Starting a new career is a daunting adventure. Change is scary and when it impacts your finances and day to day life? It’s downright frightening.
Many of our Tech Sales Bootcamp students had their fair share of fears, doubts, and reservations when they began considering a career in tech sales. Despite his unflappable confidence, warmth, and positivity, Bootcamp grad Devonte Thibodeaux was no different. Now? He’s overcome it all, fully embraced his new found skills in tech sales, and is excelling in his job placement at Electric.
So how did he do it? What’s working in tech sales actually like? We sat down with him earlier this month and asked him to share his story and give us the inside scoop on how life after Satellite is measuring up to what he expected.
Read on to learn more about Devonte’s journey, all the way from being a Sam’s Club Sample Seller, Brand Ambassador, and even a staff member at a nursing home, to launching a new career in tech sales that perfectly compliments his strengths and inspires his curiosity.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What sparked your interest in tech sales or the Satellite bootcamp to begin with?
Devonte: I have always been ambitious, and looking for the next big thing in my career. I worked several jobs/careers prior to my position in sales, but I realized that they were limited in growth, earning potential, and skill implementation, and I wanted an opportunity that was going to challenge me, allow me to use all of my skills and earn based on input. Plus I wanted to be a part of a modern organization that was “recession/pandemic” proof. I found that in Tech Sales.
What is the Sales Development Representative (SDR) role like on a day to day basis? What kind of skills do you find yourself using most?
Devonte: Prospecting accounts. If Sales Operations gives you accounts, you need to determine if they qualify, and then engage with them based on their fit to the ideal customer profile (ICP). Cold outreach (social, email, calling, etc.). Booking meetings for account executives (AEs). Meeting with the team to collaborate and learn.
Did you have any nerves going into the interview process or starting your new job at Electric? How did you push through that feeling?
Devonte: Yes, I’m married and just had a kid, so I definitely felt nervous. I wondered, is this the right path for me? I don’t have many more chances to make a huge change like this. Is this right for me? Am I not going to be able to sell anything? Will I end up being let go/leaving in 6 months then be back at the drawing board. . . ?
I looked at my past, what worked/what didn’t, and saw potential and where I could be in 1-3 years with Electric. I knew I didn’t want what I had and I knew I needed to make a change if I wanted to get where I wanted to go and I took the job at Electric as a step towards a more successful future.
What do you love most about your position as an SDR at Electric?
Devonte: I love that I’m always learning, improving my sales acumen and communication, earning what I’m worth, and I love that just operating in my work on a daily basis has allowed me to stay up on tech trends and changes in the tech space. Electric really focuses on prioritizing curiosity. They see me and my role as a client partner and problem solver and offer me support along the way which has been great.
Was the SDR role what you expected or did certain aspects surprise you?
Devonte: It was what I expected for the most part, nothing surprised me in a sense. It’s just that nothing is guaranteed in a sense, but if you put in volume you will get results. Companies are focused on outcomes, but still trying to increase volume.
Did you have any perceptions of tech sales going into the Satellite program that you found you’d totally changed your mind about by the end?
Devonte: I thought of sales as being very high pressure. I think of overly aggressive personalities that try to bully people into buying things (car sales/furniture sales). Speaking with Tiffany and other individuals within the Satellite program, I found it’s about being genuinely curious, getting people to open up about their concerns and identifying shortfalls, and providing value.
What has been the most challenging part of adapting to this new role? How have you overcome or worked through that challenge?
Devonte: The most challenging part is just adapting to the volume of work expected, and utilizing new tools, Salesforce, Outreach, Gong, SalesNav, etc. My company has given us extensive training on the tools and, should I have any questions, tons of resources to get help/streamline our process.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting a career in tech sales but is feeling unsure if they’re a good fit or if it’s the right move?
Devonte: Really identify where you want to be a year from now. Ask yourself some critical questions. Do you want to be a part of a relevant industry? Tech isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Are you comfortable working remote? Are you comfortable dealing with rejection (a lot of rejection)?
Do you have the grit to do your best day in and day out? Yes, you killed it this month, but it’s a new month and we have to start from ground zero. At the end of the day what you put in is what you get out so if you’re looking for something easy this is not it. There’s a lot of wood to chop to be successful in a career in tech sales. Lastly, are you willing to learn and be coached and adopt the teachings of managers?
Is there anything else you want to share about Satellite, your job, or starting a career in tech sales?
Devonte: Thanks for bringing access to small town Tulsa. Without Satellite, I wouldn’t have the access to the network to go further in my career. I felt like I had a ton of skills. I was well-spoken, a good communicator, and a hard worker but I didn’t have access to high-quality, high-paying jobs. I want to say thanks for being the catalyst to allow people like me to be a part of what’s typically a tough industry to break into. I know this move is going to allow me access to greater earning potential and better enable me to provide for myself and my family.
Making the leap to start a career in tech sales can be scary, but Satellite’s free bootcamp is designed to provide every student with the skills and knowledge they need to feel confident in their ability to succeed along with a strong network of mentors and support that stays with you for as long as you need it.
Apply for the next cohort of our Tech Sales Bootcamp and get your own success story started today. Still have questions? Reach out to our team to find out more about the program and what Satellite can do to help you build the new career of your dreams.
After college Michael was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma working as an account executive for an electric vehicle charging station company. He liked the company and enjoyed his colleagues, but felt stuck from a career and income growth perspective.
There’s so many places to go, professionally speaking, once you’ve developed a set of core sales skills: more senior sales roles, marketing, and accounts, just to name a few of the possibilities. Recent Satellite alum Dillon Brown is an example of just how flexible a sales foundation can be — and not only in the long term.
The role of sales development representative (SDR) is the perfect starting point for a successful career in tech sales, especially for anyone who may be transitioning into the field from another path. Just ask Robert Dyer, a Satellite mentor and Head of Sales Development at Suplari who launched his sales career as an SDR after more than five years in retail.