Insider guide SaaS sales careers
Introducing the SaaS world and the variety of sales development roles we work on with confident, articulate, and ambitious candidates.
We have a proven track record when it comes to matching individuals with a fast-paced and rewarding sales career within some of the best technology and software companies around.
If you are looking to thrive in a truly dynamic sector, where no two days are the same and there’s plenty of space for growth – a career in SaaS sales might be your next exciting challenge.
In this guide, we’ll give you a brief overview of what you can expect from SaaS, the sales process and the opportunity for development.
After all, we don’t just cultivate our candidates. We nurture them with practical advice, training and resources.
That’s the Timberseed way of thinking.
What is SaaS?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud-based software product or service providing business solutions to save time and money across sectors. Before SaaS, software applications had to be downloaded, installed and manually updated. With SaaS, a product can now be accessed anywhere in the world through a web browser or mobile.
For businesses, this is a huge advantage as it streamlines accessibility and adoptability with minimal effort or cost. Organisations can focus on what they do best as everything is managed by the SaaS provider in the cloud.
How do SaaS businesses make money?
Typically, SaaS providers adopt a subscription-based pricing model, where they charge clients a monthly fee to access their software. Often this is structured on a ‘per-user’ basis, allowing for a scalable model for both SaaS businesses and their clients.
As SaaS businesses are not selling a one-off product or service, they rely on customer acquisition and upselling, often through product marketers.
Subscription-based models enable growing SaaS firms to scale quickly. The more clients onboarded, the greater their Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR).
It’s a snowball effect – and a lucrative pricing model.
Average deal sizes can range anywhere from £500 to £5,000 to £500,000 per month, especially regarding computer and software sales.
It’s important to note that each SaaS business has a different product, pricing, and transactional sales model. But as new technology is released to the market, the demand for business gives budding candidates an excellent opportunity for commission and progression.
Why should I work in SaaS sales?
Saas sales form the backbone of one of the most rapidly growing industries in the UK – and across the world.
This gives young professionals the chance to get their teeth into new and exciting business opportunities, with excellent job prospects throughout the sector. According to Forbes, this market is set to increase by a whopping 25% between 2019 and 2029, giving bright individuals the chance to develop in a role that changes with the times.
Individuals who go into SaaS sales following their studies become some of the highest-earning graduates in the UK, with SDR roles proving to be some of the best-paid within the sector.
In addition to excellent pay, SaaS offers a work-life that is rarely boring, with plenty of opportunities to step up to the plate and apply new or existing skills to a range of responsibilities.
From managing core client relationships to hosting Webinars, going above and beyond to facilitate a deal, or researching the best contact at a target firm – those who enter SaaS often find deeply fulfilling careers.
What are the career opportunities?
We focus on placing Sales Development Representatives. SDRs are the first face of a business looking to introduce their product to potential clients. The role involves researching new clients and the most appropriate contacts at these firms – this is known as prospecting.
Following prospecting, an SDR will reach out to potential clients to introduce the business offering by email, phone or through LinkedIn and other social channels. Then, qualify the commercial potential with prospects, looking to progress the conversation with an advanced Account Executive (AE), who the SDR will work closely with.
While an SDR identifies and opens up new business prospects, AEs are responsible for closing these opportunities.
How is selling SaaS different?
SaaS sales isn’t about picking up the phone with a ‘buy, buy, buy, sell, sell, sell’ mantra. It needs sales people who can create a solid business relationship that the customer believes in. As SaaS isn’t about selling a physical product, the main difference is that candidates also need to focus on describing the software’s ongoing benefits – as well as highlighting your company’s ability to provide additional support if it’s needed.
SDRs, for example, aren’t just tasked with introducing a product. They have to stoke interest in the company and the rest of the sales process, so the conversation successfully converts into a sale.
That’s why confident individuals with excellent interpersonal skills tend to thrive in this sector.
What raw skills make a good SDR?
Our clients primarily look for raw talent. Rather than sales experience, they want to speak to candidates who are research-driven and have a solid commercial mindset.
They look for someone with great interpersonal skills and is great with people, with excellent written and verbal communication skills, and is motivated by the idea of working towards, and achieving, targets.
It also helps to be somewhat technology savvy, as individuals will be expected to work across a wide range of social channels to communicate with ideal customers. Candidates who have excellent attention to detail and are active problem solvers will also thrive in these roles, as they work to move clients through the sales funnel.
Will I receive training and guidance for these sales roles?
You can expect to be enrolled in a full training programme by any company you join, where they’ll continually invest in your learning and development. Most SaaS businesses adopt sales processes and implement specific methodologies, such as MEDDIC or SPIN to aid business development.
These are highly consultative and often complex, which may differ from company to company.
You can find out more about applying to graduate schemes – or explore useful application resources – in our Ultimate Guide.
Cold calling: what is it?
First, ignore any pre-conceived negative connotations with the term ‘cold-call’. An SDR does not make hundreds of tele-sales-like nuisance calls.
Rather, an SDR makes business introductory calls to those who will be receptive to this approach as part of a sales strategy, building relationships with customers and collating vital information.
The main point of a cold call – or sometimes, cold email – in SaaS sales is to tap into potential business opportunities and build relationships, transforming conversations into successful conversions.
Any person or company an SDR calls will have been fully researched and prospected first – but it helps for candidates to be resilient, in case they are might with a dissapointing outcome.
And the person on the other end of the line is employed to take such calls, especially when you’ll be suggesting a potential business solution to a problem they have. Most SDR roles will involve aspects of cold-calling, but for lots of positions, this isn’t a core focus.
How do I interview for a role in SaaS sales?
As with any interview, candidates aim to sell their existing skillset to the hiring manager, while showcasing that they have the drive and determination to succeed within the company’s sales operation.
We know that interviewing for a role as any sales representative can be nerve-wracking, even if you have previous front-facing customer experience. However, SaaS sales require you to showcase your persuasive skills, problem-solving prowess, and ability to meet targets.
Before your interview, it helps to have brushed up on their potential strategy and be ready with excellent examples of how you have landed previous sales. If you have no previous sales experience, consider the skills that would make you a good candidate. Do you enjoy building a rapport with people? Are you resilient under pressure?
At Timberseed, we offer you one-to-one guidance should you be selected to interview for one of our exclusive roles. Your dedicated advisor will be on hand to give you key insights ahead of your meeting, with tailored advice to make sure your skillset shines.
What can I expect to earn – and is SaaS sales a lucrative career?
As with most Sales Development Roles, you can expect a base salary of between £30,000–£40,000 in year one as an entry-level SDR. In addition, you will earn a commission or a bonus which will form your full On Target Earnings (OTE). Typically, this is between 25–50% of your base salary, but can often be much more as the opportunity for commission rate increases.
Most successful SDRs can expect to be earning a minimum of £60,000 by year two.
This amazing pay and performance-based compensation are what draws many graduates to the world of SaaS sales. Many often go on to progress to further management roles – enjoying excellent benefits and salaries.
Is selling SaaS easy?
In comparison to some markets, SaaS is not always the most straightforward. It requires individuals who are dedicated to learning what makes their product offering stand out from the crowd, as well as prospecting on what can be a case-by-case basis.
The sales processes in this sector can be longer than what many candidates are used to – even with previous selling experience – which requires people to be consistent and motivated when it comes to securing larger deals.
Does a career in SaaS sales sound like your next challenge?
Get in touch with a friendly member of the Timberseed team today – or send us your CV to get started.