If you’re not an engineer, sales is a gateway into tech

Numerous careers that exist in tech don’t require coding skills. Working as an SDR is a way to tap into many of them.
July 11, 2022

When I interviewed for a sales job with Fivetran four years ago, I couldn’t tell you what the term “data pipeline” meant. The managers here spoke about “connectors” and “integration.” But I knew two things that made me want to join Fivetran — back then a tiny startup with none of the funding or the workforce it has now. I liked the people, and I wanted to work in the tech sector. You don’t need to have a Ph.D. in computer science to know technology is the engine driving business today as well as many other aspects of our lives. 

I wanted in. 

Though I didn’t know it at the time, I discovered later that the sales development representative (SDR) role for non-engineering types like me acts as a gateway into a multitude of careers within tech. Since becoming an SDR, I’ve worked as an account manager, senior customer success manager, business development manager and a manager of our Enterprise Account Strategist team. I’ve been able to experience all of these roles in a relatively short amount of time, which has helped catapult my career faster than I would have ever expected. I’m now a manager of enterprise accounts leading a team and overseeing a book of clients in a number of geographies.

The SDR role intersects with all aspects of a company

Once I established myself as an SDR, I showed managers I was able and willing to learn and enjoyed interacting with people. The leaders here seemed to appreciate these skills as well as my abilities to problem solve. For these reasons, Fivetran allowed and encouraged me to explore new opportunities within the organization and shadow account managers and executives to learn the fundamentals until I was ready for a promotion. Fivetran cultivated a nurturing and supportive environment to help propel me in understanding what steps were necessary to find success in the next role I took with each promotion. This was, and is, extremely motivating as a member of the Fivetran org to have that kind of support system.

The SDR position is a role that helps people just starting out in their careers to determine which path is best for them. As an SDR, you’re touching every piece of the company. You want to get into marketing? Great. You’ll have the responsibility of creating marketing templates, writing copy for campaigns and using various channels to reach prospective customers. As an SDR, you start to learn about the technical capabilities of our product, which could help you break into our Product department. The same could be said for our Operations team with getting a deep understanding of how to work within Salesforce. As an SDR, you truly gain a wide-range of skills to set you up for long-term success. You learn about how to keep sales, marketing and customer success aligned to run efficiently and so much more.

Don’t worry, incoming SDRs aren’t tossed into the deep end unprepared. Fivetran provides sales hires with a 30-60-90 day training program. The training program teaches terminology, contracts, software tools and everything else SDRs need to know in order to succeed. Later, SDRs meet with managers for one-on-one sessions. Once onboarding is complete, there are weekly team meetings to discuss strategy and best practices and answer any questions to ensure you’re set up for success. 

Why SDR training pays dividends

The goal of Fivetran’s robust training program is to help SDRs learn how to speak the language of the people they’re selling to because those people typically possess years and years of engineering and analytics experience. The ability to converse and understand their requirements, needs and requests is what matters.  

The training is critical, not just for the SDR job, because it equips the sales executives with the tools necessary to move up or into new areas. I realized early in my Fivetran career that although I don’t code or know much about technology, over time I still had the ability to become a subject matter expert. 

By hopping on calls with our engineers and listening to prospects talk about their business needs and challenges, SDRs quickly pick up the ins and outs of different technologies. Knowledge like this can pay big benefits down the road. 

What you must bring to the job

Cooperating and working well with others is a significant part of the learning experience here. Everyone has to stick an oar in the water and when someone needs help, you help them. Empathy is important at Fivetran, not only internally with your teammates, but externally with the customers, you get to work with every day.

For anyone hoping to get into tech but may not have a technical background, I would implore you to look at an SDR role as it allows for an equal opportunity from any background. The only skills necessary are the ones that can't be taught. As long as you possess the drive, adaptability and willingness to learn, you can have a very successful career and make some great friends along the way.

We’d love to hear from anyone interested in joining Fivetran. We’re hiring for positions across all departments and regions. Check out our Careers page to learn more and get in touch.

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