Do you want to work 50 hours a week, and make more money than your engineering friends? 

Would you like to work remotely and never deal with a daily commute? 

Are you interested in solving complex problems for people?

If you said yes to any of these 3 questions then I would highly recommend a career in tech sales! 

Before we get into the details of securing a tech sales job in 2020, I want to tell you the beginning will be difficult. 

One way or another you’ll need to earn your stripes, and that means hard work to start making big money. 

But I want to add some perspective.

  • While being an SDR is difficult no doubt, you’ll make more than 75% of Americans.
  • If you do really well as an SDR, you have a real shot at doubling your income in the next role.
  • The skillsets you learn as an SDR are applicable to every customer-facing role in tech.
  • The type of company that has an SDR team is usually fast-growing and exciting.
  • You are building new sales pipeline, this is top of mind for every company in existence. 

Have said that, here are the steps to get a tech sales role in 2021!

Step 1: You Need A Great SDR Resume

Here’s the deal. You need to get a resume that will get past the automatic scanners the HR team will use. If you understand this you’ll want to keyword stuff your resume. 

This will be true if you have zero experience, or 10 years of experience. You’ll need to get past the computers so a human recruiter can look at your resume. 

Not positive what you should put down? Here’s a simple trick: look for the descriptions in the job posting. Those are the keywords you can expect will be used when scanning your resume. 

Second thing you need to do. If you have a job you need to specifically mention any scenario where sales was involved. If you’ve sold ANYTHING then you’ve got to add it into your resume so it appears you’ve been looking to get into sales for a long time.

What if you have zero sales experience?

Sales is only the transfer of feeling. As you get into your sales career you’ll find a lot of tricks, hacks, and techniques to improve your sales career. They all boil down to having complete confidence in your product or service and getting your prospect to feel the same way. 

Take all your experience where you’ve persuaded somebody to your side, maybe you lead a team project and had to increase budget, maybe you had to convince your boss for a raise; whatever it is add it as sales experience. 

If you can’t find a single situation where you’ve convinced someone to believe in you, then I would recommend you think hard about getting a sales role. You’ll be facing a lot of rejection and you will need to persuade people. 

Once you have a resume you think will pass the scanners it’s time to get the in person interview!

Step 2: Find The Right Sales Job

Do NOT overlook this step. This will determine your trajectory within the organization. When you’re considering looking for a tech sales role you need to factor in the size and the stage of the company. 

There are 3 stages to pay attention to: 

Start-Up: This will be a company at its earliest stages. You can expect chaos, lack of training, and massive opportunity for rapid growth. You will need to demonstrate self-reliance and a knack for solving complex problems above your pay grade. 

Growth: Once a company has a repeatable process and has nailed their niche, they’ll start to add more salespeople for growth and scale. This is a definite sweet spot because the sales process has been flushed out and you’ll get access to top tier executives. 

Mature: This will be where you’ll find Oracle, or Cisco’s of the world. The focus shifts from rapid growth to maintaining process and structure above all. The beauty of this role is you’ll have an excellent training program because the company knows how to make you profitable, but your growth will be slower. 

Let’s look into company size: 

Small (<100 employees): The motto for these companies are: “Make it happen”. Expect chaos and major structural changes during the year. 

Medium (100-1000 employees): The motto for these companies are: “How can we make this predictable?” The focus is accelerated growth and controlling the chaos. 

Large (>1000 employees): The motto for these companies are: “Don’t break it.” They have a working process, many layers of management, and multiple product lines or vertices to sell into. 

Here’s the fun part…

You need to determine where you want to enter the market. If you’re okay with risk, feel like you have a decent sales background, and can learn easily on the fly, I would recommend going with a growth or start-up company because you’ll have the most opportunity. 

If you’re more conservative, want to get a good training program, and would like a high power name on your resume I would recommend a mature company for you to enter. 

At the end of the day you’ll need to make the decision based on your personality, but at least you have something to analyze the market with. 

Step 3: Getting the interview

There are 3 methods for getting an in-person interview. I’m going to rank them from most effective to least effective, along with the pro’s and con’s of each. 

Hardest: Direct Outreach To Potential Employer

Want to know the number 1 way to show your potential new employer you’re a good sales person? Convince the VP or Director you’ll be a good sales rep.  

Here’s something you need to understand. A leader needs to be certain a new employee will be profitable for the company before they make the hiring decision. 

This is why I like to consider this the bunt-down approach. Your goal here is to get an internal referral to the hiring manager from above. 

Second Hardest: Working With Recruiters

Recruiters are great because they provide you with access to job opportunities that might not be on the market or being promoted openly, and they add great value for your career if you build relationships with recruiters. 

