Discover the most common career paths in tech sales

July 19, 2022

A guide to your career path in tech sales

Tech sales is booming. 

With 2 out of 3 most recruited roles in the tech industry being sales roles, career prospects are looking great. We always recommend people to do proper research to decide whether tech sales is the right career path for them, and understanding the roles and career paths available can definitely help decide if it’s for you. Tech sales teams usually have well defined roles with distinct responsibilities along the sales process. Here is a brief look at five common positions and career paths in tech sales:

1. Entry-level: Sales Development Rep (SDR)/Business Development Rep (BDR) 

Most people begin their tech sales career as an SDR or Sales Development Rep. An SDR researches and generates new leads, ensuring these potential clients have a need for your product (and can afford it). In this tech sales role, you'll develop relationship-building skills by communicating with clients through emails and phone calls, giving them the information they require, and moving them towards making a purchase. Whilst in some companies an SDR will take the prospect all the way to close, usually, once qualified, an SDR passes leads to the Account Executive who is responsible for closing the deal. SDRs deal with several leads at once, meaning they need to be organized and on the ball.

  • Average salary (2022): €36.488

2. Account Executive (AE)

The next rung on the career ladder in tech sales is Account Executive (AE). AEs will generally do a lot less outreach and prospecting, but keep communicating constantly with clients to nurture them all the way to close. Their role is to close deals. As an AE, you'll have your first opportunity to actively manage a tech sales team, typically two or three SDRs. You'll jump on demos with your customers to portray the value you can provide, and also hold meetings where cost and contract details are discussed. As a large proportion of your time is spent face-to-face with team members or clients, strong interpersonal skills are vital.

  • Average salary (2022):  €43.745

4. Sales Manager

Landing a prestigious role as a Sales Manager in tech sales is a big step up in your career. It is a leadership role that comes with a generous salary and huge responsibility. You are given sales quotas and development plans and it's your responsibility to execute these by managing your teams of AEs and SDRs. A Tech Sales Manager needs excellent managerial and motivational skills as well as having a firm grasp of sales goals and budget management. You would also be managing each team member personally, being aware of their strengths and needs, and developing these with professional development training. Depending on your company's hierarchy, you may also be responsible for recruiting, hiring, and firing. 

  • Average salary (2022): €63.859

3. Enterprise Account Executive (EAE)

The role of an Enterprise Account Executive is not a linear development from being an SDR or AE, but a highly individual tech sales role that delivers great experience in client relationships. This experience can be invaluable later in your career. OSRs extend the market for your company's product to clients and countries outside its normal reach, giving you much more discretion as to how and when you work. Much of your time is spent out of the office talking to potential customers at their place of work, meaning this can be quite a solitary role that doesn't appeal to everyone.

  • Average salary (2022): €68,923

5. Chief Sales Officer VP/CSO

Once an Account Executive has closed a deal, the role of the Account Manager begins. This tech sales role is vital for the ongoing success of a company. An Account Manager keeps customers happy, ensuring they continue to use and pay for your product for many years to come. Regular contact with clients either in person or via phone and email provides them with support, solves any problems, persuades them to renew contracts, and sign up for any new innovations or developments. The key to this tech sales role is an ability to form and maintain strong long-term relationships and success is measured by client retention and satisfaction.

  • Average salary (2022): €136.188

These are the main career roles available in tech sales. If you're ambitious, however, and have plans for a long-term career in the field of tech sales, you could end up as a Vice-President of Sales or Chief Revenue Officer, prestigious roles with salaries in excess of $300,000. If you're ready to begin your career, Hyrise Academy can help you find the perfect role while providing all the training you need to get started.

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