In order to get the best possible insight into what it’s like to work in our Sales team and to find out all the specifics and interesting things that SaaS (Software as a Service) sales offers, we decided to write this blog with the help of our Account Executive Nedeljko and Sales Development Representative Petar.
SaaS sales, in short, and generally speaking, means connecting sales with a specific product, or a business solution. More specifically, SaaS sales combines the solution with the need of the client, and the role of people who work in sales is crucial in this process.
How is Determ’s Sales team divided and what does it do?
Our goal is that our clients are satisfied and that we fulfill their business needs in the long term. The sales team thus helps clients get the best out of the Determ product that monitors and analyzes more than 100 million online sources. In agreement with the client and with the help of Determ, which provides the client with all relevant information and data from the media and social networks, the Sales team directs the client towards the efficient achievement of business goals.
App and API team & SDR and AEx team
The Sales team itself is divided into App and API teams. The App team sells the Determ web application while the API team, as the name suggests, sells our API (Application Programming Interface). Both Sales teams are further divided into SDR (Sales Development Representative) and AEx (Account Executive) teams.
The SDR team is the first representative of Determ in a conversation with a potential client, during which they find out what the business challenges and needs of the potential client are. If the client’s need coincides with the solution offered by Determ, the SDR arranges a meeting with the Account Executive (AEx). AEx person then prepares a presentation meeting and offers a solution for a potential client, agrees on all the necessary next steps for the sale of the Determ tool, and executes the sale itself.
Inbound vs Outbound
More specifically, in Determ there are two ways to reach potential clients. The first is the so-called Inbound Sales in which a potential client, with the help of marketing campaigns and advertising, comes into contact with Determ. Through a free trial, a potential client thoroughly tests Determ and then talks to our Sales team for the first time. The inbound sales channel proved to be extremely successful and enabled Determ to expand to 100 markets and increase the base from a few dozen clients to over 600 active clients worldwide.
Another way to reach potential clients is the so-called Outbound Sales, in which salespeople independently actively research and find potential clients. Through a proactive approach, they show the client the ways in which Determ can bring value to their business. Very often, salespeople have their own “desired clients”, which is why this approach to sales is a great way for them to create a list of potential clients they want to work with.
First we gain knowledge…
A person who wants to be successful in Determ’s Sales team invests in their knowledge of Determ itself and constantly learns about their potential clients and their business needs. At the same time, these two elements are extremely connected. Offering the best solution means discovering the client’s need and aligning it with the possibilities that Determ provides to fulfill that need.
The Sales team learns about potential clients through education about who the ideal Determ buyer personas are, through conversations with existing clients about what their working day looks like and what Determ helps them with the most, through mutual knowledge sharing at internally organized educations and lectures or, alternatively, by sharing new information on the Slack channel. Education and lectures enable our Sales team to have the most detailed knowledge about Determ’s potential clients and their business needs and challenges.
In addition to internal educations, our salespeople have the opportunity to improve their sales and communication skills at various external trainings, such as mentoring and supervision by communication expert Ivana Stojaković. In addition, like all our other team members, people who work in our Sales team have an annual education budget that they can use for education as they wish.
For more details on the ways in which we invest in the development of our Sales and other team members, check out our Progress blog.
… and then we share knowledge
Besides the fact that we like to constantly gain new knowledge, we like to pass on what we have learned.
Our Sales team organizes Determ Sales Forums, which are a great place to meet colleagues from the industry and share experiences and best practices with each other in order to constantly improve the sales process. The Determ Sales Forum is open to the public so anyone interested can attend.
In addition, the Sales team organizes the Determ Sales Academy once a year, a free sales training that anyone interested in learning about sales inside and outside Determ can sign up for.
What is it like working in our Sales team for Petar and Nedeljko?
To explain all this theory with a little practice, Nedeljko (Account Executive) and Petar (Sales Development Representative) answered a few questions about working in the IT and SaaS industry from the Sales perspective.
We asked them about the interesting things and challenges of working in sales in the IT industry, their favorite parts of the job, and the qualities they consider essential for someone who wants to work in IT sales. Here’s what they answered. 🙂
What makes working in the IT industry interesting?
Nedeljko: Dynamics. I think that few industries are as dynamic as the IT industry. Every day I feel like I’m learning something new or that I’m thrown into some new interesting story. Every client is absolutely different and looks at every tool in their own way.
Petar: I find it interesting to work in the IT industry because an IT product or service will often have an international reach. This fact makes every job in IT interesting and challenging. Another thing, by definition of the job, you have to keep up with new technological trends. Understanding and knowing the exponential progress of modern technology helps us to better understand the world we live in, but also to understand the future that will come faster than we think.
What challenges do our salespeople encounter in their work?
Nedeljko: You prepare everything before the interview or a demo call, you think you’ve made a killer plan and that you’re going to do great. Then, 2 minutes into the call, you realize that there’s new information that you now have to take into account and change your whole plan. You often have to find your way in the middle of a call and do it at the level you envisioned. That’s why you should always look at the bigger picture and put yourself in the shoes of potential clients. After a large number of such meetings, it is rare that something comes out that you haven’t heard about, so it is very important to learn from each meeting and not forget to apply what you have learned. There are often repeating patterns. If we use them correctly, nothing will be able to surprise us. The most important thing, however, is not to show the client that you are taken aback.
Petar: The work we do can be extremely intense. In the beginning, it takes time to get used to that pace. Over time, you get used to it and learn to control every situation.
What is their favorite part of the job?
Petar: My favorite thing is that in the morning I can talk with the marketing manager of a huge multinational company from Malaysia, and the same day in the afternoon with, for example, the head of communications of the Brazilian Football Association. Rarely does a job offer such opportunities and variety.
Nedeljko: My favorite part of the job is when I bring value to the client in a way that the client did not expect. That moment when we brainstorm together and I see a spark in the eyes on the other side is when it doesn’t even look like classic sales anymore. At that moment I see that what we’re talking about is very relevant and that I contributed with a new view and new ideas to the work of an entire company.
Which qualities should a person who works in sales in IT have?
Nedeljko: The qualities that a person working in sales in IT should have are openness, creativity, resourcefulness, intelligence, and empathy. You have to get each client to tell you everything, understand what they said, put yourself in their shoes, come up with an approach or a plan, and see how you can bring real value to their business. In addition to all that, you need to manage a lot of such clients at once and keep the decisions or proposals you make at the highest level. I think these are demanding positions, but at the end of the day, they also carry a great reward. You truly change and elevate your clients’ entire businesses.
Petar: Every job requires effort, willingness to commit, and openness to feedback, including the sales job in IT. In addition, I think that an important characteristic of people in sales is the readiness for learning and self confidence. Learning because the IT industry is constantly changing – sometimes the knowledge you have this month is not enough the next one, and self-confidence because it is very important to gain the respect of the people you’re talking to. In your interaction, you are not a subordinate, but a partner, and you should act as such.
All in all, as Petar and Nedeljko point out, working in the SaaS industry is very dynamic and interesting. It brings numerous rewards and offers opportunities for constant development of skills and acquisition of new knowledge.
If you are interested in the IT and SaaS industry and want to experience for yourself what it’s like to work in sales in this dynamic industry, take a look at our currently open Account Executive position!
If you do not find yourself in this position or you want to work in another team (Marketing, Customer Success, Product & Engineering, People Operations, Finances), send us your open application.
We are always happy to meet new people, hear new ideas for the further development of Determ, and even create new positions.