When you think about a salesperson, what is the first association that comes to mind? For many, it may conjure up an image of someone trying to talk them into purchasing something they don’t particularly want, like an aggressive door to door salesperson or a telemarketer interrupting your dinner.
While ‘pushy sales’ were once a persistent tactic, the sales process has changed a lot over the years. Now, aggression in sales is viewed as an outdated strategy that could bring businesses more bane than boon.
As times change, so do the roles of a salesperson. Today, salespeople take on a more consultative task, acting as a bridge that connects clients to the solutions that would best remedy their issues. These are the kind of professionals that Fuel Sales Academy, a business-to-business (B2B) sales training program, seeks to produce.
For the Academy, tech sales is all about connection, creativity, and communication—not just pushing a product. Sales is perceived as a dynamic career for ambitious go-getters who care about developing meaningful connections and building relationships with other professionals across industries.
It’s also proving to be an in-demand career. Tech sales professionals, also known as sales development representatives (SDRs), are vital to the success of a tech company. “It’s impossible to scale and sustain most software platforms today without a highly capable, highly trained sales team,” a CEO wrote in a Business Insider op-piece.
The job pays well, too. PayScale cited an average pay of $72,877 per year. The actual figures depend on other factors like experience, location, company, and more. While that’s all well and good, what does a career in B2B sales really look like? Let’s also uncover Fuel Sales Academy’s roles in sales training below.
Fuel Sales Academy offers a B2B sales training program that comes with paid on-the-job career development.Apply to Fuel Sales Academy today.
What Are B2B Sales?
B2B sales involve an exchange between two businesses, instead of a business and an individual consumer. This is the type of sales that Fuel Sales Academy prepares its learners for.
A B2B salesperson generally acts as an advisor to help guide their prospects to the best decision for their needs. By the end of the program, graduates would be able to interact with other businesses, help them identify key issues in their operations, and offer the right solution that would put said issues to rest.
In the realm of B2B sales, there are several different paths. You can explore enterprise sales, transactional sales, outbound sales or inbound sales, inside sales or outside sales, and even account management. The bottom line is that B2B sales is more diverse than people think. However, in each type of sales role, there are foundational skills that are crucial for success.
Are You Right for Sales?
Fuel Sales Academy instructors have revealed five qualities that they look for in aspiring salespeople. According to them, these qualities will not only help your career thrive but also ensure that you will find a sales career to be both fulfilling and rewarding.
A sales career is not for someone who wants to punch the clock every day, clocking in and out and biding their time in between. Instead, it’s a career for those who are ambitious, driven, and passionate. According to the pros, a great salesperson does not get discouraged when something doesn’t go their way.
Founder and CEO Dan O’Reilly compared it to the grit possessed by professional baseball players. He said having a great batting average means that they are failing around 70 percent of the time they step up to the plate. Sales is not that different.
There’s a lot of trial and error, and there’s a lot of failing in the process. It may be difficult to make peace with failure but that’s part of the job. A good salesperson has to be ambitious enough to weather that difficulty.
So much happens in the sales process from start to finish. You have to stick to a plan, go through various steps, and see multiple commitments through. The ability to deliver on your tasks and be accountable for your actions and goals is imperative to succeeding in sales.
No matter what level of sales you’re in, receiving constructive criticism is part of the job. If you’re going to succeed in sales, you have to be able to take feedback well. People in sales frame it this way: you’re not being criticized, you’re being coached. If you want to find out how good you are and want to be better, sales is the right path for you.
According to Fuel Sales Business Development Director Lonnie Hansen, you’ll get both of those things when you’re with a good organization. Sales also presents the ability not to just be coached, but to take that coaching and apply it quickly. By doing this you show buy-in and avoid the curse of complacency.
4. Good Listener
Unlike the stereotypes of a salesman, being a suave smooth-talker isn’t actually what will take you the distance in sales. Lonnie says that if someone gets into sales because they’re a real talker, they’re going to be in for a surprise. Talking isn’t the important part of communication in sales, it’s listening that’s key. It’s a two-way communication stream. Good talkers belong on the radio, not on the sales floor.
5. Genuine Curiosity
Another quality that Fuel Sales Academy looks for in a B2B salesperson is someone who is naturally curious. One of the hardest parts about being a salesperson is getting your client to articulate what challenges they are facing. In order to provide them with the right answers and solutions, you need them to express their needs instead of just telling them what they need.
People don’t respond well to being told what they need. In order to get them to clearly convey their needs, you need to be good at assessing the situation and identifying the issues. This is where your natural curiosity will come in handy.
The Magic of Connection
According to Lonnie, his love of sales was born out of its ‘magical’ capacities.
“You’re taking something that doesn’t exist,” he said, “which is a relationship between a company and a prospect, and you’re building that bridge out of nothing. You don’t get closer to creating something from nothing than that relationship building you do in sales.”
He noted that it’s an incredibly rewarding and self-reflective career to be in. “You self-discover pretty quickly in the sales world. We’re setting people up here to understand that philosophy.”
Alex added that you have to stay perseverant to get that ‘magic’ to work.
“Sales is about taking a shot. And taking that same shot 90 times a day, saying I believe I have something to give the world, to give this prospect, and I’m going to find out what I’m made of every day.”
Because you’re taking that shot so many times, it helps when you really believe in what you’re trying to sell. This is what Fuel Sales Academy is all about: working with and for companies that you really believe in.
What Do Alumni Say About Fuel Sales Academy and Their Careers?
Nicholas Brandt turned to sales when the company he was working for went through mass layoffs, and he decided that he wanted to learn and hone skills that are marketable and will always be in demand. The first field he thought that fit that bill was sales. After trying his hand doing door-to-door sales, his co-workers recommended Fuel Sales Academy, where they were also training.
Not only was Nicholas trained at Fuel Sales Academy, but he was introduced to a dynamic startup and started his career there.
“[Fuel Sales] led me to my dream job, which I never thought I could have had back when I was working in accounting,” Nicholas said. “It makes me feel good every day. We’re making the world a better place.”
He’s not the only one who’s had success from Fuel Sales Academy. Graduate Devin Hobbs, said, “It’s pretty incredible that the skills I learned at Fuel Sales were so directly applicable to what I do [now].”
Dylan Kitteredge, another graduate, said, “Learning different clients with Fuel really cut down on the startup time [in my new role] to be able to perform and hit the ground running.” Meanwhile, Elizabeth Barger particularly noticed a huge improvement in her confidence level since working with Fuel Sales Academy.
As Nicholas said, the skills you learn through Fuel Sales Academy are relevant to sales, but they’re also marketable skills that translate to all parts of the tech and business world. Echoing this, Riley Long said, “One of the most valuable things that I learned at Fuel was not only how to do sales, but also how to sell myself. To speak with confidence and know what I’ve been taught.”
If you check all five boxes above, a career in tech sales may be worth exploring. With Fuel Sales Academy, you can start fresh with its Sales Development Foundations program before moving on to more in-depth topics and skills with the Sales Development Accelerator Program. To get started, all you have to do is fill in an online form.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.