The Basics of Selling Academic Software
Generally, if you are in academic software sales you are going to be working for the software company directly. Whether you work through a specific office or work with them through telecommuting, you will be an employee and that means your chief responsibility will always be to that company and selling their product.
Different companies work in different ways. For some of the companies, you may be assigned a specific sales route. You will have to visit those academic organizations in order to try to make sales. In other companies, you will be responsible for identifying leads and pursuing those leads on your own until you close the deal. You may also be responsible for handling sales directly to the organizations or via the Internet. You may have to handle tracking down leads, doing cold calling, and other aspects of sales. These factors are all dependent on which software development company you work for.
In terms of your expected work environment, that also varies depending on the firm in which you work. You may have traditional office or cubicle space if you're working for larger companies. In other companies, you may work primarily from a home office. With some companies, you'll be contacting your clients primarily via email and telephone calls. In other situations, you will be on the road and doing daily presentations to administrators and educators.
There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing to sell academic software. One of the advantages is that you have more control over your income than you normally would. Because at least part of your income will be based on sales commissions, the more work you do and the more software you sell the more you earn. A disadvantage of this career is that many people just don't have the skills necessary to do well in any type of sales. You also have to have a thorough understanding of the software. Additionally, you may spend long hours working on the sales, including traveling to make presentations.
Education & Training Requirements
Getting into software sales does not require any specific training or education. However, having a thorough understanding of computer programming and software development is going to be essential in this field because you are going to need to explain how the program works when you are presenting it in front of an organization.
Most software development companies are going to be interested in hiring someone with at least a high school degree but having a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, sales, marketing, or a business-related major is going to give you a tremendous advantage. Having a background in education could also be useful because you are going to be working with clients in academic fields.
In terms of training, most companies will want to build a sales force that has proven experience. You may not necessarily need experience selling software or working with academic clients but if you have a track record of making sales in a similar capacity you will also have an advantage over the competition. Keep in mind that many of the companies will provide some on-the-job training. You also will need to have extensive training in how to use the software you are selling.
The Job Outlook for Academic Software Sales
If you are serious about getting into this field, you will be happy to know that growth is expected to be faster than average for the next few years. That's because the development of academic software is exploding as more schools incorporate technology into their classrooms and facilities starting at the earliest levels and continuing throughout higher education.
Your chances of finding a good position will be better if you are flexible, if you are willing to relocate, or if you have a great deal of sales experience. The more capable you are of dealing with the software and of working with clients the easier it is going to be to secure the position that you want.
With any type of sales jobs, you are going to be paid a commission for the sales that you make. That commission rate will vary and may rise as you advance or gain more experience. With some of the larger software firms, you may also earn a base salary. Bonuses for meeting sales expectations are also sometimes included in your earnings. Because your earnings will vary depending on the company, your experience, and your rate of commissions, the average salary for people in this industry can vary from the low $20,000 area past $50,000 or more.