College vs. Career Bootcamps when Pursuing Sales

College vs. Career Bootcamps when Pursuing Sales

Throughout history, the gatekeepers of the tech industry have made the college diploma an integral part of their ticket to get in. A degree meant you had the skills to get off to a good start in the working world. And that you were competent enough to pick up the skills that would allow you to thrive in the long term.

But today, that ticket is evolving at a rapid pace, especially in tech sales. Hiring managers have realized that the overwhelming majority of degrees offered at universities do not equip graduates with the skills necessary to succeed in sales. And the universities that do offer a sales major are few and far between.

Instead, what hiring managers are starting to look for in candidates is a particular set of traits. More specifically, emotional intelligence, grit, resiliency, optimism, diligence, verbal communication, curiosity, coachability, and confidence.

So regardless of how you developed these traits — through bartending, food service, or retail — you’ll be a shoe-in in the tech sales space if you can refine these traits into sales skills through a career bootcamp like Flockjay.

However, you might still be strongly considering going to college. After all, it’s college, right? Below, we’ll show you why we believe a bootcamp can prepare you for a career in sales. Even if you are in college, went to college, or have prior sales experience, bootcamps can accelerate upskilling. Each person’s career journey is unique! Learn about your options. 

Cost

 Cost is one of the biggest differentiating factors when comparing college vs career bootcamps. 

College

With 65% of college seniors owing an average of $29,200 in student loans, college can easily saddle you with a mountain of debt the moment you get handed your diploma. Student loan payments also have interest, so if you can’t afford to pay the interest on your loans, then your interest will accrue interest.

Even if you’re looking for the cheapest option — state schools — you’ll still have to pay a pretty penny for it. State schools have been able to raise their tuition significantly more than private schools have been able to. This makes it tougher than ever to find a good deal on a college education these days. In fact, from 2008 – 2021, in-state tuition prices among National Universities.

And with the average in-state tuition hovering around $10,000 today, you could easily be drowning in $40,000 of debt right after graduation, which could potentially stall your life plans like it did for the people featured in Netflix’s Money Explained. The clip below is eye opening.

Career Bootcamp like Flockjay

If you decide to enroll in a career bootcamp like Flockjay, you’ll only have to pay deferred tuition of $7,650. That means you’ll pay a monthly installment of $425 for 18 months — but only if you land a job that pays you at least $40,000 per year. As a result, you won’t accrue any debt!

Time Commitment

Both college and career bootcamps require an investment in time. You get out what you put in. 

College

With class and homework, college is at least a 20-25 hour time commitment per week for four years. On top of this workload, you might also have to take on a part-time job to help pay for tuition or just to make ends meet.

Even if you make the time commitment and earn a college degree, though, it’s still not a surefire way of getting a job. The overwhelming majority of employers only consider entry-level candidates who have gotten relevant internship experience during their summer or winter breaks. If you don’t have this relevant internship experience, then you won’t even be able to land a first-round interview at these companies.

Even worse, most college students get their first internship through a family connection, so landing an internship can be especially tough for people who do not have family connections in the corporate world.

Career Bootcamp like Flockjay

Flockjay is a 20-hour time commitment per week for ten weeks. Our program runs Monday- Thursday from 5 PM – 8 PM PST so there will be no conflict with your full-time job.

If you meet our graduation requirements, you will be assigned a dedicated Career Service Manager who will make introductions with our hiring partners and set up interviews for you with them. From mastering tech sales to introducing you to your future employer, we’ve got you covered.

Quality of Education

College

In college, the majority of your classes will consist of a professor lecturing you and hundreds of other students. Most of these professors are also much more focused on their own research rather than teaching. As a result, they will barely pay any attention to you, let alone know your name. Additionally, your social life will take priority over learning in college, especially when attendance isn’t required.

Career Bootcamp like Flockjay

At Flockjay, you will engage in compelling presentations and interactive group activities. Our trainers are all current full-time tech sales representatives who teach after their 9-5, which earns them well over six figures, so being a trainer is much more about paying it forward than earning extra cash. We also have attendance and homework requirements that you must meet in order to graduate so there’s no skipping class to drink beer!

