All posts

What is tech sales?

The tech industry is booming. With thousands of tech companies actively hiring sales professionals, many people are considering it as their next career path. And yet many people are still not clear on exactly what tech sales is.

The technology industry is booming.

There have never been as many tech unicorns as there are today — companies worth over 1 billion — and these companies are hungry for talent.

8 of the 10 largest companies in the world are now technology companies.

Many people believe that you need to be able to program to work in the technology industry. But A recent study from glassdoor has shown that almost half of the jobs advertised by tech companies involve non-technical functions.

“43% of jobs advertised by technology companies were non-technical.”

Sales professionals are one of the most sought after profiles in technology companies today. With thousands of tech companies actively looking for sales talent, it's no surprise that many people are considering this area as their next career move.

  • Entry level jobs generally require no previous experience or degrees.
  • They are fun, fulfilling jobs with lots of personal responsibility.
  • They are well-paid and offer tremendous opportunities for growth.

And yet many people are still not 100% aware of what tech sales actually is.

If the word “sales” makes you think of the typical pushy salesperson trying to persuade people to buy things they don't need, then you're completely wrong. Sales professionals in the technology sector are now more comparable to consultants. Your goal is to help customers succeed.

If you're considering tech sales as the next step in your career, it's important that you know what you're getting yourself into.

In this blog post, we give you an overview of the career in tech sales. We will cover:

  • What is tech sales?
  • What is SaaS and why is it so popular?
  • The buyer's journey and the sales process
  • General tasks and responsibilities in tech sales
  • What does a career in tech sales look like?

Let's get started!

Definition of tech sales

Tech sales, also known as digital sales, is a general term. Essentially, this is the process of selling technology.

That could be:

  • Hardware — for example laptops, mobile devices, or portable technology such as Macbooks or iPhones.
  • Software — for example consumer applications such as Spotify or Netflix, or business software such as Salesforce or Slack.
  • Services — for example, consulting and integration providers such as CapGemini or Cognizant.

However, when we talk about “tech sales,” it is usually a sales environment in Business-to-business (B2B) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) meant.

🤔 Moment, B2B and SaaS — what?

Don't be put off by the acronyms:

  • B2B means business to business. There are B2B and B2C companies. A “B2B company” sells its product or service to other companies (business to business), while a B2C (business to consumer) company sells its product or service directly to consumers.
  • SaaS means software as a service. When a company develops software and allows end users to access it via the Internet for a monthly fee, this is called software-as-a-service. SaaS companies can be B2B, B2C, or both. Spotify, Netflix, Gmail, Shopify, or Salesforce are all examples of SaaS models.

The reason why the term “tech sales” is commonly associated with B2B SaaS sales is that this is the industry within the technology sector that currently has the greatest demand for sales experts.


First off, SaaS is a huge business, and it's just getting bigger. Gartner assumes that The SaaS market alone will reach a volume of 113.1 billion US dollars in 2021. Second, selling to companies (B2B) is much more complex than selling to end users, as there are usually multiple stakeholders and decision makers involved. In this environment, a good sales process and qualified salespeople are crucial for success.

In this article, we'll focus on B2B sales in SaaS companies.

Why is SaaS so popular?

For companies, SaaS (together with IaaS and PaaS) was revolutionary. Let's take the example of setting up your own e-commerce.

Before SaaS, if you wanted to build an e-commerce business, you had to invest in an in-house technical team to build custom software, including a web or mobile application, a database, a payment gateway, CRM management, physical server...

Nowadays, you can do all of this for around €30 per month on Shopify or WordPress.

Essentially, SaaS means that companies don't need to develop their own software tools to run their business (Salesforce, GSuite) or offer their services (Shopify). Instead, they can use these software tools for a subscription payment.

As a result, the SaaS model has become very popular in the B2B environment.

According to Forbes, the average company now pays 20 times more for SaaS subscriptions than it did five years ago and uses more than 30 free SaaS products. The average midsize company spends 20,000 dollars per month on SaaS subscriptions.
This trend doesn't seem to be slowing down as app usage is increasing across all departments. ”

Now, you might think that customers will naturally flock to them in droves given the tremendous benefits these companies offer and that there is no need to spend a lot on marketing or sales.

But the opposite is the case.

There are so many companies competing for market share that the companies with the best marketing and sales processes are usually also the most competitive. For this reason, companies are constantly looking for top tech sales people who can help them grow.

Over time, B2B SaaS companies have turned the sales process and the roles that bring it to life into a science.

Let's have a look at that!

Buyer's journey and the B2B sales process

Before we can dive deeper into the various roles and responsibilities of tech sales professionals, it's important to understand how B2B tech companies buy and sell today by addressing two core concepts: the buyer's journey and the sales process.

Buyer's Journey

Think about the last time you bought something. You probably didn't just get called by someone and immediately pulled out your credit card.

You probably realized you needed something first, then researched online, evaluated various options, and maybe even talked to one or two providers before making a purchase decision.

Technology companies have learned that the buying process is a journey and consumers go through a process that the industry calls the “buyer's journey”.

