Career paths

4 high-demand tech jobs you haven’t heard about

Is tech sales the right career path for you? Compare the top career options like account executive, sales engineer, and others.

Some of the most important roles in tech are ones you’ve never heard of, and they all revolve around one central component: Sales.

In such a fast-paced, growth-oriented industry, there’s a huge need for folks who can optimize products for customer use, sell those products, and maintain positive relationships with clients. In fact, tech companies are willing to pay top dollar for employees who can sell more effectively than the competition. In other words, expect a solid base salary and a ton of earning potential.

So how do you break into this side of the tech industry? Here are 4 coveted tech sales roles that you should consider working towards.

1. Account Executive

Simply put, account executives are responsible for supporting and growing client accounts. Therefore, customer satisfaction and retention are large components of this career path. These roles are typically filled by people with excellent people skills, problem solving capabilities, and a knack for negotiation.

Let’s take a closer look at…

What an account executive does:

  • Manages existing accounts and grows them. Many account executives have retention or growth goals to meet each year.
  • Understands competitors’ opportunities to poach their accounts, then develops and executes strategies to prevent poaching (before it starts).
  • Seeks regular customer feedback and continually improves the customer experience.
  • Collects and analyzes data about current clients, potential new clients, sales campaigns, or industry trends. This data is used to make sales strategy decisions.
  • Regularly meets with coworkers and managers. Informs them of the above data collection, client reviews of the company, and ways to improve.
  • Attracts potential clients, be it through cold calling or networking. This is rarely a central tenet of the job unless current client retention is low.

How to become one:

A bachelor’s degree in a business-related field, like marketing, communications, or business administration, will be highly beneficial for this role.
This role is not typically entry-level, so new grads are out of luck. Most account executives work their way up through support-oriented positions. Sales representatives, customer support specialists, or market researchers may be good candidates for this position. However, those are not the only paths to this job. If you’re interested in becoming an account executive, be sure you’re developing sales, communication, organization, and relationship-building skills, no matter what role you currently occupy.

This could be the right job for you if sales and customer service are some of your top skills and interests. If you have an analytical mind, an even temper, and an ability to stay on top of a million things at once, you’ll excel in this role.

2. Sales Engineer

Sales engineers are tasked with selling complex, highly technical products and services. Therefore, a background in engineering (or another technical field) and a knack for sales are both important. These roles also require good business acumen, a resilient attitude, and an ability to build client relationships quickly.

Let’s take a closer look at…

What a sales engineer does:

  • Delivers technical presentations, designed to show tech products and services to current and prospective clients. Many of these products require technical expertise, and sales engineers must present them in a customer-friendly way.
  • Acts as a liaison between clients and engineers, while determining client needs and engineer capabilities.
  • Provides sales and customer support, especially regarding issues of installation, equipment use and malfunctions, and other technical topics.
  • Recommends improved materials or equipment to clients, with the goal of lowering costs.
  • Modifies products according to client needs.
  • Secures product demonstrations, sales contracts, orders, and deliveries throughout the sales process.
  • Helps research or create new products, under some circumstances.

How to become one:

A Bachelor’s degree in a technical field, especially engineering, will be highly beneficial for this role. Those with less STEM-oriented degrees, but technical and sales experience, may also occupy this position.
It’s rare for recent graduates to be hired for this role. Most companies expect sales engineers to have experience designing or manufacturing the products they sell. Expect to work for a company in one of these roles before becoming a sales engineer, unless you have previous experience with the type of product/service they offer. More often than not, sales training will be offered on-the-job, so these elements are less important when applying.

This could be the right job for you if you have a strong technical background and a knack for communicating complex concepts in straightforward terms. If you have an independent work ethic, an ability to work with different types of people, and a tenacious attitude, you’ll be even better suited for a sales engineer role.

3. Solutions Architect

Solutions architects find tech-based solutions to problems within a company. They have strong and well-rounded technical knowledge, for they have to work with software, hardware, and shared platforms alike. Solutions architects need excellent problem solving and communication skills, plus a knack for business development.

Let’s take a closer look at...

What a solutions architect does:

  • Finds technology-based solutions to major business problems.
  • Aids in application design, development, scalability, and maintenance as an organization moves forward.
  • Creates and tests prototypes of potential solutions.
  • Understands company needs, capabilities, and current frameworks to optimize current solutions or build new ones.
  • Writes technical manuals to introduce new users to the solution.

How to become one:

Solutions architects are highly prestigious and well paid, so becoming one takes a lot of experience and education.

A bachelor’s degree in a technical field, like software engineering or computer science, is a must-have. Many solutions architects also hold Masters degrees in systems architecture or information systems.
10+ years of information technology or network administration experience are necessary for this role. Expect to acquire in-depth knowledge of computer and operating systems, web platforms, database management, and more. Many solutions architects haven't held sales positions, but must be able to work well with a sales team.
Solutions architects never stop learning. Most of them obtain certifications that show their expertise in different fields, which can be acquired throughout their career.

This could be the right job for you if you have extensive experience and skill with both technology and people. If you can use those skills to create business solutions, from data gathering to a finished product, you will excel in this role.

4. Sales Enablement

Essentially, sales enablement professionals support sales representatives. They equip sales reps with training, processes, and tools to help them excel in their roles. To work in sales enablement, strong communication, organization, and delegation abilities are incredibly important. Let’s take a closer look at...

What a sales enablement professional does:

  • Onboards and guides new employees in the sales department.
  • Builds and rolls out new training programs, tools, and processes to improve the sales department.
  • Offers support to sales reps throughout product launches other transformations.
  • Through formal and informal programming, instructs managers on how to effectively coach and assist their reps.
  • Gathers and reports on data related to sales department learning, content usage, and preparedness.
  • Manages miscellaneous projects related to sales enablement, as needed.

How to become one:

Sales enablement is a relatively new and diverse position. There is no magic formula to enter into this role, however, there are a few characteristics that top candidates share...

A Bachelor’s degree. This can be business-oriented, but it’s not required.
Experience as a full-time sales manager looks great, but a background in sales development, training, marketing, or a related field will also be beneficial. This experience doesn’t need to be incredibly extensive, rather, hiring managers want to see a track record of organizational impact.
Skill Set
A history that implies ambition, negotiation, communication, organization, and prioritization are among your top skills. In other words, proof that you have the know-how to manage salespeople!

This could be the right job for you if you’re an excellent manager with an understanding of the sales world. If you can stay on top of many tasks simultaneously, teach and communicate with diverse people, and keep a positive/go-getter attitude throughout, you’ll excel in this role.

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