After six years working for a small credit union–first as a teller and then a member services specialist–she decided it was time for a change. She’d been mulling a career switch for several years. The company she worked for was small enough that she knew most customers by name, but it left her with limited growth opportunities.
When Timmeka became interested in the tech industry, she searched for tech jobs that don’t require coding. That’s when she discovered tech sales.
At the credit union, she’d honed indirect experience with sales–guiding older customers on how to use new technologies by giving computer and password safety tips, and selling them on the benefits of online banking.
She considered grad school, but decided the commitment was too great in terms of time and money. While enrolled in Springboard’s 12-week Tech Sales Career Track, she formed close relationships with the students in her cohort, and had the chance to role-play with experienced sales reps and account executives. Now she’s a sales development representative (SDR) at ClearGov, a leading provider of budget cycle management software for local government agencies.
I was a senior teller at a credit union for five years and was promoted to a member service rep in October. This was more of a customer-facing role, helping people obtain loans and open new accounts.
I was planning on moving on from my job in 2020, but when the pandemic hit, I was so grateful not to lose my job so I put a kibosh on that for a while. My credit union was very small, and I felt I was stagnating. I wanted to try something new.
Yes, I really do. I was thinking about grad school, and trying to figure out how to pay for it. I didn’t know if I truly wanted it, but I wasn’t sure what else to do. I started listening to podcasts about careers in tech that don’t require coding and that’s how I found tech sales.
I worked in retail and did tele-recruiting for my university for a long time. I was always talking to people on the phone. I know how to be very personable. Given my retail background, I knew I had the soft skills to work in tech sales; I just needed to learn the hard skills to enter the tech industry.
Most of it is learning about the sales cycle and how to use software tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, and SalesLoft. You learn about the entire cycle and how to communicate with the different audiences you’re selling to. Cold calling, cold emailing, LinkedIn outreach–I learned all of that at Springboard.
Cold calling was intimidating. You can practice as much as you can through role-playing, but you have to get on the phone and do it for real to pop the bubble.
I kept thinking, “I don’t want to bother people,” but they’re used to getting phone calls all day. When you reach that person who says, “Oh, thank God you called. We’re actually looking for this solution,” it makes your day so much better.
We did roleplay with actual sales development representatives and account executives who served as mentors in the Tech Sales Career Track. I stayed in touch with a few of them on LinkedIn, and they were proud of me when I got my first job. I got close with the students in my cohort. We took time outside class to do role play, cold emails, and optimize our resumes. I had a great experience.
There are four exams where we role-play with SDRs and AEs who give us feedback. You practice cold calling, setting up an AE meeting, and identifying customer pain points.
The company is in the government tech space and I work on the licensing and permits side. I contact local governments around the country to see if they would like a demo of our software. Small government offices often don’t think about using software to automate processes. Since they’re not very tech-savvy, cold-calling is most effective. A lot of government workers have been in their roles for so long, they don’t even have a LinkedIn profile.
Cost was the deciding factor. I didn’t want to take out more student loans. I was feeling stuck and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to school. I didn’t want to dump all that money into my education and not be happy with it.
Talking to people in the industry. I had calls with a Springboard career coach after I completed the course and I also did informational interviews with people from companies like Zendesk and Hubspot. I would reach out on LinkedIn and ask if they had time for a 20-minute conversation, and I got such great advice from them.
When I saw my first commission check, I was like, “Oh my God, I can afford to live,” even though I came in at the very end of the first quarter. I work with a great team of SDRs–there are about nine of us. I work in-office, which is okay for me because I want to learn from other sales reps. I’m really enjoying myself right now.