Apply for Our Tech Sales Bootcamp Today!

If you want to forgo a mountain of debt and a degree that’s more of a formality than anything, consider applying for our tech sales training program! In just ten weeks, you’ll learn about everything from sales techniques to sales software and also potentially land a sales job at one of the top tech companies in the world, like Salesforce, Zoom, or Gong!

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?

7 Sales Development Questions Answered by a Leader at GitHub

7 Sales Development Questions Answered by a Leader at GitHub

After graduating from St. Olaf College in 2008, Keshia Hohenstein, the Global Director of Sales Development at GitHub, got accepted into the Leadership Development Program at Quad/Graphics, a commercial printing company.

For the next nine months, she would do three-month rotations in different departments of the business such as manufacturing, marketing, and customer success. By the end of the program, Keshia was convinced that she wanted to pursue a career in marketing.

However, after enough of her friends, parents, and professionals in her network recommended that she at least consider a career in sales, she decided to check it out. “Whenever people would ask me what I wanted to do, I would tell them that I wanted to have plenty of autonomy, work in a group setting with a lot of camaraderie, and have healthy competition,” says Keshia. “That’s sales in a nutshell. So after my rotational program, I decided to take the plunge. I ended up loving it.”

Keshia was gracious enough to share her time with our internal flock and lead a weekly fireside chat for current students. We host different leaders each Monday in an effort to offer our students access to authentic, successful, bold industry leaders! Keshia shared insights on everything from interviewing, to becoming a badass SDR, to being a woman and person of color in sales. Read on to see what you can learn from Keshia that will help you on your career journey.

Keshia Hohenstein’s Journey Into Tech Sales

Keshia went on to work in sales at Quad/Graphics for the next three years, where she fell in love with the art of selling. But she also developed an itch to work in an industry that could make a bigger impact on the business world as a whole.

Soon enough, she realized that the tech space could scratch it. However, since she didn’t have any experience working in tech, she struggled to even land an interview.

“I applied to 30 or 40 companies and was also trying to get my foot in the door at other companies, but I got auto-rejected by a bunch of them. And honestly, I don’t necessarily think there was a skills gap because I had some sales experience at that point, but I just had zero tech sales experience,” says Keshia. “These companies interview tons of people who have tech sales experience, so they weren’t as interested in somebody who came from a different background.”

To overcome this obstacle, Keshia decided to apply for a broader range of roles at smaller-sized companies. She knew that she only needed one company to take a chance on her and that when they did, she was going to carve a career in tech. She knew the passion was there.

In 2012, Keshia landed her first job in the tech industry as a Corporate Account Executive at ClearSlide. Seven years later, she not only rocketed up the sales ladder, landing a role where she heads up the global sales development team of over 50 SDRs in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Sydney, and Japan, but she also rocketed up the tech ladder by doing it at GitHub.

Read on for Keshia’s direct answers to the five top questions asked during our fireside chat. 

1. How do you ace an interview?

“After you do enough interviews, you’re going to hear some of the same questions. Don’t let that tire you out. I’ve interviewed somebody who had already done a bunch of interviews with our team and I felt like he had just had a super long day. It wasn’t a good interview. So always make sure to bring the energy.”

“I also try to find out what you’re telling me through your actions. Within the time frame that we’re interviewing, I’ll take note of what you say you do and what you actually do. That way, I can line up your resume with your actions and see if everything’s consistent.”

“Additionally, be your authentic self. You don’t want to get hired into a role because you faked it because now you’ve got this persona to uphold. So be you and be honest with what you want out of the company. It will shine through.”

Key Takeaways: Bring the energy, make sure you can walk the walk, and be your authentic self.

2. What does the day in the life of an SDR at GitHub look like?

“It varies, but I would say you’re going to slice and dice your time between following up on emails and following up on LinkedIn. We don’t make as many calls anymore because emails and LinkedIn are doing great. So you gotta make sure that you’re sending out those messages.”

