Picking The Right Start-Up

Alright, so your resume is perfectly crafted. You’ve rehearsed some interview questions and you’re ready to get out there and start applying for different sales roles at various startups. 

I know you’re feeling eager, I’ve been there. I know you’re willing to take any role at this point. But! Let me stop you there. 

Picking the right startup is imperative! Especially, at the start of your career. Here is one of my slides from my “Breaking into Tech Sales” presentation that highlights the four things everyone who is new to tech sales should look for. 

  1. Career Advancement – It is very likely you’ll be starting your career as either an SDR or a BDR. These are fun but grueling roles. That entails high amounts of cold calling, mass rejection, and a lot of growing pains, Fun right? Find a startup that has a proven track record of training, developing, and promoting their BDR’s and SDR’s. You should be an SDR/BDR for no more than 2 years. I’d also recommend looking for startups that are in growth mode. Look for companies that have just raised a round of funding (Series A or B). Whenever there’s a recent injection of cash it’s likely they’re in a hyper-growth mode so if you come in and crush it there will be plenty of upward mobility as you grow with the company. 
  2. Mentorship – It’s been said time and time again. Only work for managers that are invested in your career! Find a manager who invests in weekly one on ones, isn’t afraid to hop on a sales call with you and gives quality feedback!

    I’d recommend checking your manager’s LinkedIn and seeing if they have recommendations on LinkedIn, have done an SDR or BDR role in the past, and have been in leadership positions in a number of different startups. All good signs you’ll be in safe hands.
  3. Notable Sart Up – Tech can be a bit of a “frat boy” club. CEO’s love poaching employees from their larger competitors. If you have an opportunity to work at similar startups, with managers you feel comfortable with the next tiebreaker would be evaluating which startup has more notability.
  4. Pay – I’m sure it stings to read that pay is at the very bottom of my list. I think it’s far more important you build the knowledge, skillset, and brand to land you a 6 figure job in five years rather than taking an entry-level role that only offers you an extra five thousand dollars with very little upward potential. 

In tech sales, it’s about playing the long game. Become an Account Executive in two years, find a manager who will teach you the ropes, work at a reputable company with a good reputation and I promise it’ll pay off two-fold in the long run! 

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