What is it Really Like to Sell Software?

Being in software sales is in my opinion, the dream and where you want to be if you are going to kickstart a sales career. Stick with me until the end of this article to learn three reasons why selling software is awesome, why I personally have enjoyed selling software for the last decade, as well as what the typical day for a software salesperson looks like.

Why Selling Software is Awesome?

Reason 1: It’s highly scalable

Unlike a lot of other traditional sales jobs, you don’t necessarily need to have in-person meetings in order to sell software. Instead, you can just sit in your PJ’s, be on Zoom, and selling to your prospects every single day.

It’s also really cool because you can pretty much sell an unlimited amount of SaaS. It doesn’t typically cost companies all that much more to sell another 1000 units of their product. So this is really powerful because it means that your upside is much more uncapped compared to conventional sales. Because your work is super scalable, it also means that you can typically get some really great work-life balance.

Now, I want to caveat that by saying your mileage may vary depending on which tech company you’re with, but typically speaking, you can achieve some level of work-life balance, if you want.

Reason 2: The value exchage is clear

The nice thing about SaaS is that the payment terms are crystal clear. They’re typically either monthly or annually. And what that means is that your company always has to deliver its value on either a monthly or annual basis in order for your customer to stick around. Otherwise, they’re just going to churn. And so, the reason why this is really powerful for you as a salesperson is because it means that your product is consistently giving value to your customer.

And this is really powerful for you as well, because in the case where you manage your upsells later on, it means that you have more reasons to convince your previous prospect turned customer as to why they should spend even more money with your company. If you just compare this to selling something like billboards, for example, it’s way harder for a billboard salesperson to convey the return on investment with their prospect.

Sure, they can talk about how many cars have traveled past that billboard, but it’s not like in software sales, in which you can clearly show their usage over time and show specifically what sort of value that your copy is consistently delivering any measurable way to their bottom line.

Reason 3: It pays well

The third reason why software sales is awesome is because it pays really, really well. Software sales is one of the few jobs that you can graduate, work hard in for a few years, and then start making six figures consistently in. As long as you believe in yourself, are regimented and are comfortable with meeting new people regularly, it can be a good fit for you.

Even in the case where you’re working with a smaller company, it can still be a great space because those smaller companies often have uncapped commission models, which allow you to have unlimited upside. What this means is that software sales is one of the few jobs that you can put in clear inputs and have a high correlation to the outputs that you get to experience as well.

Why I’ve loved selling software

In case you don’t know, my story begins with a startup that I co-founded in, which I had to bring in the first million in sales myself before then hiring out a team and then leading the revenue teams for a few years. Some of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed selling software over the years is because I’ve gotten the unique opportunity to meet with customers from all over the world.

Some of my customers were in Asian countries, others were in Europe and even in Latin America. Another reason why I’ve enjoyed selling software is because it’s super high margin. Typically, software as a service companies are making about 80% margins. And so what that means is that they’re able to reinvest more of the money into the company.

What that means for you as an employee is it means that you get nicer things. I’ve had great benefits in the past from applications that are just concierge care things for the health care side of things as well as benefits from a transit and personal development in growth standpoint. These are the sorts of perks that a company that is not high margin can’t necessarily afford very easily.

And another key reason why I’ve enjoyed selling software is because it’s really helped me in understanding how people buy things. Today, when you sell software, you get exposure to a ton of different people and their different buyer journeys. So as opposed to an old school sales job where you are capped by the number of meetings you can take in a week, you can typically meet a ton of people on software sales and get to learn about what their pains, their challenges are, and what they’re looking for in any solution.

Typical Day in the Life of a Software Salesperson

When it comes to a typical day as a software salesperson, I’m going to speak about it from the lens of an account executive and not a BDR or an SDR. That’s because an account executive is the closest representation to a standard sales rep.

From my own experiences, as well as having friends in sales, I’d say that your stay typically starts by reviewing your inbox and looking for any pressing messages, as well as taking a look at your calendar to see what key meetings you might have throughout the day.

From here, you’ll typically log into your CRM. Review key accounts that you’ll be meeting with later today to make sure that you’re prepared for your meetings. Once you settled in, it’s all about actually executing effective meetings. And so from here, you’ll typically be conducting some form of product demos in your meetings with prospects.

These calls are often more than just a product demo though. You’ll typically open up the call by learning a little bit more about the prospect, further qualifying them from their initial qualification, and then learning about the challenges that they are looking to solve with your problem. You’ll typically spend that time talking about how you’re going to specifically be able to address the particular needs they bring up.

And then once that meeting wraps up, you’re likely going to send a follow-up message on a regular basis with some key takeaways and next steps for both you and your prospects. It’s during these follow-up steps that you might take some time to draft up a proposal or a quote, if they’re ready for that, as well as answer any questions that you may not have been able to answer for your prospect during your meeting.

In the case where you’re working for a solid company, you hopefully will have some new inbound leads that you can work on in the later part of your day. Working on these leads might involve cleaning them, calling them and/or emailing them. Depending on the size of your team, you may have one or two meetings on a daily or weekly basis. And what you’re going to have at least one one-on-one with your direct manager. This is where you’re going to get feedback about your performance and what you could be doing to drive your pipeline forward.

And then you’re also going to have a broader sales team meeting in which you’re going to talk about your wins, your losses with other reps, as well as what tactics are working in the field with your prospects. From here, the last two things that you’ll typically have in your day is nurturing your pipeline in which you’re going to follow up with some people that you may not have met with necessarily today, but you might be meeting with later in the week, and then also you’re going to potentially be prospecting and building your pipeline.

So this step might entail being on LinkedIn and doing some prospecting and connecting to some potential prospects as well as sending some cold emails out to new prospects. If you don’t know how to draft an effective cold email, be sure to check out my article on that. Overall, I’d say that these are the things that make up a typical workday for a software salesperson.

The main variance that you’ll experience comes from two key factors. The first one is where you are at with your pipeline in the time of month. For example, if it’s the 20th of the month and you have your quota ending on the 30th, then you might be prioritizing the deals that you have a higher probability of closing on, as opposed to the deals that are earlier on in your funnel. Aside from where you’re at in your pipeline though, the second thing that will typically be some variance in your day are the types of people that you meet.

In my experience in managing some sales reps that have been individual contributors for multiple years, they typically said that this is the biggest variance in their day-to-day. Essentially, if the new conversations they get to strike up with the different prospects that they start to sell to.

Big takeaways

There are two things that I want you to remember from what is really like to sell software:

  1. The first one is software sales has arguably the best place to be in sales. That’s because it’s highly scalable and it doesn’t necessarily require you to do a lot of traditional travel that you might have in older sales jobs.
  2. The second big takeaway is that software sales is great for people that have strong habits combined with a growth mindset. If you don’t have both of these, then it’s hard for you to be successful in software sales because you’re not going to have the endurance that you need to actually deal with the high velocity that you’ll typically be working with.

If you liked this article, be sure to check out my YouTube channel to get new videos every single week. I’ll help take you from zero to self-starter as you grow your business, get more customers, and hone your business acumen. Also, feel free to share this with anybody that you think might benefit from learning about the typical day in the life of a software salesperson.