“We also have our SDRs sit in on their Account Executive’s calls to glean some best practices. Then, when their AE trusts them enough and believes they’re good enough to lead a call on their own, they let them take the reins. Their AEs will give them feedback after. And if that goes well, they’ll let them sit in on the entire sales cycle because they want to prepare them for their next role. It’s like having the training wheels on.”

“On the flip side of things, our SDRs are always learning about the product and the company. They have to understand the product that they’re selling. And since we have a multitude of products that have a lot of different industry use cases, there’s a ton of different personas and value props that they need to know. There’s no shortage of material to learn, so they need to take the time to study our solutions.”

Key Takeaways: Following up with prospects through email and on LinkedIn, sit in on AE’s calls and track prospects’ entire sales cycles to prepare for next role, and constantly learning about the product. 

3. What does a top SDR look like in your eyes?

“I’ve had some SDRs get promoted lightning-fast, like I’m talking about two rounds of promotions in three months. So these things can happen quickly if you come in and learn fast. To do this, the top trait to possess is having a growth mindset, where you constantly solicit feedback. Anytime somebody gives you feedback, take it like the gift that it is. 

It takes a lot of thought and attention to give somebody solid feedback. The best gift you can give back is to implement their recommended changes and ask for more feedback after. Showcasing that you’re hungry to learn, that you want to keep pushing forward, and that you’ve got thick skin is huge.”

“The next best trait to possess is a strong work ethic. Sometimes, you don’t want to send that extra email, but the person that does is doing what everybody else didn’t want to do, kind of like Michael Jordan. You gotta make sure that you put that hard work in every day, not just in quick spurts or binges. You gotta be consistent.” 

Read: Flockjay Grad Elise Cox Promoted Twice Since Breaking into Tech

“Another top trait to possess is a sense of urgency. You can do something tomorrow or next week, but if it’s going to make a big impact, why not do it now? Let’s make it happen. And the stuff that’s not going to make a big impact, it’s okay to leave for later. So let’s just zero in on the stuff that is making things move.”

Key Takeaways: Adopt a growth mindset where you’re constantly asking for feedback, develop a strong work ethic, and have a sense of urgency.

4. What are some of your tips for giving elevator pitches?

“Tailor your responses. For me, if I look at a company and see that they’re hiring a bunch of app security people, I’m going to talk to them about advanced security and how we make it easier and faster. Or if I see that they’re hiring a bunch of engineers, I’m going to ask if they need help onboarding — fast — and if they want them to be good from day one.”

“At GitHub, a lot of people have heard of us in the open source community, so they’ll ask us why they would ever use us for their huge company projects when they’ve only used us for their side projects. It seems risky. But that’s where we re-educate people and meet them where they’re at. So instead of giving a pitch about why they should use our enterprise solution because it has so many great features, we start the conversation off with questions about how they use GitHub in their personal life, what exactly is the open source project that they’re working on, and if it’s code that they’re going to use at work. The reason being is that I want to get an understanding of where they’re at before I give my elevator pitch. However, every prospect’s style is different. Sometimes, people will just be like, ‘Nope, just tell me what GitHub does.’ If that happens, I start at a really high level.” 

“As you all are practicing your pitch, just know that it’s okay to fail often. Honestly, that’s what it’s all about. When I first started in sales, I was like, ‘Oh, I have to say my pitch in this exact manner. I’m young, so I need prospects to see me as a mature sales rep who has been doing this for years.’  But eventually, one of my first managers sat me down and gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever gotten: ‘Imagine you’re talking with one of your best friends over wine. That’s how your pitch should be — conversational.’ So just relax. It’s not a high-pressure situation. Everyone’s human at the end of the day.”

Key Takeaways: Tailor your pitch to the prospect’s specific situation, get an understanding of where your prospects are currently at, and talk to your prospects like you’re talking to one of your best friends over wine or coffee.

