Steve Waters, VP of Sales at ZoomInfo, is a successful tech sales leader with years of experience in the industry. In a recent interview, he shared his journey into tech sales and his tips for success in this field.
Early Tech Sales Career
Starting his career in insurance, Steve quickly realized that he needed a career path that challenged him and motivated him to do his best. After two and a half years in recruiting creative students in higher education, he finally found his niche in tech sales.
Steve began his tech sales journey as an SDR at DiscoverOrg. He attributes his success to two things: his competitive spirit and his work ethic. Steve thrives on competition, and he knew that if he could beat the best reps, everything would fall into place. Additionally, Steve believes that anything worth doing is worth doing well. He strives to work and live that way, and it has brought him much success in his career.
Important Tech Sales Skills
When asked about the most important skills needed to succeed in tech sales, Steve cited high emotional intelligence, the ability to personalize presentations, and discretionary effort. Sales reps need to be able to read their prospects’ emotions and respond appropriately. Personalizing presentations allows the prospect to see how the solution can solve their specific problems. Lastly, discretionary effort is what separates the top performers from the rest. Going above and beyond what is required shows commitment to the prospect and the company.
Balancing the need to meet goals with building strong relationships with the team and clients can be a challenge, but Steve believes they go hand in hand. Sales reps should approach the sales process in a helpful, collaborative way. The goal is to figure out if they can help the prospect and show them how their solution can solve their problems. If done correctly, the prospect will sell themselves on the need for the solution. The key is to approach the process with constructive tension, which motivates both parties to reach the best outcome.
Addressing Misconceptions About Tech Sales
Steve also addressed some of the biggest misconceptions about SaaS sales. The first misconception is that SaaS is 100% bro culture. Steve and his team address this by being inclusive with their language, hiring people from diverse backgrounds, and addressing any inappropriate behavior directly and swiftly. The second misconception is that SaaS sales reps are only motivated by money and will hop from company to company for a higher base and OTE. Steve believes that the best and most valuable reps are incentivized to stay because they make the entire sales team better. Building trust, paying people what they’re worth, and showing appreciation for salespeople are the keys to retention.
Staying up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the tech industry is vital to success in tech sales. Steve is fortunate to speak to heads of sales and marketing all day, which keeps him up to speed. He recommends finding ways to stay informed on industry trends through conferences, webinars, and podcasts.
Tech Sales Tips
Finally, Steve shared some tips for getting into tech sales with no experience. His advice is to start as an SDR and work harder than you ever thought possible. Draw a bigger circle around what the team is doing currently, and look for ways to contribute and learn.
In conclusion, Steve Waters’ journey into tech sales is a testament to the importance of hard work, emotional intelligence, and constructive tension in this field. By following his tips for success, aspiring sales reps can begin their own journey into the exciting and ever-changing world of tech sales.