You'll likely see many complex versions of a buyer's journey. We like the simplified model, which divides the process into 3 phases:

buyer's journey
Stages in the buyer's journey. Source:

The sales process

Just as customers won't give their credit card to the first caller, sellers won't pick up the phone and immediately close a sale.

In practice, sales employees must tailor their sales activities to every phase of the buying process in order to support the purchase process.

  • If you try to sell something to someone who is still in the early stages of their buying decision, you're likely to lose them. They're not ready yet. At the beginning, it is primarily about informing the buyer, advising him and identifying his needs.
  • If you don't let a buyer know until they're ready to make a decision, you'll likely have trouble closing the sale. The final phase is primarily about communicating the enormous value of your solution to the customer.

We call this the sales process.

Verkaufsprizess, Finde einen Job in 30 tage. Dein traum job hier
Sales activities along the buyer's journey. Source:

Each sales process varies from company to company, depending on the product and industry, but in essence, they all go through the same general steps:

  • You gain leads through a mix of inbound and outbound measures. We call that prospecting.
  • You're trying to qualify these leads as early as possibleto make sure you're spending your time on the leads that are most likely to convert. This is usually done through “exploratory calls.”
  • This phase is not about selling, but about qualification: Is there a real need that your product can solve? Do they have the budget and authority to make the purchase? Is now a good time to buy?
  • Once a lead is qualified and engaged, they become a potential customer, and you can talk (sell) about your product. In this phase, you usually do sales demos to present your product and show how it can solve your potential customers' problems.
  • The last step is to close the sale. This is likely to include meetings with other stakeholders, sending out proposals, negotiating, overcoming objections, and closing the deal.

As you can see, there are no intrusive “Wall Street” sales tactics in this process. A big part of your job involves acting as a consultant. That is why listening, questioning effectively and empathy are important skills that you should have and develop in tech sales.

It's about understanding your customers' problems and proving that you can add value.

Roles in the sales process

Now that you're familiar with the sales process, we can start discussing the various roles and responsibilities within a sales team.

The exact tasks and responsibilities vary depending on the company, product and industry. In fact, there are so many different role names and areas of responsibility that it can get pretty confusing. For some models, a single salesperson handles the entire sales process. In other cases, each person focuses on a minor activity during one of the steps.

In this blog post, we'll focus exclusively on the three most common roles.

sales roles along the funnel. Finde einen job in 30 tagen in Tech Sales
Sales roles along the funnel. Source:

1. Sales Development Reps (SDR) or Business Development Reps (BDR)

Die SDRs and BDRs are responsible for generating and qualifying suitable leads. They focus on outreach, acquisition, and lead qualification. Instead of closing deals, SDRs are focused on getting in touch with as many leads as possible and determining whether they're right for their company's products.

They make contacts and learn more about the businesses and needs of their customers. When a potential customer is a good fit, the SDRs plan the next steps with sales staff who have more experience in their company (usually an account executive).

Common activities include:

  • Cold and warm contacts through a mix of phone calls, emails, and social selling (e.g. LinkedIn)
  • Needs assessment and qualification through discovery calls

2. Account Executives (AE)

There are account executives (AEs) in companies in virtually all industries. They are usually responsible for closing sales transactions in order to attract new customers. They usually have a revenue target and receive a commission when they sell their company's products and services.

In tech sales, a sales representative usually works with a Sales Development Representative (SDR), who arouses initial interest and arranges the first sales call. The sales representative is then responsible for sales demonstrations and closing the deal.

Common activities include:

● Conducting sales demonstrations

● Preparation of proposals

● Negotiations and deals

3. Customer Success Manager (CSM)

As soon as a customer is acquired and integrated, it is usually handed over to a Customer Success Manager.

CSMs are responsible for ensuring that existing customers are satisfied (satisfaction) and continue to use the product (retention). They also fulfill a sales function (that's why they're listed here), which is to encourage existing customers to upgrade their products (upsell).

What does a career in tech sales look like?

The career paths in tech sales depend heavily on the person, the country, the industry and the type of company. You can choose to become a powerful lone fighter, a team leader, or even an entrepreneur.

Our friends from have created a great overview of the various career opportunities in the USA 👇

Wie sieht eine Karriere im Tech Sales /digital vertrieb aus

Career opportunities outside the USA are similar to those described above, but salaries vary, of course. Below are the average salaries for SDRs and AEs in different regions 👇

Durchschnittsgehälter für SDRs und AEs
Source: LinkedIn Salaries

That's it!

To make a long story short:

  • Tech sales professionals are in high demand.
  • They perform tasks that focus on solving customer problems.
  • They are well-paid and offer plenty of room for growth.
  • Entry-level positions do not necessarily require a university degree or previous experience.

Tech sales can be a wonderful career choice for many people.

A study by Princeton researchers found that 1 in 5 people has all the necessary skills to be successful in sales. Yet many people never consider this profession because they don't know what it's about or simply don't have access to it.

For this reason, we founded “Hyrise Academy” to give motivated people access to tech sales careers regardless of their background.

We hope this overview helps you to better understand the world of tech sales and the associated career opportunities.

Do you want to start your career in tech sales? Apply here.

Table of contents
Share article