5. How do you handle objections? 

“Back in the day, I cared a little bit less about being perfect. Try to think about taking calls that way. So imagine somebody answers your call and says, ‘Oh gosh, I just stepped into a meeting or I’m in the middle of a meeting right now and I can’t talk.’ Normally, people would be like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.’ But what I would say is, ‘Oh, that’s so strange. You picked up your phone during a meeting.’ Then I would let that sit for a few seconds.

Eventually, they’d be like, ‘Uh, okay. I have a couple of minutes.’ Other times, my prospects would hang up right away, so I’d call them right back and say, ‘Oh gosh, we must’ve gotten disconnected. I’m not sure what happened.’ And they’d say, ‘Yeah, okay, go for it.’ Obviously, when you do this, don’t be rude. But it’s okay to play around with prospects a little bit. It’s okay to think logically about some of the things that prospects say to you, especially the stuff that stands out.”

Key Takeaway: It’s okay to call your prospects out for giving you an illogical objection.

6. How do you manage being a woman/person of color in sales?

“Most sales teams have lots and lots of white guys, but the good thing about sales is that there’s a scoreboard. For me, I wanted to prove my worth through my actions. If I’m not at the top of that scoreboard, maybe I don’t deserve the respect that I think I do. So I hunkered down and just thought, ‘Where do I need to get to?’ I once worked at a company where there was a pushup contest on the sales floor. And while they were doing that, I was the one on the phone closing deals. I was like, ‘I’ll let you do your pushups because I’m still looking at the scoreboard, where I want to be at the top and stay at the top.’ For me, I was very focused on proving my worth through my numbers so people would take me seriously.”

“In regards to micro-aggressions, they suck. But that doesn’t mean you should interrupt back. Because that won’t make it better. Let them finish. But make sure to speak up after. Don’t just let it pass. The only caveat here, though, is that you need to know which battles are worth fighting for.

When I first got into tech sales, I wanted my colleagues to feel convinced that I could do this. But did I feel that every day? Did I feel that every minute? Definitely not. There are moments that feel so strange. Even in my role today, I second guess myself like, ‘Oh, am I really here? Is this really my job? How did I get here?’ Just know that it’s okay to doubt yourself sometimes, but make sure to take a step back, look at what you’ve already done in life, and, most importantly, believe in yourself.”

Key Takeaways: Prove your worth through numbers by working hard and hitting quota, speak up about micro-aggressions before they pass, and trust it’s okay to doubt yourself. You’ve got this.

7. How can you leverage Flockjay to make a move up in your career?

“Flockjay has more clout than you think. I’ve talked to a lot of different industry leaders who definitely know who Flockjay is. One of our newest members on the Sales Development team at GitHub actually came from Flockjay. And they’re probably a month or two away from a promotion. So lean into the coursework and lean into what you’re learning.

You might not have sales experience right now, but you’ve invested in a program like Flockjay, which is giving you that experience. So during your interviews, talk about some of the skills you’ve acquired. Talk about some of the tech tools you’ve mastered. Use these things to your advantage. You should also use Flockjay to prove that you’re dedicated because you’re actually doing something to get into tech sales.”

Key Takeaway: A lot of leaders in tech sales have heard of Flockjay, so speak to the skills that you’ve acquired, the tools that you’ve mastered, and the level of commitment you’ve given during the program in your interviews.

Thanks again to Keshia for joining us to share her expertise, and to our Tech Fellows for submitting thoughtful questions and participating during the live conversation! We appreciate you. 

New to Flockjay? Read real student testimonials to learn more about our program. 

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?
Is Tech Sales Right for Me?

Is Tech Sales Right for Me?

From retail to food service, your core responsibility in these roles is to engage with a range of customers. People who work in these industries are often emotionally intelligent and driven to overcome objections. They also have serious potential to use those skills to launch a tech sales career with 6-figure potential. Many just don’t know it yet. They also don’t know that tech sales reps hail from a variety of industries, like hospitality, for example.

