking a tech sales job. You can gain this experience while you pursue your education. Be sure to track key metrics related to sales volume to showcase your expertise to potential employers.
Frequently Asked Questions About a Tech Sales Rep Career
Do tech sales reps have good salaries?
According to the BLS, the average computer systems design industry sales professional earned $95,420 in May 2020. Those in tech sales earned an average salary of $90,900, sales supervisors earned $117,540, and technical products wholesale sales representatives earned $108,480 during the same period.
Is tech sales a good career?
Tech sales jobs will continue to grow as tech companies grow. Tech sales representatives ensure companies meet their revenue goals. They also help build the company's reputation among customers and potential buyers. They serve as the company's face for most clients, and they ensure good service and customer satisfaction by working with other teams within the organization.
Is it hard to become a tech sales rep?
You need sales experience and an understanding of the technical products for a tech sales job. Products may include programming or computer administration services, mobile apps, or Software as a Service (SAAS). Your experience, education, and training help you communicate the value of these goods and services to potential clients.
You can choose from various educational paths to find a tech sales job: bootcamps, associate degree programs, vocational programs, or four-year degree programs. A degree in business can help you advance your career to sales manager roles.
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