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A Salesforce Recruiter’s Advice on Breaking into Tech Sales

Sadie Evans

January 09, 2024

Sr. Talent Attraction Partner Andre Norman hires tech sales professionals every day — so he knows a thing or two about what it takes to stand out in a competitive talent marketplace. If you’re considering joining Salesforce, check out Andre’s top advice for early career talent below.


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What are the different entry-level roles for tech sales at Salesforce?

The best entry-level roles for sales would be the SDR, BDR and the SMB Account Executive. Let’s break those down:


      • Sales Development Representative(SDR) would be handling inbound leads. So these are customers calling in, asking about the Salesforce platform, and you are helping them understand what we do and how we operate, and then you're passing those off to the Account Executives.

      • Business Development Representative (BDR) is more of an outbound role, [where] you're creating opportunities. This would require somebody with at least one year of B2B experience ... You have to have that tenacity, that grit, that hunger to be able to uncover opportunities and then also pass those to the Account Executives.

      • And then you have Account Executive of Small and Medium Business — we call it SMB. Somebody in this role will have at least one year of full-cycle B2B experience, oftentimes more, because let's be honest: Salesforce is a very complex environment and so it does take someone with a very strong skillset.


What do sales recruiters or hiring managers look for in a resume?

What we look for in a resume is a very clear understanding of what you've accomplished. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are very important when it comes down to a sales resume. I need to be able to see your resume and understand what you've done, what you've achieved, and how it relates to my roles. Getting right to the point and telling us what you've done and how you achieved it will help you get an opportunity at Salesforce.


“[B]eing able to find what you like to sell, what you're interested in selling, and who you're interested in selling to will be the best thing for you. You have a much longer runway in sales if you enjoy what you're selling.”

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their sales career?

The advice I would give someone early in their sales career is to find your passion first. I know it sounds cliché, but I promise you: being able to find what you like to sell, what you're interested in selling, and who you're interested in selling to will be the best thing for you. You have a much longer runway in sales if you enjoy what you're selling.

Secondly, it would be finding the entry point in your career. There are going to be some opportunities that you may need to start off on the bottom, and [there] may be opportunities where you can start off at a mid-level or even higher.

But my opinion is: get in on the ground floor. Develop those foundational skills to be able to grow successfully in your career. If you come in too high, but you miss some of those foundational experiences, you may not have success. Don't be afraid to start from the bottom and work your way up, because you have a much longer runway, and you really enjoy your success that way.

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What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into tech sales but does not have a sales background?

[In the interview process,] you want to help us understand what you've done and what you've accomplished and how it can relate to a role in tech ... so help us understand what you do and how it can help translate here at Salesforce.


The number one question I get asked all the time: what are the key transferable skills?


      • Compelling communication. Compelling communication is your ability to be able to convey things very clearly and concisely for us to understand what you've accomplished. It's about engaging the audience, having command over the room, and being able to build rapport.


      • Business acumen. That’s being able to understand how business operates across multiple lines of business. At Salesforce, we sell to any and every body from CFOs to Directors of I.T. to salespeople. So having a keen understanding of how businesses operate on a larger scale is going to help you.


      • Team selling. As you can imagine, we have a lot of products here at Salesforce, and you can't know them all. Your ability to work with someone else who does [have that expertise] is a very important skill that you can bring to the table. Being able to quarterback a deal across the lifecycle, and being able to bring in resources that can assist you, and being able to project manage everything to the end is key.


      • Being able to sell on ROI and impact. When it comes down to selling a product, it’s difficult. When it comes down to selling an outcome, it’s even more difficult. Being able to help businesses understand how Salesforce can help them in the long term by being able to talk about ROI in the investment as opposed to discounting in price is one of the ultimate transferable skills you need to make it to Salesforce.

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I want a job in tech sales, but I’m not technical. What should I do?

Good news: you do not have to be super technical to get a sales job at Salesforce. Put your business acumen skills first. Being able to understand the businesses and how they operate and how we assist, that's number one.


Number two: I would say get into Trailhead. It's our free resource for you to be able to go to self-learning and learn about all of our products. You can take your time, and you can go far and wide if you like, but understanding what sells, for example, on a macro level will be more helpful. Don't worry about getting certified right away.


Can you give us the inside scoop on the interview process for a sales role at Salesforce?

The interview process could vary depending on the role. A BDR could be a phone call with a recruiter to get assessed and qualified, and then having a panel-style interview with multiple hiring managers.

If you're looking at a role like an Account Executive SMB or mid-market, or even above, the interview process could be a little bit longer. Maybe you have your first phone call with a recruiter, then you have a hiring manager phone call, then you have a panel-style interview, and then you have a final presentation.

The presentation is very important. This is where you can really display who you are in the sales process to be able to convince the team why you should be brought on.


Why is Salesforce the best place to have a tech sales career?


Salesforce is a great place for your sales career because of the growth opportunities. I've seen people go from being a Business Development Representative all the way to being [in] leadership. So it's a great place for culture, a very big ecosystem, a lot of support, and then the opportunities are endless. Once you get into the system, there's so much that can be achieved here at Salesforce.

Interested in blazing your trail in tech sales here at Salesforce? Check out our open roles and apply now

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