Consider this: Crystal sells clothes at the mall. Ben sells beer and wine to the local grocery chains. Sarah sells office equipment. Moon sells insurance. Joie is a bank teller. Asha waits tables.

What do they have in common?

They all possess the skills and traits to pivot their sales experiences into the tech industry. They have the people skills and type of hardworking resilience that big name companies are looking for these days in their tech sales development reps (SDRs).

If you have ever worked customer-facing role like a bartender, waiter, or retail worker, and you want to switch careers to a more stable industry with a clear path for upward growth, read on. You’ll uncover some common misconceptions. (more…)

From Number Crunching to Tech Sales with Pedro Morfin

From Number Crunching to Tech Sales with Pedro Morfin

Pedro Morfin, a former Tech Fellow at Flockjay and a current SDR at Gusto, an HR platform for small businesses, recently sat down with us for an Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) interview. As someone who successfully pivoted from finance to tech sales, we talked about everything from Pedro’s Flockjay experience to his day-to-day at Gusto. Plus, he shared parting words of advice for wherever you are on your journey to tech sales. 

Read on to see what this alumni had to say. (more…)

5 Sales Lessons from Gong’s Gabrielle Blackwell

5 Sales Lessons from Gong’s Gabrielle Blackwell

On LinkedIn, Gabrielle “GB” Blackwell calls herself the Sales Development SaaStress. And if you scroll down to the experience section of her profile, you’ll see that it’s for good reason.

GB rocketed her way up the tech sales ladder from to Sales Development Manager in less than two years after doubling her on-target earnings as an SDR and then hitting 193% of her quota as an account executive. Today, she works at Gong as a Sales Development Manager for small to mid-sized businesses and commercial businesses.

We recently sat down with GB for a fireside chat with our latest batch of students to discuss some sales lessons that they could apply to their careers in tech sales. Here’s what she had to share.

1. How to Calm Your Nerves During an Interview

Your palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.

Okay, interviewing for a job in tech sales might not compare to spitting the most epic freestyle in hip hop history, but it can still be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience. So how can you calm yourself down before a big interview? According to Blackwell, detaching yourself from whether you get the job or not will allow you to truly be yourself.

“When I was interviewing for my first SDR role, I just focused on preparing to do my best because by doing so, I was able to trust myself and be okay with whatever outcome came my way. Not every job or company was for me, so I was going to learn from each interview regardless of what happened,” says Blackwell. “There has to be a detachment from any outcomes when you interview because if you’re too caught up in acing the interview, moving on to the next round, and getting a job offer, you’re not going to be fully present in the moment and you might even be an anxious mess.”

2. What You Should Look for in a Company and Manager

Interviews are a two-way street. Obviously, the hiring manager will be vetting you for most of the conversation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t screen them either. According to Blackwell, there are four different questions that you can ask yourself to see if a company and a hiring manager are ultimately a good fit for you or not.

How Did I Feel During the Interview?

“I highly recommend reflecting on how you felt during the interview process. How did you feel after you got off a call with one of the interviewers? Did you feel like, ‘Oh man, I’m super hyped and I freaking love this company’? Great, wonderful. That’s a positive sign,” says Blackwell. “Because I’ve been in an interview where I felt like I’d been smacked around. I felt deflated after the interview and remember legitimately laying out on my bedroom floor and questioning my life.”

Will this Job Make Me Feel Alive?

“Take the time to think through what you really value and what’s going to fuel you at work. When you think about going to work the next day, what are the things that make you excited to go to bed so you can get to work the next morning?” says Blackwell. “Those are going to be the questions that you ask during the interview experience.”

Will Any Aspect of this Job Make Me Feel Dead Inside?

“I also think about the jobs and experiences that I had where I felt demoralized, where I felt deflated, where I felt like I was dumb. It didn’t matter how much I showed up every day, I still felt like nothing,” says Blackwell. “Where are the places where I felt like I had to overcompensate where I wasn’t accepted, where I couldn’t be my fricking self? Right? Like, so what was about those environments that made you feel that way? What was it about your colleagues that contributed to that feeling?

