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Your First Sales Job – 12 Ways to Succeed in SaaS

5 min readApril 17, 2018

So you’ve got your first SaaS sales job. Congrats! Of course, now you want to truly succeed. Although you want to get up to speed as quickly as possible, remember the average ramp time for a new sales rep is 4.8 to 6 months so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. First you’ll receive initial training that’s often called onboarding. Although you may feel like you want to know it all at once, it takes time to build up the skills, experience, and knowledge. In the meantime, if you understand where to focus your efforts, it should make you feel less overwhelmed. Here are twelve ways to get off to a successful start in your new sales job.

Learn from the experience of others

To start, you may be matched up with a more experienced rep who will mentor you. If this doesn’t happen, find a successful senior rep who’s willing to act in that capacity. Spend time with them, ask them questions, and watch them to pick up tips and habits you might not get during onboarding. Read all the case studies you can and listen to success stories or call recordings from other reps. These will help you more thoroughly understand how customers use your product or service and how to effectively sell it. Listening to examples of top performers will help you fine tune your pitch and presentation skills, and ultimately your conversation skills.

Learn your company’s sales process

Success at First Sales JobGain a clear understanding of the stages of your sales process so you always know where you are and what is coming next. Knowing the difference between lead stages such as Prospect, Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), Opportunity, and Customer is important to your success. You’ll also want to understand “lead statuses” as defined by your organization, such as new, open, in progress, and closed. Become familiar with who is involved internally and who is typically involved from the prospects’s organization. This will allow you to be proactive on your end as well as recognizing when there should be additional parties involved in the sales process.

Practice, practice, practice

You’ve heard the old saying, “Practice makes perfect.” This is especially true when you’re receiving feedback from your coach (usually your sales manager), your mentor, and your colleagues. Practice what to say (and ask!), and how to respond, at all stages of your sales process. Requesting feedback by sharing call recordings can be beneficial here.

Understand what is expected

Make sure you have a clear understanding of your goals and performance expectations. If possible, request it in writing for your reference. And don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything seems confusing. It’s better to request clarification than have a misunderstanding. This information allows you to recognize your successes and shortcomings.

Know your numbers

Once you have a firm grasp on your goals and what’s expected, you’ll be able to determine which metrics to track. Set up a dashboard so you can easily see when you’re hitting your performance targets and where you’re falling short. Keeping an eye on them will allow you to fine-tune your activities for continual improvement. Plus you’ll know what to expect when it’s time to receive commissions.  You can also learn by tracking what happens to your qualified leads post demo. This will provide you with added insights that will help as you strive for promotion to an Account Manager or Account Executive.

Set your own goals

Even though you’ll receive a set of goals that your company expects you to hit, establish your own personal goals as well. They may include activity goals, income goals, or advancement goals, to name a few. Just be sure to develop these. When you start personally investing in your own career development, it’ll help you stay focused and motivated.

Always be learning

Being aware of your numbers will help you identify your strengths and weakness. This way, you’ll know what you should be working on for continuous growth and improvement. A great way to incorporate learning into your day-to-day activities is to read top sales books, listen to sales podcasts, subscribe to sales blogs, and follow top sales influencers.

Learn what productivity actually means

Activity, in and of itself, doesn’t necessarily translate to productivity. Always make sure that you’re engaged in the activities that will bring you the desired results. These include actions such as prospecting, lead generation, lead qualification, attempts to engage prospects, and anything else that will get you closer to your goals.  Being “busy” with the wrong activities is simply a waste of time.

Understand your company and product

The more you know about your company and product, the easier it will become to meet your goals. Learn about your company’s background, any awards or certifications they have, how your product works, why customers buy it, the value they gain from it, and anything else that will help you when speaking with prospects. This will also help increase your confidence when making calls, sending communications, and giving demos.

Find needs and fill them

All prospects are want their problems solved. Keep this in mind when speaking with them. Then focus on understanding what each prospect wants to accomplish so you can offer them the best solution, not a product. You are always selling a solution because people don’t buy products, they buy outcomes created by products or services.  This is assuming your product or service will fulfill your prospect’s need. If not, this information will help you disqualify them so you don’t waste time on unqualified prospects. In some cases it may make sense to make recommendations for other solutions in the space. The goal is to focus on the customer experience (and in this case the pre-customer experience) to ensure your prospects walk away with the best impression of your company.

Learn how to bounce back

Being in sales involves handling a lot of rejection, but remember that rejection doesn’t equal failure. To be successful, you need to learn how to bounce back from it quickly so that it doesn’t wear you down. Here are a few ways to help you get started.

Pay it forward

A little appreciation goes a long way. Don’t forget to thank those who graciously help you as you get started. And once you become more knowledgeable, don’t forget to offer a helping hand to newcomers as they get started. You’ll be glad that you did!

Start applying these twelve ways for a fast start on your first sales job. You’ll be the experienced, knowledgeable rep on your sales team in no time!