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How to get a job in Software Sales

Breaking into the software sales industry can be a rewarding career move, offering the opportunity to work with innovative products and technologies, a competitive salary and progression.
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Great salespeople are relationship builders who provide value and help their customers win.

Jeffrey Gitomer - Sales Trainer and Author​

Breaking into the software sales industry can be a rewarding career move, offering the opportunity to work with innovative products and technologies, a competitive salary, and the potential for growth. Whether you’re transitioning from another field or starting fresh, this guide will help you understand how to secure a job in software sales.

Understanding software sales

Software Sales is a field where professionals sell software solutions to businesses and individuals. This role involves identifying customer needs, presenting software solutions, negotiating deals, and maintaining customer relationships. To succeed, you need a blend of technical understanding and sales skills.

Skills and experience required

If you're serious about getting into the industry, what do you need to bring to the table come interview time? There is always going to be a spectrum here, with entry-level roles being a lot more open to those with limited previous work experience. Here are just a few of the areas you'll want to focus on when it comes to writing your CV or preparing for an interview, in order to highlight your most relevant attributes. 

  • Sales Experience: A background in sales is crucial. Experience in any sales role can provide a foundation, but software sales specifically requires an understanding of how software can solve business problems. Developing skills in communication, negotiation, and customer relationship management is essential.
  • Technical Knowledge: While you don't need to be a software engineer, having a basic understanding of software functionality and technical terminology can be beneficial. This knowledge helps in understanding the product you are selling and explaining its benefits to potential customers.
  • Sales Cycle and Process Knowledge: Familiarity with the sales cycle—from lead generation to closing deals—is important. This includes understanding the steps involved in the sales process, such as prospecting, qualifying leads, presenting solutions, handling objections, and finalising the sale.
  • Decision Maker Engagement: Effective software sales professionals know how to identify and engage with key decision makers within a company. This involves understanding the customer's business and tailoring your sales approach to meet their specific needs.
  • Adaptability and Persistence: The software sales landscape is constantly evolving. Being adaptable and persistent, especially in the face of rejection, is crucial for long-term success.

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An example of a software sales cycle - Cognism's 8 step B2B sales process


Which companies hire software salespeople?

One of the real positives when it comes to getting into this sector, is the wide range of opportunities that are available to you. There are a huge variety of companies that will hire individuals to sell software and technology platforms. When considering these different organisations, you could break them down into the following: 

  • SaaS Companies / Software Vendors: These companies build their own software products and either offer them as a standalone package or sell their software as a service. Examples include CRM systems, marketing automation tools, embedded systems and project management software. Positions in SaaS companies often involve selling subscription-based software.
  • Tech Giants: Large technology companies, such as Microsoft, Google, and Oracle, frequently hire software sales professionals to sell their extensive range of software products and solutions. The same goes for the big names in AI, Data Storage and Cloud platforms. 
  • Startups: Startups are constantly in need of sales talent to help bring their innovative software solutions to market. These roles can be highly dynamic and offer opportunities for rapid advancement.
  • Consultancies and Value Added Resellers: Companies that provide software consulting services or act as resellers for major software brands also require skilled sales professionals.
Each one of these branches of tech sales, when hiring, will often seek inidividuals with prior experience working in the same verticle. This is to benefit the lead time to creating an impact, transfer across existing sales relationships and benefit from industry specific knowledge that may offer an advantage. 

Transitioning from other industries

Transitioning into software sales from another industry is entirely possible, especially if you are getting into the field at a fairly junior level. Even when this is not the case, it can be made a lot easier if you have the abiluty to demonstrate you have experience in:

  • Tech Sales: If you have experience selling other tech products, such as hardware or telecommunications solutions, you can leverage your understanding of the tech industry and sales process.
  • Business Development: Professionals with a background in business development often have the skills needed for software sales, such as identifying business opportunities, building relationships, and negotiating deals.
  • Customer Service: Those with customer service experience can transition into software sales by emphasising their skills in handling customer needs and building relationships.
  • Marketing: If you have a background in marketing, particularly digital marketing, you can use your knowledge of customer engagement and tech tools to excel in software sales.

Care enough to create value for customers. If you get that part right, selling is easy.

Anthony Iannarino - Speaker and founder of The Sales Blog​

How can I get into software sales?

When starting out, applying for roles in a new industry can often feel daunting. There are some basic steps you can take in order to make your initial venture into the sector as successful as possible!

  1. Build Your Knowledge: Start by understanding the software industry. Learn about different types of software, current trends, and major players in the market. Online courses, webinars, and industry blogs can be useful resources.
  2. Develop Your Sales Skills: Enhance your sales techniques through courses and practical experience. Focus on skills like negotiation, communication, and lead generation.
  3. Network: Networking is crucial. Connect with professionals in the industry through LinkedIn, industry events, and professional associations. This can lead to job opportunities and valuable insights.
  4. Tailor Your CV: Highlight relevant experience, such as any sales roles or technical knowledge. Emphasise your understanding of the sales cycle and your ability to engage with decision makers.
  5. Gain Experience: If you lack direct experience in software sales, consider starting in a related role, such as a sales development representative (SDR) or account executive. These positions can provide valuable experience and help you build a track record of success.
  6. Prepare for Interviews: Be ready to demonstrate your sales skills and technical knowledge. Practice explaining complex software solutions in simple terms and prepare to discuss how you handle various stages of the sales process.
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Secure your software sales role today


Getting a job in software sales involves a mix of technical knowledge, sales skills, and persistence. Our team of consultants here at Applause IT can help you take that next step - from CV advice and interview tips to industry knowledge and market insights. 

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