Whether you're fresh out of college or looking for a career change, technology sales is a fantastic option that can be full of reward if you're willing to learn fast and put in the time. Turbonomic offers a great sales development program, where you start as an "SDR" and over time, progress into an Account Executive role.
I recently sat down with sales development manager, Taylor Butler to get the inside scoop on what he looks for, what the culture of the team is like and how you can best position yourself leading into an interview at Turbonomic.
Often times, our SDRs are coming to Turbonomic fresh out of college. Can you tell me a bit about the mentorship, coaching and development offered here?
Taylor: From a mentorship perspective, you have many people that you can learn and grow from. Our GM, Steve Corndell who grew his career at Turbonomic really has a strong understanding of Turbonomic and the technology. There is an open door policy here where you can go all the way up to the CEO to get a better understanding of the company and technology. We have a One Team, One Mission mentality to get everyone where they need to be to be successful. Also, Turbonomic has a wonderful Sales Enablement team that will really get you acclimated into the environment and energy of Turbonomic.
In regards to the career path, it is really up to the individual and where their interests are. People in the SDR role have grown into Commercial Account Executives, Marketing Managers, Customer Experience, and Sales Engineering. When you come in, you learn and realize where your potential is, and Turbonomic helps you reach those goals. It is a springboard into the company.
We have quite a few people who came to Turbonomic without prior tech sales experience, looking for a career change. What's your advice to someone trying to get into tech sales mid-career?
Taylor: If someone is looking to make a career change, they are going to realize that sometimes you need to take a step back in title or compensation to take a great leap forward. Technology sales is an amazing industry to get into but in order to get there you need to learn the basics first. Getting into an SDR position you will get the training not only on the product but also on the sales process.
Are there specific qualities that are ideal for the sales development position?
Taylor: People who have been heavily involved in different extracurricular activities at school and have shown leadership qualities make great sales people. They typically have strong communication skills, organizational skills and generally an outgoing personality. If they have been on a sports team or activity they know what it is like to have to balance different things and still be able to maintain good grades. These are just a few things that we look at when hiring for this role.
What's the organizational structure like for the commercial team?
Taylor: Typically an SDR will work with 2 or more account executives with a divide and conquer sales strategy. They report into an actual SDR Manager who helps direct their overall growth from a product knowledge and delivery aspect. The SDRs will also interact with the Sales Engineers, Marketing team, and any other group that they might need to get the work done.
What are some of the day-to-day activities for an SDR position here?
Taylor: When you start as an SDR you really need to first get yourself familiar with the product and the overall sales process that we follow. It's always good to learn how to get their foot in the door and hear the word “no” once in a while, because that's just a reality and nothing to get discouraged about.
The SDR’s own a lot of the first steps in the sales process so they really need to know how to maximize their exposure at Turbonomic. When they come in they will check their email, following up with anything that has come in. They need to get a clear understanding of the day to come. They might spend a day calling, prospecting with the many tools that are available to them, meeting with their sales reps to talk about what to tackle next, maybe meeting with marketing on an event they might want to plan, etc. Every day is different so be ready for lots of new opportunities!
What is your advice to someone who is beginning to interview with you?
Taylor: For me, I like when a candidate comes to the interview fully prepared. They know the company, the product and can speak clearly of the business problem they feel we solve. I want them to be excited about the role and be able to give me examples of why they think sales would be a great fit for them.
I like someone who is outgoing and energetic. They know why the want to work for Turbonomic and why they want to be in technology sales. When they can show examples of being organized and proactive is a huge plus. I also like someone who is creative and can think outside the box. They are not afraid to try something new.
Can you give some insight to the sales culture here?
Taylor: Work hard, Play hard is most certainly the way we work over here. We are fast paced, energized, and passionate. The energy on the floor is actually infectious. When someone on the floor closes a deal, they play a song and ring a bell. Everyone will celebrate and even the CEO will come by and congratulate them on the deal.
What is the average ramp time for someone who is seeking an Account Executive promotion?
Taylor: It is less about the time in the role but more how quickly they are able to get up to speed. In order to get to the Account Executive role, they really need to be able to sell and demo the product. On average this could take 9-16 months.
What's unique about the Turbonomic sales development program compared to most other companies?
Taylor: I think what sets Turbonomic apart is the willingness of the organization, including the executives, to take time out of their day to help make the SDR’s become successful. Everyone has the same goal in mind, which is to make Turbonomic successful. To do this you need to start with increasing the quality of the top of the funnel activities which is where the SDR organization focuses and adds a ton of value.
Meet the team:
Taylor Butler leads our Commercial Sales Development Rep group. Taylor has been in sales for quite a while, first starting at LogMeIn where he worked his way to Account Manager and then over to Oracle where he became a regional manager. If you come in as an SDR, you'll be interacting quite a bit with him, so feel free to reach out!