Tech Sales Career Track

Tech sales can be a lucrative career that requires a unique skill set. Learn the best places to find jobs and how to enter tech sales.

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portrait of Alison Plaut
by Alison Plaut

Published August 4, 2022

Edited by Madison Hoehn
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"Salesperson" is currently one of the top three most in-demand jobs on LinkedIn worldwide. Tech sales professionals sell technology such as software, hardware, or an IT service. There are several subspecialties within tech sales, so each professional can choose a path that harnesses their individual strengths.

Tech sales is not isolated to software companies or tech giants. Companies of all sizes rely on tech salespeople to solve technical problems and improve business efficiency. These professionals act as skilled advocates for their company's products and provide useful long-term business solutions.

Tech salespeople, also called sales engineers, earned a median salary of $103,710 in 2021. The highest-paid 10% of sales engineers earned a salary of $182.850. These careers are also growing, with projected job growth of 5% to 8% between 2020 to 2030.

What Is Tech Sales?

Tech sales is a subspeciality of sales. Tech salespeople act as representatives for software or other technology companies to promote their products and services. With the prevalence of technology, nearly all companies purchase technology to facilitate operations. If a company uses specific tech like Apple or Microsoft or software like Canva, a tech salesperson may have sold them these products.

Tech salespeople use their knowledge of the products or services to help companies solve problems. This is often a multi-step process. Tech sales representatives may be asked to generate leads, research prospective clients' pain points, and understand an organization's internal structure. With this understanding, they can explain the value their company's products can add and provide solutions.

What Does a Tech Salesperson Do?

A tech salesperson works as an advocate for their company. They facilitate the sales process, from prospecting leads to closing the sale and providing ongoing support. A tech salesperson can facilitate the entire sale or choose one of several subspecialties, including:

These professionals specialize in one aspect of the tech sales funnel. For example, a business development representative reaches out to new potential clients and generates leads. Account executives in tech and SaaS specialists work to move sales-qualified leads to customers by finalizing the sale.

Post-sale, account managers offer service and support to customers to ensure all needs and expectations are met. Customer success managers help clients take full advantage of the product offering to improve their business operations. These professionals will need proficiency in the technology or software sold.

Throughout the sales process, inside sales representatives work with clients through digital communication online or through phone conversations.

Tech Sales Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that tech sales and sales engineering jobs will grow 8% between 2020 and 2030. That is similar to the projected national average growth rate for all occupations. Forty-nine percent of industry employment is in computer systems design and related services. As of May 2022, top employers hiring include Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Autodesk, and Cypress Semiconductors.

The top-paying states for sales engineers as of May 2021 were Maryland, Colorado, California, Virginia, and Washington. States with the greatest number of tech sales jobs available include Massachusetts, Texas, Connecticut, California, and Maryland.

The median salary for sales engineers in 2021 was $103,710. Sales engineers with the lowest 10% of salaries earned $62,300. The highest-paid 10% earned $182.850.

Tech Sales Career Paths

There are several career paths within tech sales. Applicants can choose to focus on pre-sale, post-sale, or client success. Some of the most common tech sales jobs include sales representative, account executive, or sales account manager.

Sales Representative

Sales representatives work through all steps of the sales process. They identify prospective customers, contact new and existing customers, prepare sales contracts, and follow up with customers after the sale.

Wholesale and manufacturing sales managers are a subset of sales representatives making up about 33% of total tech sales jobs (May 2021). For the sale of scientific or technical products, prospective sales representatives usually need a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

Median Salary (May 2021)
$62,890


Account Executive

An account executive works as the primary contact for potential customers and facilitates communication between vendors and the customers. Account executives at technology companies are responsible for the initial sale and ongoing communication with a portfolio of clients. For technical sales, most companies require a minimum education of a bachelor's degree.

Average Salary (June 2022)
$61,100


Sales Account Manager

Sales account managers work with a group of clients. Sales account managers build and maintain relationships with their clients to facilitate ongoing sales. These professionals work with clients or other departments to resolve any customer issues or complaints. In tech sales, sales account managers often need a bachelor's degree.

Average Salary (June 2022)
$60,190


Sales Operations

Sales operation managers work to oversee a company's sales teams and progress. Sales account managers may also oversee a group of sales representatives. Sales managers monitor customer preferences and analyze sales statistics.