There are key things you’ll want to ask yourself if you’re going to work with a recruiter. You need to find people who will be committed to being a recruiter for a long time. 

You can find this if the person has more than 3 years of recruiter experience, and is very active within the community. For instance they could be on boards or a part of a volunteer organization. 

Easiest: Applying Online

Applying online is the tried and true method of obtaining a sales job. The only thing is you’re going to be at the mercy of the recruitment process and you’re competing with everyone else. 

Step 4 Nail The Interview 

Here’s where the rubber hits the road. You will now have your first interactions with a potential employer. Here’s the process and how to prepare. 

The Phone Screening: 

This is where an internal recruiter or HR person will reach out to you for a 15 minute conversation. They do this because they can cover a large amount of candidates in a short amount of time. 

Do not take this part of the process lightly. The HR person will be the one providing notes to your hiring manager and you can find them to be a valuable champion for you through the process. 

What To Expect From This Interview

You have to expect these phone screeners will vary in their approach to the role. Some of them will be disinterested, short, and lacking in enthusiasm. 

If they do this then just know they’re playing a game with you. 

They want to see if you lose energy, get demotivated, and fail to pursue harder for the sale. 

They do this for 2 reasons: 

  1. This is a way to see if you can handle the SDR role. 
  2. By making you pursue more it makes you want the job more. (A bit like reverse psychology)

There will be other people who are upbeat and walk through a checklist of questions. These are the best because they’re only looking to check off the boxes and you can get a treasure trove of information by building rapport and asking good questions. 

Expect to be asked questions about your background, why you applied for the position, and to perform a quick walkthrough of your resume. 

Your NUMBER 1 goal is to be enthusiastic as hell, a force to be reckoned with, and an expert in your field. You need to build rapport with this person and make them believe you need to have a conversation with the hiring manager. 

Important Tip: Close the next conversation. You need to ask directly about what the next steps are and when they’ll occur. Then send a follow up email with any points made. 

The On-Site Interview

You got past the gatekeeper and you now have an appointment with your “prospect”, the hiring manager. Congrats! 

Your next step is making your potential future boss genuinely believe you’re the absolute right hire. 

Before we get into the actual interview let’s talk about your first impression.

Dress Code: 

Business casual AT A MINIMUM. The nice thing about tech sales is you’ll mostly dress in where you’ll be able to wear blue jeans and a polo almost every day. (after work gets back to a post-COVID normal) 

However, for your interview you need to dress 1 level up from your peers. I would highly recommend you bring a blazer or sport coat for your interview, and you most likely won’t need a tie.


Give a warm, welcoming smile the moment you are introduced to anyone within the organization. This is SO CRITICAL. Many people fail to do this and it loses you valuable impression points. 

Interview Preparation

Before you start the interview you need to have researched the company you’re interviewing at. 

Your goal is to give the hiring manager the impression you can walk into the company on day 1 and begin making calls and booking meetings for them. If they feel you already understand the industry, their company, and the sales process you’ll have a leg up from your competition. 

Here are some key research questions you should ask yourself: 

  • When was the company founded, and what is their growth story?
  • What products do they sell? 
  • What is their Ideal Customer Profile?
  • What are big customers they have in their portfolio? 
  • How are they different from their competition?
  • Has there been any major events like an acquisition or division sale?

If you come to the interview with this information at hand, you’ll have a more productive meeting with the hiring manager. 

Because you have a limited resource, time, your objective with the interview is to get the basics of the company out of the way and really dive into the nitty gritty of their processes. 

Pro Tip: The interview is just as much you qualifying the potential employer as they’re qualifying you. 

Step 5: Ask For The Order

The interview went great! You were thorough about your research. You found out the sales teams processes, and you were able to determine if the company you interviewed for was a good one. 

Now comes the part where most beginning tech sales reps miss. Ask for the order! 

At the end of the interview with your hiring manager, you must say something to like this: 

Mark, thank you for your time and I appreciate the opportunity to learn from you and your team. I know I can provide excellent results for you because of my passion for the industry, experience with quality research, and self-reliance to get the job done right. I would love to work here. What do you think?

You’re putting the ball in their court and now you’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re a professional. You’ve set clear expectations, you’ve built great rapport, and now you’re going for solid next steps. 

Don’t get fooled. This is the same process a sales person will go through in their career as they sell products or services. 


Hopefully this helped with your pursuit into tech sales. It’s a rewarding field and as Zig Ziglar says: “It’s the hardest easy work, and the easiest hard work of any profession.” 

If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or reach out! 

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