Software Sales: Skills, Benefits and Career Paths

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 20, 2021 | Published May 17, 2021

Updated October 20, 2021

Published May 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Software sales is a rapidly growing industry with exciting opportunities for those interested in a career in the competitive field of technology. Individuals interested in sales strategies, relationship building and computer sciences may find fulfillment from a career in software sales. There are many benefits and skills needed to succeed in software sales and understanding the many available job options may help you determine if this career path is right for you.

In this article, we define software sales, discuss some benefits of working in this industry, describe the skills necessary to succeed and offer a list of software sales jobs with salary information and primary duties for each.

Related: 19 Career Paths for Software Engineers

What is a software sales career?

Software sales is a career in which sales professionals help clients identify their technology needs and match them with a software solution that best solves their problems and fulfills their needs. Individuals working in software sales may find employment from software development companies, Software as a Service (SaaS) companies or other technology providers. The daily responsibilities of software sales professionals may depend on the job title, employer and level of seniority but typically include:

  • Discussing software needs with clients to determine the best-matched products

  • Advising clients on technical matters regarding their software options

  • Using presentations to demonstrate product features

  • Submitting orders for sales processing

  • Negotiating service agreements and product prices with clients

  • Answering new and existing client questions about products

  • Advising clients on user training

  • Scheduling meetings with clients to discuss product performance

  • Communicating client needs with software developers, managers and executives

Related: Definitive Guide to SaaS Sales

Benefits of working in software sales

There are several benefits of a career in software sales, including:

Earning potential

The average national salary for software consultants is $85,908 per year. This number may vary depending on employer, job title and seniority, with many software sales professionals making additional commission and overtime pay. The earning potential in this field is considerably higher than the national average salary for all professions, making it a great income opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career in technology.

Opportunity for advancement

Another benefit of working in software sales is the ample opportunity for advancement and promotion. Often, employers promote internally to fill top-level positions before seeking external candidates and individuals that work hard to succeed in this field may receive recognition from their employer, a greater chance of promotion and increases in salary based on their performance.

Job outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment of software developers may increase by 22% from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the rate of all professions. As more and more software becomes available, individuals working in software sales may benefit from this rapid growth by filling necessary sales positions for software development companies and similar organizations.

Low education cost

Another great benefit of working in software sales is the low cost of education. The minimum education requirements for positions in this field may vary based on job title and employer, but often a high school diploma or associate degree is sufficient for entry-level positions with relevant experience and sales training. Some employers may require a bachelor's degree in sales, computer science or a related field. This low cost of education may mean less student loan debt and could enhance the existing earning potential for these professionals.

Related: 11 Sales Jobs With High Commission

What skills do you need to work in software sales?

There are a variety of skills, traits and competencies that can be helpful while pursuing a software sales career. Some of them include:

  • Effective communication: Often, a career in software sales requires the ability to communicate complex technical concepts in easily understood, simpler language that your clients can understand. It's also important to actively listen to clients' needs to best understand which products and services would be most beneficial to them. Effective communication in these areas is a key skill for success in software sales.

  • Relationship building: Forming relationships with your clients is an important part of software sales. Often, software products have an influential part in business operations and clients want to know they can trust their products and their software provider with the daily success of their organizations. Developing and maintaining positive, trusting relationships with your clients is an important part of establishing credibility and could contribute to your success as a software sales professional.

  • Software and technology knowledge: Having an advanced understanding of software and technology can help you easily communicate the features of your products to your clients and can help you make more informed decisions about which products may best fulfill their needs. An advanced understanding of software and technology may also help you differentiate your products from the competition by being able to highlight which features and functions are particularly impressive.

  • Problem-solving skills: After understanding your clients' needs, it's important to apply your problem-solving skills to their unique situations. Advanced problem-solving skills may help you more creatively determine which of your software offers are best matched with their technology needs.

  • Organizational skills: As a software sales professional, you may have a large clientele base and may need to coordinate your sales efforts for several clients at once. It's important that you possess strong organizational skills so that you can effectively assist each client throughout different phases of the sales cycle, missing no important information or client request.

  • Passion for learning: As the technology industry continues to grow with advancements and innovation, it's important that you have a passion for learning and continued education. Throughout your career in software sales, it's likely you'll need to learn new technologies and services. Enjoying this continuous training may contribute to your happiness and success in software sales.

Related: Alternative Jobs for Software Engineers Wanting a Career Change

Software sales careers

There are many career paths for individuals interested in pursuing a profession in software sales. Understanding available job titles within this field may help you determine which is right for you. Below is a list of job titles in software sales with salary information and primary duties for each:

1. Post-sales account manager

National average salary: $56,918 per year

Primary duties: Manage relationships between software provider and clients, retain existing client business, conduct contract renewal meetings, negotiate terms of partnerships, monitor client budgets, communicate changes in services, provide progress reports to clients and upper management, research competitor actions and market trends.

2. Account executive

National average salary: $65,019 per year

Primary duties: Meet with clients to discuss software and IT needs, train and supervise junior account executives, submit sales orders for processing, develop sales strategies, grow existing accounts to increase revenue, prepare for and attend sales meetings, assist prospective clients through the purchasing process.

3. Sales development representative

National average salary: $65,251 per year

Primary duties: Research and contact new clients, develop and maintain a portfolio of prospective clients, serve as the first point of contact for new clients, provide software service information to new clientele, support the senior sales team in outbound sales efforts, collaborate with sales and development teams to increase client base, attend product training conferences.

4. Sales manager

National average salary: $77,415 per year

Primary duties: Design and implement strategic sales plans, manage sales department recruiting efforts, monitor performance of sales representatives, lead weekly sales meetings, communicate sales department progress with upper management and executives, train sales representatives on new products and strategies.

5. Sales engineer

National average salary: $87,616 per year

Primary duties: Prepare and deliver technical presentations to prospective clients, discuss with customers and engineers to assess equipment needs and determine interface requirements, secure new software orders, schedule delivery, assist in installation, train clients on software features and functionalities, develop and research new products, collaborate with sales team to understand client needs.

6. Vice president of sales

National average salary: $148,522 per year

Primary duties: Lead sales team to meet and exceed goals, hire and train remembers of the sales team, develop and manage sales department budget, motivate sales department to achieve company goals, coordinate with other executives to focus sales efforts, communicate sales department progress to upper management, attend weekly progress meetings, coach sales representatives and managers to improve performance.

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