Graduating from — or even starting — college in an uncertain environment like the one we are currently in can be daunting. You might not know yet what you want to do after graduating, what to major in, or where to get started along the way. Internships are a great way to get your career started, but those are competitive and can be hard to come by.
Because we know how difficult it can be, we wanted to take some time to share some of the valuable lessons we think you can learn through a career in software sales.
At Dakota, we’ve been in the software sales business since 2018, and have seen our team grow and change rapidly in that time. And, as a 54-year-old CEO of that same fast-growing SaaS business, I have learned a few things over the years.
Because I still see myself as a salesperson, and because I believe everybody is, to some extent, in sales, I am here to make a case for a career in sales and in this particular instance, SaaS sales.
In this article, I’m going to outline some of the most important things you can learn in your first year as a software salesperson. By the end of the article, you’ll have a much better sense of everything you can get from a career in a SaaS environment, and whether or not it’s a fit for you and your skills.
Is SaaS sales a lucrative career choice?
The short answer here is: yes.
The reason for this is simple: I believe you need to make life easier on yourself when considering what to do after you graduate from college rather than harder. Embarking in a career in sales is a great way to do just that. It’s a role that can be fast-growing, lucrative, and rewarding.
However, you do need to think through where you want to be in the future. Let’s say, however, that you're not quite sure to start. Consider a few things that you have control over as you make career decisions:
- Choose an industry that is growing and hopefully fast growing (software, SaaS)
- Pick a job that has good economics associated with it (e.g. compensation) like recurring revenue and subscription revenue.
The next thing is to map out, at a very basic level, what skills you are developing in the industry and role you are choosing.
Good workers are very valuable, regardless of your role (website manager, data leader, sales, marketing, client service, finance, technology, etc). Basically, can you get stuff done? Can you communicate progress to your team? This is a key component of any career, not just sales, and something that will set you apart.
Starting your career in software/SaaS sales provides you with the proper foundation for success in business. One of the key things is that the skills you learn in the job you will use for life are highly transferable, meaning you are building your skills brick by brick.
A highly competitive individual who presents themselves well is ideally suited to launch their career in software/SaaS sales. You can learn the basics quickly and move up quickly depending upon the amount of practice time you put in.
Next I’ll touch on some of the many things you will learn and encounter throughout your first year as a software salesperson.
25 things (at a minimum) you will learn as a SaaS salesperson
- How to build relationships
- The importance of asking for things
- The importance of delivering value first to your prospects
- How to manage a one-person business
- The business economics of a SaaS business
- How to set-up a meeting
- How to use Salesforce.com
- How to “demo” a product
- The importance of subscription revenue
- How to upsell by adding more value to your customer
- What it means to create a large total addressable market (TAM)
- How to tell a product story in a powerful way
- How to use a wide variety of other software platforms
- The role marketing plays in the sales process
- How to take a prospect through a sales process
- The importance of teamwork at work
- The importance of communication with your teammates
- The importance of culture and how it accelerates growth
- How to launch a new product
- How to price a product
- How to write emails that get high response rates
- How to call a prospect to introduce yourself and set-up a meeting
- How to shoot video
- How to ask the proper questions of your prospect
- How to sell
At the end of your first year you will have built a foundation of world class business skills and in all likelihood will be an Account Executive Leading a team of three business development reps.
How to get started as a SaaS salesperson
At Dakota, our motto is always know who to call on, and I think this can be extended to your career as well. Knowing where to start is key. If you’re just starting out, you can look for jobs on the Dakota Job Board, or join the Dakota team directly, by viewing our current openings.