Will this Job Fulfill My Needs?

“If you’re going to be interviewing at a place where you are reporting to a VP of sales, ask yourself if this VP of sales can actually give you the coaching, training, and attention that you need to thrive. If the answer is no, then it’s nothing against the company, but it’s just that they’re not going to be able to satisfy your needs” says Blackwell. “It’s a beautiful thing to have needs and to respect them. There are way too many instances where folks jump on a job without properly vetting it because they’re not aware of their needs. They don’t know their boundaries. And they walk into situations that are triggers for them. It’s really important to know yourself.”

3. How to Make a Good First Impression as an SDR

Making a good impression as an SDR is not only crucial for your success in your current role but also for your success in your tech sales career. That said, when you first start, Blackwell recommends remembering that you just started so there’s no need to be so hard on yourself.

“No one’s expecting you to know anything except your first name and what company you work for. I hardly knew how to pronounce the name of the company that I joined because I had been speaking French all day, every day for the past two years and had forgotten some English,” says Blackwell. “So just show up on time and be prepared to learn. That’s the beauty of starting something new. You get to start fresh. There’s really no expectations other than you’re going to learn and you’re going to work hard.”

 

“Every expectation that I’ve had for SDRs during their first week is just like, ‘Hey you’re going to have certain KPIs or activities, but they’re only going to be about 25% – 30% of a fully ramped rep because you’re going to be figuring out the process,” says Blackwell. “You’re just figuring out what happens when you press a certain button or link. That’s literally it..”

However, if you end up falling a little behind when you first start, it’s mission-critical to over-communicate with your manager and to learn from your mistakes.

“One of the biggest things you can do for yourself is being incredibly communicative with your manager, especially in a remote environment. Because I can’t see you and you can’t see me. We’re not physically next to each other. That means you could be floundering for a full week for all I know. You could say, ‘Hey, I had this KPI goal of 20 calls today, but I only made 15 of them.’ All right. Let’s take a crash course on this then. What was going on? How can we maneuver? How can we set up a daily structure that can help us get back on track?” says Blackwell.

 

“Because whatever you’re doing in that first week is going to impact your third or fourth week. So if you’re not figuring stuff out in your first week, that means you’re not going to see results until your fourth or fifth week. And if that continues, that could be the difference between hitting your quota or missing it during your first month on the job. I would highly recommend daily reflections at the end of the day. Like what went really well? What were some hiccups? How can you set yourself up for more success tomorrow?”

Most importantly, though, don’t forget to have fun.

“I remember there was one of my SDRs who was begrudgingly going through one day to the next. He was hardly ever finishing the daily activities that he needed to hit. The first time I saw him smile at work was when I was just like, ‘What do you like to do? What brings you joy?’ And he’s like, ‘Well, I love this donut shop that sells croissant donuts. So I was like, ‘Cool, I want you to talk about donuts in every single email and every single call that you have. I don’t care. Cause if you’re having fun, then your prospects are going to have fun,” says Blackwell.

 

“I can’t tell you how many times where I’ve messed up and crashed and burned on a phone call. I couldn’t talk. And I’ll just be like, ‘Honestly, I’m so sorry, Megan. Today’s not my day. I’m having a terrible time on the phone. Thank you for bearing with me.’ And the person’s like, ‘Oh, don’t worry. We’ve all been there before.’ You’re dealing with humans. And most of them don’t suck. So they’re going to be cool. And just to add onto that,  people appreciate when you are human. When you’re not perfect, when you do mess up and you acknowledge it. No one’s perfect. And I’m convinced that I got as many meetings over email by being human because you could tell it was a human writing.”

4. How to Crush it in Sales

According to Blackwell, there are two main things that you can do to succeed in sales. The first is curiosity and the second is taking charge of your career development.