Other job responsibilities include monitoring sales performance and addressing customer complaints. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree.

Median Salary (May 2021)
$127,490


Sales Engineer

Sales engineers sell scientific or technological products to businesses. Responsibilities include preparing technical presentations and educational materials, adapting products to customer needs, and solving client installation and technical problems.

These professionals can be called upon for research and development of new products or to recommend improved materials or machinery. Most sales engineers need a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

Median Salary (May 2021)
$103,710

What Kind of Skills Do Tech Salespeople Need?

Although it can be an interesting and demanding career, tech sales requires a strong soft skill set beyond technical education. Tech sales skills like communication, problem-solving, and current tech knowledge can help professionals succeed. Below are some useful skills for tech salespeople.

Problem-Solving

From following customer leads to offering support with the product after the sale, problem-solving is essential in tech sales. Tech salespeople work with companies in the pre-sale phase to understand a company's pain points and provide solutions to these problems. After the sale, these professionals may be called upon to troubleshoot technology or adapt products to meet customers' needs.

Strong Communication

All sales representatives rely on their communication skills to succeed. In tech sales, professionals need strong communication skills to convey their value proposition to customers and clearly express technical information. Team and inter-departmental communication is also necessary to build a cohesive message and provide efficient customer support.

Up-to-Date Tech Knowledge

Up-to-date technical knowledge of the products and services offered is essential for tech sales careers. Current technical knowledge allows these professionals to educate customers on product value and company-specific applications. As technology evolves, professionals must keep updating their knowledge and technical understanding.

Eye for New Opportunities

Sales is often about finding or creating opportunities. Tech sales representatives can apply their creativity, technical understanding, and problem-solving skills to find new opportunities. This can include identifying potential clients, new products, or services emerging within the industry.

Is a Career in Tech Sales Worth It?

Tech sales careers can be lucrative, interesting opportunities for professionals who enjoy technology and innovation. Median salaries range from $62,890 to $127,490. Projected growth for tech sales jobs is 5% to 8% from 2020 to 2030.

Tech sales can be a good career for professionals who enjoy working with technical information, emerging tech, and innovation. As this career involves communication with both customers and companies, professionals with strong communication skills and who enjoy working with others can be a good fit.

According to the BLS, Massachusetts, Texas, Connecticut, California, and Maryland have the greatest number of tech sales jobs available as of May 2021.. For sales engineers, the broad term for tech sales, the top-paying metropolitan areas include Salisbury, Delaware; Birmingham, Alabama; Washington D.C.; Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia; and San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara, California. Companies like Apple, Microsoft, Dell, and Autodesk are some of the top employers hiring tech sales professionals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tech Sales Careers

Can I get into tech sales with no experience?

It is possible to get a tech sales job with no experience. While some employers look for degrees and professional qualifications, others look for sales experience. Success in any other sales career can help professionals shift into tech sales.

New professionals can consider tech sales jobs at smaller companies or internships to gain valuable sales experience. Remember that sales is all about showcasing a unique value proposition that can solve a customer's problem. If applicants can demonstrate to a potential employer how they can help solve their current problem, they may have their first sale and a new job.

Is sales a stable career?

Yes, with experience, sales can be a stable career. Some sales careers, such as real estate agents, work exclusively on commission. Other sales careers have a base salary plus commission. In tech sales, it is common for sales representatives to have an annual base salary along with the opportunity to earn commissions.

The base salary provides minimum security and stability regardless of performance. In these careers, commissions motivate employees to reach new targets and increase job performance. Commissions also ensure that top-performing employees are rewarded in proportion to their success.

Is sales a stressful career?

Reaching performance metrics or sales quotas can make sales a stressful career for some people. Other professionals thrive in the high-pressure environment of sales. The level of stress in a career will depend on many factors. These include the company culture, sales targets, clients, and each professional's tolerance to stress and aptitude for the job.

With median salaries in tech sales ranging from $62,300 to $182.850, sales can be an interesting and lucrative career. Professionals who enjoy communication, problem-solving, attention to detail, and working with a variety of people can enjoy sales careers.

Feature Image: Maskot / Maskot / Getty Images

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