“Curiosity is the first part that I think contributes to an SDR or salesperson doing really well. Just being really curious about the customer or the prospect and sales as a practice or as a process or a methodology. And then of course, curious about how this solution that I’m selling, how does it serve our customers? So that’s the number one thing — be curious,” says Blackwell.

 

“As an individual, it behooves us all to put our careers into our own hands. And by doing that, we take our own enablement into our own hands. So for me, I was meeting up with AEs. I was meeting up with my boss. I was meeting up with literally whoever would talk to me that had been successful in sales. Like I would just hit up my network and I would ask them like, ‘Hey, what helps you the most? What do I need to know to be successful? How can I educate myself right now?’”

5. How to Handle Objections

In tech sales, objections will get thrown your way more than you can count. To handle them with grace, Blackwell recommends embracing them, not combating them.

“I just try to be curious and compassionate. When I approach an objection, I embrace what the person is saying. So if someone’s like, ‘Hey, I’m not interested.’ What an embrace can look like is, ‘Hey, listen, I know you’re not interested. May I ask why?’ So I’m diffusing the escalation of things that they can ask. Like could you help me understand? I hope this isn’t too presumptuous. I don’t mean to be pushy. Right. That’s what I like to do, but that’s just my style. That’s the style that I felt most comfortable with,” says Blackwell.

 

“Otherwise it’s like, ‘Hey GB, I’m not really interested right now. We have another solution-’ ‘Shut up. Let me tell you why you should be interested.’ You know? I don’t have to say shut up to make them feel like I told them to shut up, but you catch my drift? To really hear them out, I embrace their objection. I don’t want to push them into anything. I’m really just more curious than anything else. Like would you be open to telling you more as to what’s going on here?”.

Start Your Tech Sales Career Today

If you’re looking to make a career switch into tech sales but don’t know where to start, consider applying for our tech sales program! You’ll learn everything from sales techniques to sales software and could have the opportunity to interview for a sales role at some of the top tech companies in the world like Salesforce, Zoom, and Gong!

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?
What Does a Tech Sales Development Rep (SDR) Do?

What Does a Tech Sales Development Rep (SDR) Do?

A career in sales has many paths, but each one starts at the same exact place: the SDR role.

An SDR, or Sales Development Representative, is an entry-level sales position. SDRs work with upper-level salespeople — usually an account executive — to book meetings with best-fit leads for them so that they can close them into customers.

SDRs lay the groundwork for the entire sales process. The leads they source, qualify, and book meetings with turn into the customers that generate their company’s revenue.

However, an SDR isn’t just your average salesperson. They genuinely help people by solving their problems with their company’s software. It’s one of the most rewarding — yet challenging — jobs around.

At Flockjay, we place the majority of our graduates into sales roles at some of the top tech companies in the country. But before we dive into how you can launch your tech sales career at Flockjay, let’s explore what an SDR actually does, what skills they need, and how much money they make.

What Does an SDR Do?

An SDR’s job is to create a large pipeline, or high quantity, of qualified leads for their account executive (AE).

Usually this means trying to schedule meetings for the AE with the right people who are interested in your company’s product. If their AE closes one of the leads and turns them into a paying customer, they earn a commission on that sale.

SDRs take on four main responsibilities in order to book as many of these meetings as possible:

Qualify inbound leads

Inbound leads initiate conversations with businesses in order to learn more about their product or service. SDRs filter qualified inbound leads from unqualified ones by determining if they fit their ideal customer profile, which usually depends on their employee size, revenue, and industry.

Prospect outbound leads

Outbound leads are companies that SDRs reach out to first to see if they’re interested in learning more about their product or service. SDRs find these companies through their own research. After they do that, they pinpoint each of the company’s key decision-makers and reach out to them through email, phone, or LinkedIn.

Gauge each lead’s chance of closing

For both inbound and outbound leads, SDRs have to suss out their interest levels, their need for their product, and, most importantly, the amount of budget they have available. These three markers can indicate the lead’s probability of closing and whether they’re worth pursuing or not.

Set up meetings with qualified leads for their AEs to close

Like we mentioned before, an SDR’s main responsibility is to book meetings with qualified leads for their AEs to close into customers. This way, their AEs can spend the majority of their time selling.

With SDRs and AEs all specializing in their own tasks, the entire sales team can operate at maximum efficiency.

What Skills Does an SDR Need?

SDRs spend most of their day researching companies and talking to leads, which means the job requires a mastery of soft skills, not hard ones. With this in mind, you do not need a college degree to become an SDR. But you do need the following:

Emotional Intelligence

SDRs must be able to build rapport with leads, create interest in their product, and persuade leads to take time out of their day to meet with their AE, sometimes having to straddle the line between persistent and annoying. This requires charisma, tact, and creativity.

SDRs also have to collaborate with their AE to truly understand the type of lead they want to meet with and close into a customer.

Grit

The SDR role is one of the most challenging jobs in the working world. Not only do they get hung up on all the time, but they also face the most amount of rejection out of any position on the sales floor.

The sheer amount of rejection an SDR faces can burn anyone out, but the best SDRs are able to sustain their passion and effort throughout the toughest trials and tribulations. They know that constant rejection is a part of the process and is actually necessary to close deals, so rolling with the punches becomes second nature.

Resiliency

Again, constant rejection is a reality of working in sales. And the best SDRs know that getting knocked down sucks. But since they can give themselves grace, learn from their mistakes, and get right back up, they can separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Optimism

With all the rejection that an SDR faces, it’s extremely easy to get discouraged. But if they’re able to keep the glass half full and see the light at the end of the tunnel, that level of optimism can help them slog through the mud and eventually reach those greener pastures.

Diligence

SDRs must research their leads’ websites, sift through LinkedIn profiles, find key decision-makers, send personalized, relevant emails and LinkedIn messages, and make personable phone calls.

To do any of these tasks successfully, they need to be disciplined and detail-orientated.

Verbal communication

SDRs must communicate clearly, concisely, and compellingly — they only have so much time to chat with leads. They also need to be able to make call scripts sound natural and convincing.

However, working in tech sales doesn’t mean you need to know how to speak the same language as a tech guru. You just need to know how to talk to people. After all, that’s who you’re selling to. Folks who have worked as bartenders, servers, car sales professionals, coaches, social workers, etc. all have the skills and experience to sell tech.

Curiosity

SDRs need to know the ins and outs of their product, industry, and their leads’ role and company. They should also be willing to ask AEs for advice and guidance.

Coachability

SDRs must be able to receive constructive feedback from AEs and understand that accepting it and applying it to their roles — not getting defensive about it — is what will propel them in their careers. Feedback is a gift.

Confidence

SDRs must be able to ask nerve-wracking questions like if their lead has enough budget to purchase their product and if they’re the main decision-maker on their team. They also need to muster enough courage to ask their leads to meet with their AE.

How much do SDRs make?

According to our internal data, the average first-year earnings for a Flockjay Tech Fellow is $75,000. Their base salary is $52,000 and their variable compensation, which is comprised of their commission and bonuses, is $23,000.

SDRs who consistently hit or exceed their quota are also often promoted to account representative or account executive within a year or year and a half. As an AE, you can earn from $100,000 all the way up to $300,000.

Take the First Step to Become an SDR

Now that you know what an SDR does and what it takes to become one, consider applying to our 10-week tech sales training program! Folks from any background can be successful in Flockjay, and you don’t have to pay tuition until you have a job making at least $40k.

Our live classes are held in a virtual classroom with our instructors and your fellow students, so you’ll be able to learn everything from sales techniques to sales software tools with a solid support system. We hope to see you there!

Read our frequently asked questions for applicants to learn more about Flockjay.

Your New Career in Tech Sales Starts Now

Sales is the best kept secret in tech, and Flockjay will show you the way. With online classes and live instructors, Flockjay teaches you everything you need to know to be job ready in just 10 weeks. Ready for a career change?